Let's say you’re already adhering to ITIL standards and an ITIL maintenance plan. That's excellent. But as we know, improvement is a “forever” process; an ongoing, continuous, ever-present quest for betterment. With that in mind, we think it’s a good idea to check out these 5 ITIL standards and best practices your help desk software should be following.
If you’re an IT professional, you’ve probably heard “but is it ITIL-aligned, though?” enough to have recurring nightmares. Or perhaps you’re newer to the game and need a bit of a refresher course to get things started.
Don’t worry, though, because we've written the definitive guide to ITIL. Here are the basics:
“The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of practices that supports organizations and individuals to gain optimal value from IT and digital services. Providing guidance on the definition of the direction of the service provider with a clear capability model and aligns them to the business strategy and customer needs.
Until the introduction of ITIL 4 in 2019, ITIL was commonly defined as a library of volumes describing a framework of best practices for delivering IT services (IT Service Management). But, as with ITSM itself, ITIL was increasingly being used in non-IT scenarios through what the IT industry termed Enterprise Service Management strategies: The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is the use of ITSM principles and capabilities in IT and other business areas to improve operations, services, experiences, and outcomes.”
Back on board? Let’s get started with the 5 standards you absolutely need.
5 service management must-haves
1. Self-service is a must, not a bonus
Sometimes we just think that having a service desk running gives us a license to call it a day. But, if you want to keep the level of service requests down — and customer satisfaction up — you also need to give your customers a chance to self-serve.
Why? Because when you give your clients the chance to painlessly solve their own issues, the benefits are twofold. For one, their satisfaction goes up because they didn’t have to go through a lengthy interaction with your service desk. And two, it frees up the time of your IT professionals, allowing them to work on higher-level tickets.
But, of course, this is not something that can happen without a serious knowledge base. And it’s not something you create just for your client base, but also for your IT staff. The more stacked your knowledge base, the higher the chances previous solutions can be leveraged by everyone for faster, more efficient response times when issues crop up again.
But not all platforms offer the ability to make clear step-by-step guides, or uncomplicated ways to store, find, and access information. Your chosen service desk solution should be something like InvGate Service Desk. Its AI-based solutions and easy-access portal make accessing your knowledge base easy for everyone who may need it.
2. Similar incidents belong together
You could consider this an extension of the previous point. Knowledge is about making sure that even if an issue happens more than once, you’ll have the tools on hand to resolve it quicker. That way, you’ll make sure that experience doesn’t go to waste and actually helps out.
Plus, it’s rather common for people to experience similar issues down the road, or iterations of the same. That’s pretty much a standard of service management. And one thing you can do to bring resolution times down is to group similar incidents together. It’s, simply put, a matter of efficiency and making a smart use of resources.
If the incidents have a similar root cause, just one technician can troubleshoot it and provide solutions instead of a multitude of IT pros scrambling around for answers. It saves up on human resources, and also on time and money.
InvGate Service Desk is also another great solution for this, allowing you to group tickets and maximize the efficiency of your service desk staff.
3. Nip problems in the bud
Proactivity is half the battle won, as you probably know already. But this also means that you’ll have to prevent as many support tickets from happening as possible. Yeah, we know, that ain't exactly easy.
What you need to do is correctly monitor IT asset risks, especially “rogue assets,” and try to identify potential ticking time bombs. In our article, we said:
“Shadow IT, or rogue assets, are unauthorized, unknown, and unaddressed items living rent-free in your IT infrastructure. This is coming with all of the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) policies and IoT combining to create a perfect storm of hidden items connected to corporate networks.
But, these practices have hidden costs. They increase the security risk by several orders of magnitude, and the more items are connected without your knowledge, the greater the potential threats. Plus, we talked about ITAM hygiene above, and having unknown and unmanaged items is like letting cavities go unattended.”
There are more things you can do. One is making sure your cybersecurity is up to snuff. That means, they need to be good in the first place (of course), constantly updated, and running on all cylinders. The other is watching for re-occurring problems. If the same problem keeps appearing again and again like a sinister game of whack-a-mole, then you’ve got an underlying issue on your hands.
One great way to pre-emptively tackle part of this issue is if through automation in your service desk. If you’re paying attention, the information it gives you can lead to concrete actions. InvGate Service Desk allows you to do just that.
4. Data collection leads to improvement
You can’t tell whether your team is doing well or not if you don’t have KPIs. That means you need ways to define performance and start collecting information that can give you an accurate picture of what’s going on, both in the positive and negative senses.
Some KPIs to look out for are:
- Average ticket resolution time
- First-contact response time
- Customer retention rate
- Overall customer satisfaction (CSAT)
5. Make ticket progress easy to track
You’d be surprised at how much time and resources are wasted because of poor ticket progress tracking. Notifications need to be in place to let everyone know how each case is going. And, as a part of service management, you’re going to have to be on the ball here.
This means that support tickets should have clear and identifiable notifications to let everyone know the status of the ticket. Moreover, it should be easy to tell whether a case needs additional information or not. Employees can easily get anxious while they wait for a technician to handle their ticket, and that’s beyond the pale. Having a transparent service portal can help keep things on the level, and people level-headed.
ITIL standards and best practices for service desks evolve along with the industry. As ITIL itself, nothing is set in stone. And even if you’re following overall guidelines to the letter, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the small print.
As they say “the Devil is in the details.” While big-picture functionality may seem like it’s A-OK, it’s the little things that can make the whole thing come crashing down. You need to keep taking a microscope to every part of your service desk to make it as good as it can be.