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Currently at my company we have a help desk that supports our software only, however about 30% of all the calls we get are related to hardware, network or Windows problems.

We want to eliminate these calls as much as possible, and are not sure how to go about it.

We have come up with a few different options but would like to know of ways that other company's deal with this.

The ideas we have had are:

  • Inform the customer you need to terminate the call and then terminate the call (seems rude)
  • Billing for the calls/time taken to answer them

We have already spoken at length with the managers of our customers about this and the fact we do not support hardware, network or windows problems, however we are still receiving these calls.

closed as off-topic by jcmeloni, CMW, IDrinkandIKnowThings, CincinnatiProgrammer, Jim G. Jan 8 '14 at 18:28

  • This question does not appear to be about the workplace within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about performing the duties and tasks of a specific job. – jcmeloni Jan 8 '14 at 14:45
  • @Ben perhaps if you changed your question to something like... "How can i tell a client politely that we do not make that kind of action/product/anything that he is asking for?" this would include something like... asking a game company to develop a data management system for a industrial manufacturing plant. Maybe you need to broaden it a bit. – Hugo Rocha Jan 8 '14 at 18:03
  • If possible, find a company or companies that you can forward these calls to. Customers have no idea what's wrong, they just know they need their system fixed. If they have no idea who to call, calling you might indirectly solve their problem. – Meredith Poor Jan 8 '14 at 23:51
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    I think this is a very good question as is. Is there another forum for it? I am actually at the other end of this problem: I keep sending helpdesk requests to the wrong helpdesk. I would like to give my answer to Ben. – Michael Potter Sep 10 '15 at 1:03
  • To clarify: are you an internal help-desk for an organization, or the public-facing help desk of an organization whose said software is the primary product? – david Sep 11 '15 at 13:45
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The thing I've seen that works best is - find the right path for success and make it easier than the path through your group. This applies to any problem that needs rerouting - whether it's a help desk or any other area that provides a service.

People obviously need this service, and they frequently aren't getting it. So what's the right process? Is it so painful that no reasonable human could use it?

I've seen help desks do things like:

  • quickly diagnose that this is an unrelated problem and reroute to the right problem solver, giving the user the information they need to do this right the next time
  • offer the right solution to any pages that reference the help desk - so if the help desk has a web page, there's a sidebar that says "for hardware problems - do this instead"
  • put a self-triage option into an automated voice prompt on the phone - "for hardware/OS problems - press 1, for internal software problems - press 2".

More than most places, I see that help desks often end up expanding to service the needs of the customers rather than trying to change the customer's needs so that the scope doesn't change.

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    I don't think you can avoid having to diagnose that it is an unrelated problem yourself; presumably the customers are calling because "Ben's software doesn't work". They don't know if it's a problem with Ben's software, or whether it's a virus, hardware fault, what-have-you. – Carson63000 Jan 8 '14 at 22:57
  • Absolutely ... in some cases. I would think that "My laptop was run over by a car" for example would appear to be a hardware issue, even to a pretty naive user, so if there was a phone system that said "press 1 for hardware issues" they may be able to get though it for cases of "my hardware is currently in several broken peices" type issues. – bethlakshmi Jan 9 '14 at 14:53

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