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There’s an IT service management (ITSM) industry phrase that seems to get used every time something new and sexy is added to ITSM tools – “It’s not your grandfather’s IT service desk.” Notwithstanding the fact that there were no IT help desks, let alone service desks, in my grandfather’s day, it paints a picture of “olden-day” IT support as being an inferior version of what we have now. That new thinking, ways of working, and technology-delivered capabilities, and – more recently – consumerization have improved end-user-focused IT support from its 1980’s origins.
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater as we strive to improve the IT service desk. Or perhaps we already have when it comes to one facet of “olden-day” IT support – the “walk-up” support channel.
As we add innovations like automation and self-service to our ITSM arsenals for improved customer experiences, cost-savings, and lighter service desk workloads, we have to ask ourselves: Are there improvements to be made to more traditional forms of support? This blog looks at the current use of walk-up support and whether IT departments are missing a big opportunity by overlooking one of the earliest IT support channels.
The latest HDI data – from its “2016 Technical Support Practices & Salary Report” – shows that half of support centers still formally offer a walk-up channel, third only to phone and email channels.
Channels Used to Contact Support
Source: HDI, “2016 Technical Support Practices & Salary Report”
However, the use of walk up by end users is disproportionately low, as shown in the Happy Signals data below, with only 1% of employee experience feedbacks related to the “walk-in” channel:
Source: Happy Signals
This data also shows the “walk-in” channel behind self-service and chat in terms of adoption volumes.
As to why this is, there are a number of potential reasons:
There are of course potentially other root causes, but it’s worth using the above Happy Signals diagram to query the last potential reason in the list – that end users might have had a bad experience with walk up.
It’s logical that if an end user has a bad experience with an IT-support channel, then they are highly unlikely to use it again. Instead using something that has worked well for them previously, such as the telephone channel.
However, according to the Happy Signals’ data above, this isn’t the case with walk up; with “walk in” having the best employee experience feedback of all the listed IT support channels:
So, we have a paradox – walk up is commonly offered, infrequently used, but delivers by far the best employee experience. It just doesn’t make sense if it’s being given equal attention as an available IT-support channel.
While walk up might feel like an olden-day IT service desk channel – with it since superseded by email, self-service, chat, social media, and peer-to-peer support mechanisms – it’s definitely not “dead in the water.”
First, there’s Apple’s growing reliance on walk up via its in-store Genius Bars that seem to cater for more and more people. Then, there’s the recent Gartner Hype Cycle for ITSM, 2017 – which includes Walk-Up Support in the “Peak of Inflated Expectations.”
Hype Cycle for ITSM, 2017, Gartner
Source: Gartner Hype Cycle for ITSM, 2017, Rich Doheny, 19 July 2017
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The Gartner report also calls out some of the potential reasons for the low uptake of walk up:
All of which are valid. But ultimately, walk up needs to be considered as something new, and hopefully reimagined, to truly be successful. And, in addition to dealing with the above three issues, there needs to be:
So, is it time to augment your traditional service desk support and look at the walk-up opportunity within your organization? If you already offer the channel, then are you making the most of it? If you don’t, then perhaps you should give it a try – your end-users might love you more for it.
Benoit Tessier, EasyVista Director of Product Marketing, is an IT veteran with 20+ years of professional IT Service Management experience. He has extensive knowledge on process implementation and technical integrations, and has presented at ITSM conferences around the world. In this role, he helps lead the marketing direction and strategic vision for EasyVista’s services and solutions.