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Evan Carlson | June 28, 2018

How to Improve Service Desk: 4 Best Practices

So your service desk is a mess. Tickets are rising, customer satisfaction might be good for now but you feel it won’t hold forever. Employees are working hard and yet the ticket queue gets longer and longer. It goes down when everyone is truly motivated and goes back up once that motivation becomes hard to sustain. It feels like you’ve lost control and have no way of justifying more resources because you know things are not necessarily optimal. While it may just be a temporary phase, you are looking for ideas to improve the current situation.

But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Do you know any service desks that don’t struggle? They all do to a certain degree. This is the nature of the service desk but there is a difference between struggling to get your numbers and spinning out of control. Things are not as desperate as they seem. Chances are you are in between those two right now.

Click here to learn how to lower service desk call volume with interactive  knowledge experiences.

SDI’s Analyst 2.0 Report found that a significant portion of respondents were not fully aware of how service desk analysts spent their time, which doesn’t lead to a successful service desk, and if service desk professionals are not using their time effectively then the consequences could negatively impact the business. 

Get Your Service Desk Under Control With These 4 Best Practices

Are you among the majority that’s feeling unproductive and inefficient?  Do you feel like your service desk is off the rails and not sure how to get it back on track? Here are four easy tips to help you get your service desk under control.

1. Appoint a Queue Manager

The keyword here is “appoint.”  One of the key success factors for any service desk is queue management, and unless you can add new resources, you will need to select someone for the job and this is almost a full-time job. The responsibilities of a queue manager are simple: review the status of every ticket, prioritize, assign and follow-up with the team. The goal is to make sure that tickets are not forgotten in the queue and that the resolution time is kept to a minimum.

Additionally, an effective queue manager can detect reoccurring issues and alert problem management. With a queue manager, your service desk team can focus on resolving tickets instead of managing tickets.

2. Eliminate Redundant Activities With Automation

You can probably automate several tasks that are done manually today. In fact, you can probably ask your end user to do it themselves and they won’t mind either. Self-Help and Self-Service are what your end users expect today. With IT self-help, you can publish intelligent knowledge articles that guide your end users toward the resolution of some common issues but also complex requests. Doing this will deflect tickets from the service desk.

Another option is self-service. Don’t waste time on repetitive manual tasks. Many of today’s tools can help you create accounts, deliver software, reset passwords, and more so it’s important that you review which services you provide the most, and or are the most time consuming, and determine what you can automate in your workflow. It could be as simple as automatically sending credentials by email but sometimes as complex as restarting services on a server. The more you can automate the easier it will be to hit those resolution times. 

3. Really Focus on Customer Service

In a situation where your service desk is out of control, you must put even more focus on customer service. And one danger to customer service comes from within, in the form of negativity. This could be the result of many things such as being overworked, job pressure, unclear job expectations, weak leadership, poor team synergy, disruptive workers, etc. Given that customer service is dependent on people and processes, you cannot deliver good results if negativity is now in your service desk. You can have the best queue manager, the best people, the best automation, and the best processes, but if your people are unwilling to overcome their negativity, none of these efforts would bear any fruit.

It is important to fight this. The effect of this negativity is that your people will fall into the trap of not caring enough anymore because the work never ends. There are always more tickets to process, more than anyone can handle. The real danger lies in them holding on to this behavior and becoming the issue themselves. Customers will soon be able to perceive a drop in service, leading to dissatisfaction which leads to even more issues to deal with.

If you think you are suffering from this, organize meetings, talk about it openly and without judgment. Give everyone something to do to fix what they see as not working. Organize team-building activities and do whatever you feel is necessary to fun back into the workplace to show you understand and care. 

4. Customers Just Want to Know When

You can regain control by doing what doctors have been doing forever: setting up an appointment with your customer. Most issues can wait and many customers are willing to wait. In the end, all they want to know is when you will help them. You will be surprised at how much time a customer is willing to wait, sometimes postponing the meeting for days if not weeks. This will give you some breathing time to take care of more urgent matters and deal with those SLAs.

Ordinarily, we focus on numbers, resources, KPIs, and processes, to resolve service desk issues. These are the things we know and that are part of our training as ITSM professionals. The four tips we’ve provided can make a big difference in your service desk because they address aspects we tend to neglect or don’t know how to address: how you organize your work more efficiently and how you handle the human aspect of customer service. This kind of shift can be the change you need to regain control.  

The service desk is one of the toughest areas of an organization to tackle, but now that we’ve shared these four helpful tips, you can rest easy knowing how you can remain in control of your service desk.

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Evan Carlson

Evan Carlson joined EasyVista in 2010 as the first employee in North America. He is currently the Chief Revenue Officer responsible for revenue growth and profitability across marketing, sales, services, support and customer success. Carlson previously served as VP of Sales at EasyVista to establish and grow the business with empowered teams, innovative sales strategies, and long-term customer relationships. Before EasyVista, Carlson held leadership roles for technology vendors including OPNET, Optinuity (acquired by CA Technologies), and Visual Networks (acquired by Danaher Corporation).