What is value? Value is often confused with price, but price is only part of the value equation. Value equals benefits divided by the price. Too often, businesses try to quantify things that aren’t quantifiable — such as the benefits offered by a well-planned, high-functioning IT service desk.
How can you precisely quantify happy customers who wouldn’t dream of doing business with another company? How do you quantify satisfied employees, who have a vested interest in your business’ success and work diligently to improve operations and customer satisfaction every day? In order to realize the potential value of the service desk, it’s important to know that value is always value — even when there isn’t a metric assigned to measure it. Here’s how your company can get the best value from the costs of running the service desk.
How Insourcing the Service Desk Produces Value
For decades, the trend in IT was to outsource service desk operations. Another company, often in another country, employed workers to answer service calls. These companies, not to mention their employees, had no first-hand knowledge of the business, no personal interest in its success or failure, and often lacked the linguistic skills to understand customers’ questions or complaints, let alone address them adequately.
Today, forward-thinking companies are reversing this trend. An in-house IT staff is a part of the business, sharing facilities, meetings, and experiences. As the service desk becomes an active, engaged part of the business, they can better understand the goals and needs of the business, thereby communicating the company’s position accurately to the customers.
The value is multi-fold: customers actually feel a connection to the business, miscommunication is drastically reduced, and customer satisfaction levels improve radically. Now it’s easier to quantify the benefits in relation to the costs, giving the company a better idea of the value the service desk provides.
How a Knowledge Base Can Produce Value
When IT professionals are relegated to answering mundane questions like how to clear cache or how to use the basic functions of Microsoft Office, there isn’t much value provided to the organization. Any users manual can offer this information for far less than an employee’s salary and benefits cost.
Building a knowledge base frees service desk workers from these mundane issues, giving customers faster and easier access to the information they need without calling for assistance. Now that these simple, repetitive issues no longer command the lion’s share of service desk time and effort, these professionals are freed to deal with higher-level issues. IT can now focus on building technologies that improve operations and foster better relationships with customers.
Automation is a huge benefit in this. As more of the mundane problems are solved automatically through ITSM software, IT workers have more time to develop better ways of doing things and improve the internal processes that often lead to downtime, bottlenecks, and snags in the flow of business.
Though standard operational guidelines, such as ITIL and COBIT, are often criticized for not being supported by empirical evidence of their benefits, the concept of a generalized knowledge base is well supported by the obvious fact that the more tasks that are streamlined and put on autopilot, the more time highly-paid IT professionals can spend on other issues. Making things work faster, easier, and cheaper is the very essence of providing value to an organization.
How Better Customer Feedback Can Produce Value
The old model of sending out customer satisfaction emails produces untimely, unhelpful data. Most of the time, the only customers who bother with these are the few who are furious and want someplace to vent. These rarely represent an accurate cross-section of customer experiences.
Customer feedback models like those employed by Amazon, Uber, and Trip Advisor are bringing the entire practice to new levels. This model of feedback is timely and produces accurate results that can be used to improve service desk performance immediately. Not only does this feedback benefit the work at the service desk, it can be used to improve operations as a whole. Customer feedback can be leveraged to improve product development, production, pricing, warranties and guarantees, distribution models, billing, and a host of other internal processes.
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