We are finally entering a phase that many of us thought might never come: post-pandemic life. As we prepare to move beyond the new normal, now is the time to reflect on the pandemic’s impact on your business and create a strategy to future-proof your strategy. Part of this strategy should look at the role of service management in the post-pandemic paradigm.
Now more than ever, the first focus within service management is to contribute to value delivery to the business, which ultimately creates value for the customer. The second focus is to deliver a positive, and more importantly, consistent customer experience. But the service management strategy that worked well before the pandemic will no longer cut it – it’s time to recalibrate and reignite.
The Factors of Next-Generation Service Management
According to a recent research study conducted by IDC, 63% of organizations have shifted and/or increased tech spending toward recalibration and reignition, and 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies by 2022, transforming existing business processes. Next generation service management can help bridge the gap between this digital boom and the service desk.
In order to create a strategy for next-generation service management that will work for long-term results, let’s walk through some factors to consider when getting ready for the next era in service management: innovation, collaboration, experimentation, and transparency.
Factor 1: Innovation
Digital transformation is often used interchangeably with the idea of innovation. But, they are not necessarily one-in-the-same. Innovation is the intersection of what you think is needed, what the customer needs, and societal transformation.
In service management, the key to innovation is to start with the “why” and then move into finding ways to make it easy for customers. Ask what pains you are solving and what are your drivers. This is relative to customer value and customer experience.
For example, ask yourself why customers are coming to the service desk for help and what types of information they are requesting often. Are they constantly reaching out with laptop problems, or are they needing a specific help article to help them use a specific software?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can find ways to create a culture of enablement to make things easier and to solve their problems without adding more stress to their plate. This might mean implementing automation, self-service portals, or knowledge management. Or, it might mean creating a more modernized service desk experience for service desk agents. Whatever the case, innovation should combine transformation with need.
Factor 2: Collaboration
Collaboration has two facets: customer-to-agent and agent-to-agent.
Customers want to be helped how, when, and where they prefer. Beyond that, customers want a say in their support and how involved they want to be. According to a 2019 Digital Workplace Consumer Survey from Gartner, when asked “If you had an issue with the digital technology you use for work, how would you prefer to solve it?” 29% said as their first option that they would ask a co-worker and 28% said that they would primarily look for an answer on the internet. 25% said their first choice was to phone IT support, and 7% said they would primarily email the IT service desk.1
That means that collaboration in this context doesn’t necessarily mean only sticking to collaborative support among service desk agents – although that can certainly help. It means including the customer in collaboration to solve the problem in a way that they prefer. By doing so, you enable the customer to learn how to solve their own problems in the future, and you also create a culture of constant feedback. Involving the customer in the solution also means that the more involved they are in understanding the problem and solution, the more likely they are to share it with their peers, who are possible service desk customers.
The other facet of collaboration is among agents. For example, giving agents the ability to share notes, questions, or feedback on a particular incident or problem in a shared, social way. This can be done directly in your knowledge management or ITSM tool, and will help keep knowledge articles refreshed as new work-arounds are found and as the service desk evolves.
Factor 3: Experimentation and Continuous Learning
Continuous learning and experimentation are sometimes synonyms for continuous improvement, but in reality, the former is a prerequisite for the latter.
Experimentation and continuous learning mean that you are enabling a culture of ongoing improvement and are encouraging a model of failing fast, failing often, and failing forward. Through continual experimentation you may find it more beneficial to try new things with the caveat that it is okay for the project to fail fast and often, as long as you are “failing forward” and learning, applying what you learned to the next experiment. And this boosts any continuous improvement outcomes.
Similar to using the agile methodology, you should continually work to experiment, improve, and keep moving. The biggest benefit of focusing on a continuous learning, rather than improvement environment, is that it takes away the pressure from always having to improve and moves it to encouragement to always learn. In this environment, people are more likely to think outside the box and ultimately (and surprisingly) having more improvements as a result.
Factor 4: Transparency
In post-pandemic life, a modern service desk is a transparent service desk. That doesn’t necessarily mean sharing every piece of every project with every person. It means that in order to fully embrace the previous point of experimentation you must also incorporate feedback loops and actively solicit feedback. This can be feedback from the customers with whom you collaborate and work, the greater IT team, management, and other departments. In a way, this factor combines the previous three.
How do you become more transparent? By measuring results and taking a wide view of the goals and feedback through various KPIs.
These insights should be measurable so that you know what to prioritize. Think about the KPIs you currently use to gauge service management success. You may need to incorporate new ones. For example, the top four most important new KPIs that organizations report using include:
- Employees’ usage of digital tools and services
- Automation of end-to-end processes
- ROI from digital services or products
- Employee satisfaction
These should be measurable KPIs to work toward, which you can then use to refine processes and shift priorities. You can read about a few of the ways to measure customer transparency in this recent post.
Going Beyond the Pandemic Requires New Strategic Thinking
As a final point, you should make next era service delivery manageable on the levels of process, people, and technology. You don’t want to make your processes nor technology too dependent on specific people, and your people too dependent on one specific process or technology. For example, imagine you need 3 full time employees to program any process changes into your service management tool. Now, imagine two of these employees retire, and think about the challenges that come with that. This stress can be avoided with a service management tool that doesn’t require several employees to manage and maintain.
Making your strategy ready for the next era means focusing on making things easy to implement, use, administer, maintain, and grow. Altogether, this will help you create a sustainable service management strategy to last for years to come – no matter what crisis should encounter humanity next.
To learn more about next-generation service management in the post-pandemic paradigm, request a demo of EV Service Manager today.
1 Running an Effective IT Service Desk During and After a Pandemic, Chris Matchett, 17 April 2020