Think hard about what your IT Service Desk serves up

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It’s not that long ago that a jar of instant coffee, an underpowered kettle and a shelf full of more or less clean mugs were still being passed off as adequate ‘through the day’ support for an organisation to provide in order to help its ‘users’ battle their way through a hard pressed working day.

For Users requiring 2nd line support to keep body and soul together, an area of Formica topped tables, a couple of in-house catering assistants and a range of third-party sandwiches and cupcakes, and the job was just about taken care of.

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Fast forward just a few short years. Nespresso machines with latte pods every few metres. Fruit bowls and cookie jars alongside printers and copiers. Continuously restocked kitchen zones offering cereals, pastries, and avocados without limit. Refreshment areas that echo the relaxed, healthy informality of contemporary coffee shops and health food restaurants.

The reason for this transformational upgrading to End User refreshment support over the last decade?

Consumer expectation.

In the age of Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Costa, Pret and a plethora of pleasant and interesting cafes and pop-ups, the expectations of ‘business users’ as to what in-house ‘support’ should comprise have rocketed. As a result, organisations that want to keep their users happy, fed, watered… and productive have had to upgrade their in-house provision to echo the standards of an everyday consumer experience.

Coffee and IT Support are not so very different 

Although at first glance, the analogy may seem strained, on closer inspection it’s far from so.

The consumerisation of everyday tech hardware and cloud based services has been so far reaching and well-delivered by the Apples, Googles, Amazons and others, that we’re all now used to systems that let us find and download our apps with a single click; automatically pushed and deployed updates; easy to use, friendly web interfaces; and cloud-based mobile apps that deliver genius hacks to help with previously tiresome details of everyday life.

The challenge for business Service Desks and Support teams, and for the organisations providing them and who’s users rely on them, is that these ‘consumerised’ expectations have reset the user expectation of what a decent Service Desk experience should feel like.

The dangers of failing to rethink your Service Desk

We at Plan-Net have more visibility than most of the change in user expectations of the Service Desk, and the varying quality of organisational response.

Providing full Service Desk support, as well as a portfolio of flexible End-User support augmentation options, to a wide range of law firms, financial and other professional services firms, we are acutely aware of the dangers consumerised expectations pose to IT Service Desks that are not positioned to meet them effectively.

It does not take long for end-user dissatisfaction with a ‘like it’s always been’ Service Desk offer to fester.

Alongside this, where organisations and their Service Desks have made little or no effort to promote mainstream and now generally well-established IT self-service initiatives, they have been unable to benefit from the associated efficiencies of reduced workload. This, more often than not, means they have also been unable to evolve the skill sets of their Service Desk analysts towards those required for a more consumer-focused model.

Improving Service Desk efficiency and End-User satisfaction

For any organisation yet to re-engineer its Service Desk to meet the expectations and needs of today’s users and open up the overhead reductions that come from increasing the adoption of self-service support tools, there are learnings to be had from the experiences of others.

All such plans must be built around evaluation and evolution of your Service Desk analyst. It’s ultimately by developing the skills and attributes of your analysts, and then reorganising your service based upon your ‘new style’ analyst, that the perceived value of IT to your organisation at large can be reinvigorated.

We believe there are 8 core tactics to deploy to provide both your users and the business with the full benefits of a modern, sustainable, ‘consumerised’ Service Desk offer.

  • Identify the difference in skills, attributes and technology expertise between your current Service Desk Analysts, and those that would be required to deliver a true, present day service equipped to deal with today’s platforms, devices, business usage, work patterns and END-USER user behaviours and expectations.
  • Obtain solid buy-in for, and build excitement about the potential of, your Service Desk vision, ensuring the Service Desk, IT and the organisation all understand its skills and operations aspects.
  • Use the proven wins, like reduced levels of Service Desk analyst turnover, and increased End-User productivity, to secure robust and ongoing investment in training, development and technology enablement.
  • Look at the introduction of hybrid support roles, that sit somewhere between 1st and 2nd line, and which can bridge skill-sets and functional gaps to improve the efficiency of your Service Desk and quickly lift user satisfaction.
  • Make sure that routine IT issues and service requests are properly and effectively automated, and give your users the power that very many of them want most - to help themselves and each other - with imaginative new approaches to self-service.
  • Carry out surveys and focus groups amongst staff to help you gain a proper understanding of the role that shadow IT support is playing in the organisation.
  • Identify your organisation’s superusers and individual subject-matter experts, and through them try to build a proper understanding of the peer-to-peer support activity.
  • Build or adopt a platform that will enable you to bring end-user, peer-to-peer support into the fold of your IT Support strategy. This should place emphasis on process and policy development that relate specifically to usage within your organisation.

Getting expert help

Being expert providers of Service Desk support, Plan-Net is short on neither experience nor ideas on how to engineer and resource Service Desk offers to meet the expectations of today’s comfort-demanding End-Users.

If you’d like to talk any of this over with us, get in touch.

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Pete Canavan
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