The industry move away from IT help desks to IT service desks has provided many IT organizations – both internal and external – with the impetus to move their attention away from the affected IT asset(s) to the person, or people, impacted by the reported IT issue (plus the business impact of the resultant downtime). But there’s still more that can be done, especially in light of the growing employee/customer expectations around service and support – where the expectations of employees are being driven up by their often-superior, consumer-world experiences.
Please read on for 10 tips on providing a great service on your organization’s IT service desk.
1. Make it clear as to the type of IT service desk your organization will be providing
This might be “customer focused,” “cost minimized,” or something else, and will no doubt be reflected in service desk strategies and policies. However, the use of a simple mission (or value) statement will make it easier for all interested parties to know the service desk’s “reason for being.” From service desk agents knowing the role they need to fulfill to better setting and managing customer expectations.
2. Aim to get the “customer experience” basics right
To do this, there’s a need to understand what customer experience (CX) is (in its consumer-world context) and that “consumerization” is bringing CX into the workplace. There’s also a need to view the “end user” as some form of customer.
3. Gauge the customer’s “context”
While it might be relatively easy to understand the customer’s issue, there are other things that also need to be understood. These include how the issue is affecting the customer’s work (or business operations) and thus the customer’s personal state. It might also be important to understand the customer’s technical know-how such that the offered solution is pitched at a helpful, and receivable, level.
4. Assess your IT service desk’s ticket-related communications
These could be too frequent or too little. In the case of the former, not only is it annoying to receive notifications that add little value, the volume also makes it hard for the customer to know what they really need to know. In the case of the latter, no one likes to be kept in the dark about something that’s important to them.
5. Ensure that service desk agents are able to, and consistently do, manage customer expectations
Not only is this communicating timeframes as appropriate, ideally based on agreed service level agreement (SLA) targets, but also ensuring that agents don’t try to avoid conflict through over promising only to then under deliver.
6. Leverage knowledge management tools and techniques to speed up resolutions
Not only does a speedier resolution greatly impact the perception of service (and strongly influence customer happiness), the use of existing knowledge can also improve the quality of resolutions.
7. Make escalation routes clear and readily available
When there is inevitably a need to escalate an issue – either due to technical need or customer dissatisfaction – ensure that service desk agents can receive swift assistance. Otherwise the escalation inefficiencies will only make things worse.
8. Use self-service (and self-help) to make common requests and answers, and progress updates, readily available
Not only does this provide an alternative channel, it can also speed things up from a customer perspective. After all, who likes waiting longer on the phone than the time it talks to receive the information you’re seeking?
9. Leverage fit-for-purpose IT service desk, or IT service management (ITSM), technology to deliver support “better, faster, cheaper”
While great IT service desk people are the key ingredient for great service, the technology – and automation capabilities in particular – can help to deliver a superior customer experience.
10. Ensure that IT service desk metrics serve their purpose
Too many IT service desks measure the wrong things. Or measure so many things that they can’t see the important things. Plus, they might use metrics that drive the wrong people behaviors. Thus, to truly deliver a great service, an IT service desk needs to understand what really matters to customers and to then use metrics that allow performance to be understood. With identified improvements acted upon as appropriate.
So there you have it, our 10 tips for providing a great service on the IT service desk. Would you have included any others? Please let us know in the comments.