Imagine me, I am the new team lead of a small, internal Help Desk. Unfortunately, process & procedures have not been developed so some aspects of Call handling need to be formalized – specifically, the call re-assignment process.

At the moment, if a technician can’t resolve the call, he/she contacts the primary Help Desk Analyst and asks her to re-assign the call to a different person, using our Help Desk software applicaton. The quantity of calls is low so it’s an informal “can you do me a favour?” type of atmosphere.

I would like the technicians to do the Call Re-Assignment themselves but they are reluctant. Am I off-base? No…here’s how to handle the call re-assignment process….

If you can get everyone to agree to pass them on themselves, that is a good thing – provided that it does not become a way to put awkward problems to the bottom of the pile by giving them to someone else. What I’ve done in the past is make it a “pull” operation rather than a “push” one – calls are taken by the new assignee rather then given to them by the current assignee. This means there has to be a discussion before the re-assignment, which immediately takes out the risk of unnecessary or delaying call reassignments.

In efficiency terms, not re-routing via the desk is a good thing, since it speeds up call transfer. After all, the call is always owned by the desk (it is, isn’t it?!) since they do the progress chasing and the technicians are temporary custodians.

In measurement terms, this is the “bounce count”- the average number of times a call is reassigned in its life. This is one of the main KPIs for a Helpdesk operation. A good desk should aim to keep it as low as possible.


This situation arises all the time at many small-ish internal help desk.
Staff alternate phone days with deskside days, so it is very common for the person on the phone to take a call that requires a site visit (though those are held down a lot with remote control).  In that case, they get on the radio, ask who is available for a “hit and run” (sorry) and once the request has been accepted, the phone person makes the reassignment in Support Magic.
It also happens when it’s an escalation situation.  In that case, they must ask the person they want to reassign the call to if they will accept the call.  If they will, then the person taking the call does the reassignment, same as the case above.
Under no circumstances are folks to reassign a call unless they have discussed it in advance.  This works really well for many groups.  The process is facilitated by the fact that the team works extremely well with each other to begin with.
If staff have trouble getting anyone to take the call, it’s their responsibility to let you know and you’ll get it reassigned.  This usually happens only in cases where everyone is fully booked and they aren’t raising their hand because of a workload issue.  Checking with the caller on what their timeline is and how it fits in our prioritization scheme also helps so that the person being asked to take it on knows the timeframe.