ITIL Help Desk Best Practices

ITIL Best Practices for Service Desks

At the heart of ITSM, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) stands as a guiding light, illuminating the path to streamlined processes. Here are our ITIL standards and best practices for help desks.


Last updated: October 5, 2023

7 mins read

Are you looking to learn more about ITIL best practices for service desks? Are you wondering what are the best practices for the ITIL help desk?

Imagine a world where IT issues vanish before they disrupt, where users can resolve their own problems with ease, and where IT support teams are freed to focus on innovation. This could be your company’s world when you follow the best practices from the ITIL framework. 

This article dives deep into the realm of ITIL help desk best practices, uncovering the transformative potential of these tried-and-true principles. Let’s begin!

What is ITIL? 

ITIL, which stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a set of help desk best practices and guidelines for managing and delivering IT services. 

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ITIL provides a framework for organizations to plan, design, implement, operate, and improve their IT service management processes. It was developed by the UK government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in the late 1980s and has since become a widely adopted standard in the IT industry.

ITIL is designed to help organizations align their IT services with their business goals and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their IT operations. It provides a structured approach to service management and offers a common language and set of concepts that IT professionals and organizations can use to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

The ITIL framework is organized into a series of publications or books, each covering a specific aspect of IT service management.

Where are the ITIL best practices applicable?

We’re about to dive into the ITIL help desk best practices, but before that, where are the ITIL service desk best practices applicable? Let us understand that.

IT Asset Management

Organizational IT is expensive and also the building block—hence very important. IT asset management ensures proper recording, management software maintenance, and optimization of an organization’s IT assets, including hardware, software, and data. ITIL best practices support this by:

  • Enabling centralized tracking of all IT assets.

  • Facilitating timely upgrades and replacements.

  • Identifying new asset requirements based on demand.

  • Maximizing employee productivity through asset optimization.

Incident Management

We all know the havoc that comes with an interruption in the IT service. Incident management is vital for handling unplanned service interruptions and minimizing their impact on business operations. ITIL best practices in incident management involve:

  • Real-time incident tracking and reporting.

  • Swift resolution to restore normal service.

  • Preventing repetitive incidents to maintain customer satisfaction.

  • Preserving the organization’s reputation by addressing issues promptly.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management focuses on creating, sharing, and accessing information efficiently. ITIL service management best practices in knowledge management include

  • Building a comprehensive knowledge base for employees and customers.

  • Regularly updating and verifying the accuracy of knowledge resources.

  • Empowering end-users to resolve basic issues independently.

  • Enhancing customer and employee experiences through easy access to help content.

Change Management

Changes are an integral part of an organization and must be handled well. Change management ensures smooth implementation of organizational changes while minimizing disruptions to IT services. ITIL best practices in change management encompass.

  • Implementing a structured framework for change.

  • Assessing the impact of changes on IT services.

  • Reducing risk associated with changes.

  • Minimizing disruptions during complex transitions.

6 top ITIL best practices

If you dive deep into the ITIL framework, there are plenty of help desk best practices. We understand it is impossible to follow all of them so we’ve picked out the best ones. Here are those:

1. Communicate the Value of ITIL to Your Team

Before you dive into implementing ITIL management practices, it’s essential to understand how they can benefit your business and explain this to others.

If you’re considering using ITIL to fix IT problems, it’s time to rethink your strategy. ITIL isn’t just about fixing stuff; it’s about people and technology too.

Start by understanding the specific problems your business needs to solve. This will help you connect your business goals with what ITIL aims to achieve. Also, make sure everyone in your organization knows why ITIL is valuable.

Talk to the heads of different departments and show them how ITIL can help. Explain how it can solve their department’s unique issues, keep track of problems as they happen, and make the most of the IT services available. Good communication and everyone being on the same page are the first steps to giving your users a better customer experience everywhere.

2. Set SLAs

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are essential components of efficient ITIL help desk operations. SLAs are formal agreements between the help desk and its users or customers, outlining specific performance expectations and commitments regarding service delivery. 

Here’s why setting SLAs is a crucial best practice:

  • SLAs establish clear responsibilities and expectations, ensuring that both the help desk and users understand their roles in the support process. 

  • By defining response times, resolution targets, and other metrics, SLAs help maintain consistent service quality. This prevents delays and ensures a higher level of customer satisfaction.

  • SLAs provide quantifiable benchmarks for evaluating help desk performance. Regularly monitoring and analyzing SLA metrics helps identify areas for improvement.

To set effective SLAs:

a. Identify Key Metrics: Determine the critical performance indicators, such as response times, resolution times, and service availability, that align with user expectations and business needs.

b. Define Clear Targets: Establish realistic and achievable targets for each metric based on historical data and organizational goals.

c. Communicate and Document: Ensure all stakeholders are aware of the SLAs and document them clearly in a written agreement. This helps manage user expectations.

d. Monitor and Review: Continuously monitor SLA adherence, get customer feedback, track performance against targets, and make necessary adjustments to improve service delivery.

