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Over the past few decades IT has, without a doubt, seen some incredible advancements in the field, especially around the service desk. However, any service desk professional will tell you that their job still consists of continuous inefficiencies.
Traditionally, an end user would contact the service desk due to experiencing some kind of IT issue. The technician handling the request would then place the caller on hold and complete the necessary documentation to officially open the ticket. Only then could the issue be resolved or escalated and not until the instance is closed out does the end user receive a follow up confirmation. This could take minutes, hours or sometimes days depending on the severity of the issue.
In this antiquated operational model, staff can become bored and frustrated, and efficiency levels inevitably drop. There has to be a better way: service desk automation!
“Automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
— Bill Gates
Consider the 10 following innovative service desk automation ideas to boost service desk efficiencies.
To solve your onboarding challenge, you must first understand your objective. Onboarding and setup are two different processes, so you should be familiar with the differences. The right self-service technology, however, can help you automate both. For example, tools that offer easy-to-use process templates can help you orchestrate and automate through simple drag-and-drop capabilities. Using knowledge workflows, for example, can also enhance the user experience on any device thus enforcing standardization. This can help:
A key ingredient for service desk automation is knowledge management. Utilizing knowledge management allows everything from routine tasks to complex processes to become more structured, organized, and standardized. In order to go beyond what a traditional knowledge base allows, use tools that allow you to make knowledge more engaging and interactive.
For example, the image below shows how a common HR question such as "What is parental leave?" can be broken down into a simple workflow. A tool that is capable of creating decision trees with automated workflows will allow knowledge to be more dynamic so it can take into an account any number of variables, including who is requesting help or even what device they are requesting help for.
Nowadays, you need a password to access just about anything and people forget their passwords—a lot. As stated previously, by utilizing automated workflows powered by knowledge, end users can go through the necessary steps to recover their password without bogging down the service desk.
This will dramatically decrease level 1 tickets and increase user satisfaction by empowering your users to solve their own problems with automated knowledge-based steps delivered through a responsive portal. Password managers can also help alleviate the burden support teams face by capturing all employee passwords in a central system that only requires a single master password to access.
Again, it all comes back to properly leveraging knowledge management. Imagine that an employee wants to download a program to their work computer. There might already be a process in place that allows the employee to initiate the install, assuming the employee requests the necessary software from the service catalog.
Instead, the employee decides to contact the service desk where a service desk agent will inevitably ask them to use the service catalog. While a single request does not seem like it would have a huge impact on productivity, it interrupts IT’s focus. And these “little” interruptive requests tend to happen frequently.
The proper self-service automation tools give a place for employees to ask questions and get answers without interrupting service desk teams. Knowledge workflows can easily be integrated into self-service portals, applications, community platforms, and chatbots without involving the service desk at all.
How often are tickets sent to the wrong IT personnel? How much time do employees spend each day triaging new tickets? This is a waste of time for support teams and negatively impacts the customer experience.
Work with an IT service management platform with built-in features that automate the process of getting issues to the right departments from the get-go. Some of these features may include creating personalized dashboards and rules that automate an entire ticket flow.
One thing that bothers most end users is not knowing the status of their problem, or how long they will need to wait until it is resolved. With certain automated programs you can specify rules for sending timely updates to your customers about the status of their ticket or request.
By keeping your customers informed, you reduce the number of questions the service desk receives. If a ticket resolution falls short of your service-level agreement you can set up automated alerts that will escalate to the highest priority status, so nothing falls between the cracks.
While some organizations have round-the-clock support teams, that is not the case for most. There are periods in the evening and on the weekends where traditionally no one is actively monitoring system issues or tickets. In this case, it is of paramount importance to have an automated system that escalates major issues and incidents to the right people when resolution cannot wait for normal business hours.
Instead of manually gathering metrics, focus on a holistic view of your team’s performance. For example, you can automate the collection of the following datasets:
With the right ITSM tool, you can display some of these metrics in customized dashboards for each member of your team, even those outside of IT. Service desk managers can receive a more granular view of individual performance, while executives can get a quick snapshot of performance.
Some requests take longer than others, however you should not just let them sit there and affect or influence your metrics. By using specific service desk software, you can set rules that automatically closes tickets that have been dormant by the customer within a certain timeframe.
There are plenty of ways to measure service desk performance, as we have already mentioned. But none of those metrics matter if the quality of service you provide is not up to par. One solution is to create and send surveys to your customers regularly.
The best way to ensure constant collection of customer feedback is to automate the process. There are tools available to help with collecting feedback automatically and accessing it when it’s needed to measure performance and quality.
We know it will increase your efficiency by reducing downtime and eliminating redundant activities, but there is more! The service desk:
Using the proper technology and ITSM tools can enhance the way your service desk works, and it is essential, not only to your employees and customers, but also to the growth of your organization.
With over 300+ ITSM tools available out there, it can be hard to know where to begin. Start first with EasyVista and learn how we can help you increase your IT service desk efficiencies.
Alexandria Fitzhugh has experience with ITSM, ITOM & ITAM, with a focus on building relationships with mid-market to enterprise-level organizations to help improve their ITIL alignment. Outside of work, she loves spending time with family and her dog, and traveling to new places.
September 09, 2021