Tips to improve your IT service desk

Micro Focus Contributor
Micro Focus Contributor
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girl at laptop.jpgIT service desk management is a complex science. Technology advancements are easing service management; however, for many companies, whether it is about improving the service desk's efficiency or implementing it for the very first time, the process is extremely daunting. It is important to follow various best practices ab initio to ensure the desk functions seamlessly.

Many IT enterprises grapple with the challenges of managing their IT desk services. According to Gartner, 6 million connected devices will actively and autonomously request support by 2024. Consequently, IT teams will struggle if they haven't been equipped to meet the realities of the future.

Are you game to withstand some of the most rugged service desk management challenges? In this blog, we have outlined some of the top challenges and tips that would enable you to improve your IT service desk.

To start with, let us look at some of the challenges:

  1. Numerous repetitive requests with a long turnaround time
    IT enterprises receive multiple service requests from different channels, which often lead to prolonged turnaround time to resolve tickets. Lack of clear communication between the end user and IT on account of higher incoming ticket volume can increase the issues.
  1. Automation - Need for upskilling
    Rapid automation and new technologies, such as chatbots and AI enabled customer service, calls for upskilling skills of employees, and most companies find it challenging to upskill existing employees.
  1. Data security breaches
    The alarming frequency of high-profile security breaches (such as Cambridge Analytica capturing Facebook user information or Quora’s data breach that happened in 2018), resulted in corporations becoming more obsessed with data protection than ever. In addition to maintaining compliance, risk, and security - customers need to be ensured that systems and services that they interact with are safe and that their sensitive data remains secure.
  2. Problems keeping track of users’ hardware and software assets
    IT Service Desks are not efficient in tracking assets of end users—such as software licenses, warranty, asset scans, security certificate, hardware, and software inventory. IT desks either record on spreadsheets or obsolete tools that generate unreliable information, if not appropriately curated.

To overcome these challenges, it requires a custom blend of people, processes, information, and technology working together to create a service desk that enhances productivity and customer service.

Where can your company improve service desk operations?

Workforce Enablement: Strengthen customer service skills and support
Service Desk staff is a significant part of your IT Desk Services, so hiring and training the right agents for the job is essential. Many organizations conduct training programs to enable workforce.

Organizations invest in new tools, knowledge sharing sessions, workshops, and exercises concerning new initiatives to develop collaborative thinking and reincarnate digitally. Besides on-the-job training, companies offer seminars, accreditation programs, and videos to supplement your training effort. There are multiple seminars and ITIL certifications that can benefit both employees and employers, in terms of building IT skills and improving IT operational efficiency.

Companies also invest in improving the communication of service desk team as seamless communication is important to connect with end users. Skills like listening carefully, empathizing with issues, managing difficult conversations are all important to manage service desk efficiently.

Multiple customer support tools provide adequate omnichannel support integrating email, social, and chat along with a guidebook and knowledge base for customers and agents.

Automation
New technologies, including analytics and automation, are revolutionizing the IT Service Desk Management.

itom_peoria.JPGService Desk automation reduces redundant tasks, cuts down manual efforts, and simplifies the overall work. Moreover, it also reduces costs. Modern technology partners help companies to automate their service desk workflows and facilitate intelligent AI-enabled ticketing and bucketing. With automation, different problems are classified in different groups, and concerned user groups and agents are assigned tickets automatically.

Workflow automation also helps in managing SLA violations by escalating the unresolved tickets to supervisors or critical stakeholders. It helps gain visibility into your service delivery by keeping track of the desk’s performance against SLAs. Desk automation software also allows to follow up on issues like pending responses or tickets to clear bottlenecks.

Analytics-driven ITSM
Listed below are a few ways analytics and machine learning can transform your service desk:

  • Empower service improvement - Analytics and Machine Learning identify patterns and trends across records and a variety of interaction types. Process owners and managers apply the resulting insight to be more proactive and improve service quality.
  • Handle tickets more simply, quickly, and effectively - Effective handling requests and managing incidents are two of the significant activities provided by the service desk. Improving the speed and effectiveness of ticket handling reduces cost, further improves service quality, and increases customer satisfaction. For instance: When an end-user encounters an issue, they can take a picture of it on their mobile device and submit it. Intelligent search provides actionable information across service desk staff and end-users from a broad range of potential information sources.
  • Enable Self-Service - Self-service enables user communities to exchange information amongst themselves in addition to the service desk. Facilitating end-user transactions within the service desk provides another information source that can be leveraged by analytics and machine learning. Understanding what end-users are searching for and the questions they are asking enables the service desk to provide better knowledge and enhanced services.

Customer Feedback and Surveys
There are numerous metrics to measure the performance of service desk viz-a-viz cost-per-ticket, rate of resolution, average time-to-resolution, etc. However, none of these metrics matter, if the user experience and overall support process are not smooth and satisfactory.

Asking for customers' feedback on your IT service desk management, can help identify loopholes in the existing process, improve your current knowledge base documentation, and make customers happier.

Help desk surveys provide IT support teams with two critical pieces of information: employee satisfaction ratings after using IT support, and a list of factors that lead to employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

For conducting a survey, know your target audience well, be clear with the implementation strategy, and have a set of potential survey questions ready to be fed into the survey tool selected. Keep the items short and crisp. Share out the email with the customers, measure results and take action.

Knowledge Management
IT organizations and service desks are becoming increasingly reliant upon knowledge. Information Technology Infrastructure Library v3 (ITIL v3), recognized knowledge management as one of the best practices for managing Information Technology (IT). It aims to gather, analyze, store, and rediscover knowledge by documenting it and making it available throughout the organization.

For a seamless IT Service Desk experience, it's essential to implement a knowledge management system (KMS) to improve accessibility for the users and eliminate redundancies in the knowledge finding process to enhance organizational efficiency.

Maintaining a knowledge repository is quintessential as it provides answers to the queries faced by end users. These repositories should be reviewed and updated with new and vital information, relevant for smooth customer experience.

Conclusion

Overcoming the top IT challenges with the right approach forms a crucial part of  IT service desk management. Surf the roadblocks with improved service quality, watchful eye on your metrics, and an open ear to customer’s feedback. It is important to invest in training and enabling workers to ensure the service desk is equipped and aligned with the end business goals.

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