How to solve the top four user complaints about Service Desk

Are you suffering from these four complaints about service desk?

  • Submitting a request to service desk is like dropping it into a black hole.
  • Service Desk agent tells me to report my request by sending an email, but how can I when my email doesn’t work?
  • Service Desk won’t let me upgrade my software even though it’s a free download.
  • Senior management gets to jump the line and get their requests fixed while my major problems get delayed.

If so, big change is required to improve your service desk performance. The previous four complaints indicate that you are suffering from low performance in different areas. First complaint indicate that your ITSM tool cannot help to track service desk tickets, second complaint indicates lack of service desk agents skills, third complaint indicates lack of policy awareness, and fourth complaint indicates that your process does not align with business requirements.

However, comprehensive improvement is required to address the previous case. The following service desk capabilities should be considered to provide such solution.

Process capability : Service desk mainly dealing with incident management process and service request fulfillment management process, by reviewing and improving these two processes you can;

  1. enhance business perception of IT,
  2. maintain user satisfaction with the quality of IT services,
  3. standardized methods and procedure to efficiently response, analyze, prioritize, document and reporting of incidents and service requests,
  4. and provide a channel for users to request a standard service.

Process and policy must be published and available for all IT and business staff.

Organization capability : Service Desk organization consists of the service desk organizational structure, the location of service desk, languages utilized in the organization, and number of service desk agents. Improving overall IT services depends on service desk performance as a single point of contact to all IT services. So Service Desk organization should be designed to support the IT service in general and support service level agreement in specific.

Technology capability : Nowadays; processes automation is not an option anymore specially with large organization when tracking incident become an issue. The real challenge is selecting the right tool to automate your processes. The following advices will help to select the right tool;

  1. Define what features must, what features should, what features could, what features won’t have within the required tool. And perform MoSoCO analysis.
  2. Score the tools based in your MoSoCO analysis.
  3. Consider after sale service and product price.
  4. Select a tool that suitable for the size of your organization.
  5. Avoid tools needs customizations as much as you can.

Skilled People capability : I believe that service desk agent’s skills are the most important factor to improve your service desk performance. I do not mean the technical skills only but the three skills areas;

  1. Interpersonal skills include how service desk agents communicate with others, their confidence and their ability to listen and understand, problem solving, decision making and personal stress management are also considered as interpersonal skills.
  2. Lack of service desk agent’s business skills is the common problem with the majority of immature service desk functions. There is no doubt that understanding the objectives, environment, strategy and requirements of business will help service desk agent to correctly categorize and prioritize incidents and service requests , so service desk will be able to align IT activities belongs to service desk to business requirements.
  3. Technical skills of service desk is not required to be deep but wide, in other words service desk agents should have the basic technical skills and knowledge of all IT support areas. But if your service desk structured as Specialized Service Desk Group so you need deep technical skills and knowledge in each support areas. In nutshell the required technical skills and knowledge level depends on the service desk structure, organization culture and environment.

The last few paragraphs covered the answer of question what to be improved? And the following paragraphs will answer the question of how to improve?

The following six steps should be applied for all the previous service desk capabilities.

  1. Define Service Desk strategy; First improvement step is to understand your business requirements and develop your service desk strategy based on these requirements. Strategy should include the objectives, policies, and long term plan.
  2. Define Service desk baseline; Second step is to perform service maturity assessment to define your baseline. If you are a user of Google maps looking for a direction; to define your direction you need to define a location to start from and a location to end to. This step is to define from where we have to start.
  3. Define measurable target; Based on service desk strategy and business requirements you can define the measurable target, refereeing to Google maps metaphor this step to define where we want to go?
  4. Plan for improvement; Now you know from where you are going to start and where do you want to go. What you need now is the route. In other words the detailed improvement plan to achieve your target.
  5. Implement the plan; Once you define the start point, end point, and your route. You can easily drive your car to your target by implement your plan including process, organization, tool, and people skills.
  6. Measure the achievements; Welcome to your target. You have to confirm if you really reach what you meant to achieve.

Now you can track all tickets utilizing your effective tool, your service desk agents are skilled enough to direct requester to the right communication channel, your business and IT staff aware of the organization policy, and all incident request will be prioritize based on clear process.

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About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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