At some point in time, we’ve all no doubt heard our colleagues call it the “Helpless Desk” but why was, or sadly, “is” it perceived that way? A big reason is because most are used exclusively in a reactive mode and the community leveraging it only looks to it AFTER something has gone bad. This culture needs to change so that the Help Desk is viewed as a real Service Desk, one that knows what is happening before the users and can advise them of problems before they escalate, rather than being told via an irate phone call during a crisis when it is already too late. So, how can we change this perception while actively transforming it into the Service Desk of the future that we want and need? You need to show that you CARE.
An organization needs to communicate to its users what exactly the purpose and capability of the Service Desk is at all times. Users in organizations with less than effective Help Desks view them simply as the people to call when they need to vent about outages and problems. Sadly, armed typically with insufficient information readily available to answer the needs of the caller, the operator feeds the “Helpless Desk” perception and continues the cycle.
Without proper insight into what is being done in the IT environment and the business cycle related to it, Help Desk personnel are left with their hands tied when trying to do their job. IT needs to provide a vehicle for the Service Desk to see in near real-time, what changes are occurring and/or pending in the environment. Business needs to provide them with an overlay of their business cycle and the possible risks associated with the changes. They need to detail mitigation options and alternatives/work-arounds related to possible outages or performance degradation so that the Service Desk can share it with users who may call during an event.
Do you write off a bad event as something IT has to address? If you do, you’re missing a key point in how IT is perceived. IT is typically viewed through the lens of the Service Desk. Don’t think that if you aren’t involved in improving perception, you won’t be involved in the outsourcing of IT. After a major event, conduct a REAL review of user perception on how it was handled and what could have been improved. Don’t just do it via an email survey. Talk with them in person. The personal touch means a lot to them.
Every call to a Service Desk costs money, so don’t do things like sending out confusing messages that drive up call volumes. We have all received those emails or phone calls that confuse us more than help. What do we do when we get them? We call the Service Desk for clarification or to simply find out if it even pertains to us. Be smart about outward communications, make it clear and concise. What is it? Who does it pertain to? When is it relevant?
If your customer base doesn’t think you CARE about their needs or value their time, they will never get past the perception that you are simply a “Helpless Desk”.
About the author: Carlos Casanova is the President and Solutions Architect for K2 Solutions Group, Inc. and Executive Adviser to Fortune 100 corporations. He is the co-author of “The CMDB Imperative” and a sought after speaker at national and international Service Management conferences. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosCasanova.