With the explosion of social media in recent years, it was only a matter of time before people started combining ITSM and social media into the IT help desk equivalent of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. (“Hey, you got your ITSM in my social media!” “You got your social media in my ITSM!”).
Social media isn’t going away, and adapting to this reality is actually a terrific opportunity to turn social media into a great IT Help Desk tool.
Integrating social media with the IT Help Desk may or may not be appropriate to your company’s culture, but even if you’re in a very buttoned-up industry, you shouldn’t discount social ITSM until you check out all the potential advantages. Here are five of them.
Note: “Deploy Social Media” key may not be present on some keyboards.
1. It provides another contact channel for support requests, including mobile access.
When your IT help desk software integrates add-ons that allow social software tools, you extend your access and allow end users to have more ways of initiating support requests. If nothing else, you add convenience, which can be very important to an end user who is probably already frustrated. You can also give end users the capability to search your support group for previous issues, where they may be able to solve their problem without ever having to submit a service ticket.
2. Social ITSM allows IT help desk workers and end users to collaborate through comments.
This can be a real time saver. For example, suppose Jane in Purchasing started using a new software package last week, experienced a problem, and got help from the help desk. If she notices that Ron from two aisles over has just asked for help with the same problem via the social ITSM app, she can chime in with a comment: “Ron, all you have to do is change the permission on the setup page. I had the same problem last week.”
3. Social ITSM helps end users feel they’re being heard.
This is a great way to reduce the frustration that comes from end users who wonder whether the help ticket they submitted was received, or if it’s being ignored. If many people experience the same problem, the help desk can put out a mass response, like, “We know that a lot of people in the graphics department are experiencing problems with the software upgrade. We are working on the problem and promise another status update before lunch.”
4. Social ITSM can be a good tool for intelligence gathering.
Monitoring your social IT Help Desk, you will really get a feel for what people are saying, for good or for ill, about help desk operations. While you don’t want to use your social ITSM as a way of spying on what the civilians are up to, it’s good to find out what you’re doing that works, and what you could be doing better. In fact, why not use your social ITSM app to run ideas up the flagpole on occasion, like so: “We are thinking about changing help desk hours to start at 8:00 rather than 8:30. Any thoughts on this?”
5. It helps balance out what can be an asymmetrical relationship between IT help desk workers and the rest of the organization.
This is a polite way of saying that it shows IT workers are humans too. A lot of time when end users contact you, they’re already frustrated, and they may be worried about missing deadlines or letting someone else down. When they see that you do respond to comments and questions (and maybe see your adorable face on your profile picture), it helps create a sense of connection.
In fact, building a community is perhaps the biggest benefit of social IT Help Desk. Social media tends to be self-organizing, building connections between departments and individuals. You’ll probably begin to notice a few “super users” on the app after awhile. These users can be useful to you, helping you learn how people feel about using social ITSM, services they wish were offered, what you’re doing that works well, and where the help desk may need to improve.
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