So, you want to set in motion a number of improvement activities that will help to take your IT service desk forward in 2019 – but what should you do? It’s easy to think that a new IT service management (ITSM) tool is the answer, but before you run to do this (and you might be surprised that we’re saying this) there are other things to consider first. Here are our 10 tips for achieving greater IT service desk success in 2019.
1. Truly understand your IT service desk’s “reason for being”
Given the increasing availability of IT support best practice – both in terms of recognized (and paid for) qualifications and blog-type information – it’s easy to follow the herd. Instead, for your IT service desk to be better at meeting organizational and employee-level needs, it should first understand its “reason for being.” This will encompass, among other things, the type of service desk it should be – for instance, low cost versus high-touch (and costlier).
2. Remember that it’s really people support, not IT support
Of course, the names don’t help – from the IT help desk to the IT service desk to IT support. We guess way back when, IT support really was once about supporting the IT. Nowadays though, it should be about getting services and people back up and running as quickly as possible – minimizing downtime and offering an acceptable customer experience as a minimum.
3. Don’t be limited by your ITSM tool
Just because your ITSM tool works in a particular way, or doesn’t do x, y, or z, don’t meekly accept this as the status quo. Ask your current tool vendor about other possibilities (and ideally in line with how you want the tool to work for you). If it can’t do what you need, then it might be time to consider alternative options (but not before considering many of my other nine tips).
4. Treat customer feedback as free consultancy
Your IT service desk has probably captured end-user feedback for as long as you can remember. But what do you actually use it for? We’re not just talking about the complaints (or similar) but also the plaudits. Your feedback potentially holds a wealth of information on what certain people do well, which can be built on, and things that are in dire need of improvement.
5. Measure your IT service desk status quo against customer expectations
This will be far reaching and should encompass contact channels (the variety and quality), opening times, agreed service level targets for incident resolution and service request provision, among other things. One important learning point you might discover is that the industry best practice you’ve adopted might not be aligned with your customers’ expectations in 2019.
6. Understand that your IT service desk will need to evolve during 2019
From the growing importance of employee experience to the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities – all of this will affect the IT service desk, from strategies and policies through to day-to-day operations and service desk agent skills and capabilities...
7. Reassess the required service desk agent skills and capabilities
So much is changing in IT support right now (as per our previous bullet), that simply being able to follow a service desk script will no longer be enough. For example, agents will need to be able to problem-solve when receiving only the more-complicated issues (because the AI technology will handle the simpler issues). They’ll also need to be able to work in harmony with the technology. Plus – and probably most importantly – they’ll need to be cognizant of, and deliver a better, employee experience.
8. Assess the suitability of post-support customer satisfaction surveys
A good question to ask of your IT service desk is: What’s our customer feedback response rate? If it’s 10% or less, then you would not be alone – there’s an industry-wide “misuse” of surveys. If so, then look to address the key barriers. Firstly, assess how easy it is to complete – completion time and complexity are both feedback killers. Secondly, assess what’s asked from an end-user point of view, i.e. what’s most important to them? And thirdly, make sure that people can see what improves thanks to their feedback – because no one will provide feedback if all it does is get swallowed by a black hole.
9. Value your team and don’t forget to conduct staff surveys
End-user feedback isn’t the only important line of assessing operations. There’s also a need to regularly survey your agents to identify improvement opportunities that will range from better ways of working to removing the causes of high staff turnover.
10. Revisit metrics and targets in light of the above
It’s good practice to review your IT service desk metrics on a regular basis anyway. But with so many things potentially changing in 2019, there’s now a definite need. This might be the expected level of first contact resolution once service desk agents are only receiving the more complicated, and time-consuming, issues. Or the target customer satisfaction level once a higher volume of end users are providing feedback – because this will probably also offer up a broader range of satisfaction states that will affect the future scores.
So, that’s our 10 tips for IT service desk success in 2019 – what would you add? Please let us know in the comments.