Okay, okay, I think we all know the goal of the IT service desk is to keep business processes (and the employees involved in them) running smoothly. The “customers” of the service desk are the employees within the organization. They’ll have break/fix incidents and even some more basic business services that require budget or access approvals. Regardless of how these needs are addressed, employees want fast resolutions with limited follow up. (And, frankly, it’s not too much to ask.) By minimizing disruptions, and efficiently resolving any issues that occur, the IT service desk can focus on driving the organizational goals they were hired to reach.
Long story short, employees want to do their jobs, and they don’t want disruptions from the technology or tools they use. It’s simple to say, but complicated to deliver, especially since employees are getting used to solutions at the snap of their fingers, thanks to 24/7 social media support and live chat that’s available when and how you need it.
So, what are some of the ways that modern organizations are using IT service management (ITSM) to meet these expectations?
Steal From Consumer Experience
Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the consumer experiences you dislike than the ones you like. Have you ever waited on-hold, only to find that when you finally talk to a customer service representative, they need to route you to someone who specializes in your question? Now you wait on hold some more, and the new representative has to collect your information all over again.
All you needed was a correction to a charge on your bill — a straightforward (and surely, repetitive) issue, yet here you are, 45 minutes later. Ouch.
There are large and previously successful companies (that shall not be named) who are scrambling to regroup and rebrand as they lose customers due to this type of experience. Don’t let that happen at your IT service desk.
Employees are consumers when they’re not at work. They don’t tolerate this type of run-around in their personal time, and they certainly have no tolerance for it when their business and career goals are on the line. In today’s service environment, there are too many better ways to handle their issues promptly. The consumer experience — fast, intuitive, efficient — has shaped the expectation for employee service.
Modern service strategy can automate data collection (so they aren’t explaining who they are and what their issue is to every technician along the way). Today’s software will automate ticket routing and ticket priority so that each incident goes exactly where it needs to and receives the proper attention. Organizations that take customer experience to heart provide a “service level zero,” an area of their service desk that is full of self-service resources to help employees address their own needs.
When they need purchase orders processed, broken equipment repaired, or access to a business application, they don’t have the patience to wait. Luckily, modern employee service management equips organizations to meet these expectations.
Expand the Domain of Service Management
In the modern organization, every department is an internal service provider. Think about it. HR creates a pleasant onboarding process, benefits enrollment, training opportunities, etc. Finance processes POs and expense reports for employees. Facilities provides and maintains many of the material items that employees and organizations rely on. They all receive requests (even if many of them are unofficial), and they want to fulfill these requests as quickly as possible to keep employees happy, and to keep the organization running smoothly.
This modern service environment is demanding on all departments. IT leaders have a unique opportunity. They’re accustomed to the role of service provider. They’ve been resolving tickets, releasing process changes, fulfilling service requests, and shopping for effective business tools for years. Their workdays revolve around conflict resolution, lending their expertise to ensure users are equipped with functioning technology to help them do their jobs. For all of these reasons, IT leaders are equipped with the skills and knowledge to bring the modern service experience to the entire organization.
The transition from ITSM to “employee service management,” is almost always initiated from IT. The proof points are all there. Resolution times are down and CSAT scores are up in IT, mostly because the service desk has spent a long time cultivating a strategy to include a self-service portal, incident management queue, a service catalog, an extensive knowledge base, and so much more. They can bring all of these elements to HR, facilities, finance — basically every department in the organization. Sure, it’ll take a bit of training and a slight culture shift, but the benefits are tangible. All of these pieces of ITSM are elastic, which is to say, the service catalog could include all of the services that the finance department provides. There could be a section of the knowledge base that can answer FAQs for HR (how to enroll in dental coverage, for example). If it pertains to workflows, services, tickets, changes, problems, or releases within the organization — from ANY department — it can be incorporated into your employee service management strategy.
Add Intelligence and Predictability
People are rapidly growing accustomed to intelligent applications and tools. It’s becoming a user-experience requirement. Surely you can think of a clunky tool that made you make a few extra clicks, press a few extra buttons, or retrace a step. It’s embarrassing to say that these experiences are frustrating (we’re quite spoiled), but embarrassing or not, these frustrations drive us away from certain products. User demands are user demands, and providers need to meet them.
New technology is injecting intelligence and predictability into many of our everyday products. Users don’t necessarily identify the technology. They don’t open up the Uber app and say, “Wow! This machine learning feature is really making my ride share experience more efficient!”
However, take these intelligent features away, and you can bet people will wonder why they have to find a pickup point themselves, or why they don’t know how long it’ll be before their ride shows up.
It’s time to start thinking this way at the service desk. It’s easy to cut out some steps using new technology. First, drive users to the self-service portal. As AI and machine learning capabilities make their way into service desk software, users can actually receive suggestions for ticket information they might not necessarily know on their own. Which category is this incident? Your software can tell users that. In fact, it can suggest solutions to users or technicians (with remarkable accuracy) from your database of knowledge resources, all based on the data it collects from previous tickets.
Just like their ride sharing apps, employees don’t demand “artificial intelligence,” per say, when they submit a ticket. They will, however, come to demand an experience that auto-fills information, leads them in the right directions, and allows them to address service needs in as few clicks and steps as possible. Intelligence and predictability within your service desk software allows you to provide that experience.
There’s no reason to be overwhelmed by today’s expectations. You don’t need engineers to develop AI platforms. You don’t need different service management tools for every department in the organization. If you’re already running with an ITSM strategy, you’re off to a great start. Now you just need to bring those practices to the entire organization. Check out some more resources on how to build these features (such as a robust service catalog, comprehensive knowledge base, and automated ticket routing), with our “Modern ITSM Practices” guide series.
About Matt Cox
Matt leads the sales engineers and support team for SolarWInds ITSM. His team works with customers to create tailored technical solutions for specific business needs. He once went hang gliding off a cliff in Ecuador.
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