3. Automation to your Rescue

Automation significantly enhances the efficiency of help desk operations by reducing the need for manual intervention. 

IT service desk management software, like Keeping, offers a wide array of automation capabilities, ranging from ticket routing to notifications, which can greatly enhance operational efficiency. Here are all the automation feature you get with Keeping:

  1. Ticket Assignment: With Keeping your IT help desk agents can assign tickets to specific agents. This way your agents can make sure the right tickets land in the hand of the right agent.

  2. Workflows: By using simple if/then logic your agents can create workflows that suit their purpose the best. No coding, nothing required! 

Routine and repetitive tasks, such as ticket routing, categorization, and prioritization support tickets, can be automated, allowing your IT staff to focus on more complex issues that require their expertise.

4. Group Similar Incidents Together

In a survey by Freshworks, it has been found that 52% of customers expect a quick resolution to customer interaction. Quick resolutions are only possible when the number of incidents with an agent are less. Reduced workload for agents means each ticket gets solved quicker.

The best way to reduce agent workload is by grouping similar incidents together. In essence, it boils down to optimizing resource utilization and working efficiently.

When incidents share a common underlying issue, a single desk employee can address and resolve them instead of having multiple IT professionals frantically searching for solutions. This approach conserves human resources, customer service efforts as well as valuable time and financial resources.

Grouping similar incidents allows IT teams to apply consistent problem-solving methods and resolutions. This uniformity ensures that the same problem is not addressed differently each time it occurs, which can lead to confusion and errors. 

4. Act Proactively

Proactiveness in ITIL is like preventive medicine for IT operations, saving time and resources by stopping issues before they become emergencies. 

This is all about identifying potential problems or issues that could impact your IT help desk and customer service team and taking steps to prevent them from happening. This can be done by:

  • Regularly reviewing your service desk data to identify trends and patterns. This can help you identify areas where there are a lot of incidents or requests, which could indicate a potential risk.

  • Conducting risk assessments. This involves identifying all of the potential risks that could impact your help desk, and then assessing the likelihood and impact of each risk.

  • Implementing risk mitigation strategies. Once you have identified the risks, you need to put in place strategies to mitigate them. This could involve things like improving your incident management process, training your staff on new technologies, or implementing a change management process.

By taking a proactive approach to risk management, you can help to prevent problems from happening in the first place. This can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Here are some specific examples of how you can identify risks and take proactive measures for your IT and help desk team:

  • Check recurring incidents or requests. If you see the same incidents or requests coming in over and over again, this could be a sign of a potential risk. 

  • Monitor your IT systems for potential problems. You can use monitoring tools to track the performance of your IT systems and identify any potential problems before they cause an incident.

  • Get feedback from your users. Ask your users about their experiences with your help desk and what they think could be improved. This feedback can help you identify areas where you can take proactive measures to improve the service.

5. Provide Self Service Options

This best practice relates to our previous discussion about reducing agent workload. 

Providing self-service options by using your service desk means empowering users with the tools and resources they need to perform various IT-related actions on their own. 

These actions can include requesting access permissions, resetting passwords, installing software, troubleshooting common problems, and accessing relevant information or knowledge articles.

This can be done by providing self-service options such as:

  • Knowledge base: A knowledge base is a repository of information that can help users find answers to their questions. FAQs: Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are a great way to provide quick answers to common questions. 

  • How-to guides: How-to guides can help users learn how to perform specific tasks. The how-to guides should be clear and concise, and they should include screenshots or videos to illustrate the steps involved.

  • Chatbots: Chatbots are computer programs that can simulate conversation with humans. Chatbots can be used to answer simple questions or to provide basic troubleshooting assistance.

  • Self-service portal: A self-service portal is a website that provides users with access to a variety of self-service options. 

By providing self-service options, you can help to reduce the number of calls and tickets that come into your help desk. This can free up your staff to focus on more complex issues, and it can also help desks improve the satisfaction of your users.

6. Opt for Exceptional Help Desk Software

A bad help desk software will hamper practicing all the help desk best practices we have mentioned yet. This means your help desk should be top-notch.

If yours is an IT support team that works with Gmail, Keeping is the perfect solution for you! Why? Here are the reasons why:

  • Keeping desk software works on top of Gmail—no training or setting required!

  • Keeping provides competitive features with cheap pricing plans

  • Collaboration, integration, and automation features let you resolve IT problems quickly—efficiency and productivity on top!

Keeping has all that you need to provide exceptional customer service. Check out our demo to see how Keeping can benefit your organization.


Sanjana Sankhyan is a freelance writer who specializes in delivering data-driven blog posts for B2B SaaS brands. She helps businesses attract more audience and sales with her writing. If not writing, you’ll find her helping other freelancers improve their work. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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