5 Tips for Making Service Desk Life Better

In the previous blogs, we looked into the frustrations with service desk and IT service management (ITSM) tools, tips for ITSM tool selection, and tips for choosing the right ITSM tool vendor. Here, I look into three more pertinent questions from the SDI survey about the service desk life and present 5 actionable tips on how we can make it better.

In your daily service desk life, what causes you the most pain?

In the recent SDI survey, respondents were asked to select five service desk pain-causing options from a list. But please note that in 2012, respondents were given only three selections so it makes it impossible to directly compare, percentage-wise, the responses from the two years. slide25 Source: SDI Report, Life on the Service Desk

As you can see, we have reporting at the top of the pile, closely followed by outdated or complicated service desk tool, i.e. that the tool makes service desk life harder than it needs to be.

The issues with ITSM tool reporting capabilities are nothing new. However, “outdated service desk tool” is now at a crazy 50%, i.e. that one out of every two respondents feels as though their ITSM tool is making their life more difficult. Not to mention that low self-service adoption is becoming a bigger problem now at 42% when it wasn’t such an issue in 2012 when we were merely dipping our toe in the self-service water.

During the past year, has life on your service desk improved, become more difficult, or stayed the same?

Life on the service deskSource: SDI Report, Life on the Service Desk

For 2015, it’s not great that 23% of respondents think that life on the service desk has gotten worse. And it’s difficult to understand why… beyond the already covered areas. I can’t help think that there are many other factors in play here – such as high staff turnover, increasing work volumes, workplace stress, and low morale. It’s a survey in itself.

During the last 12 months, where has your service desk spent most of its time?

Here, respondents were asked to select all the options that applied to them from a pre-defined list.

Life on the service desk Source: SDI Report, Life on the Service Desk

As you can see, the top two activities are unchanged from 2012 – fire-fighting and implementing new processes. But did implementing the new processes actually make any difference if fire-fighting is still top? There are also two new entries in the top five – struggling with the current service desk, or ITSM, tool and struggling with self-service adoption.

So what can companies do to make 2017 different to 2015, 2012, and probably all the years in between?

5 Tips for Making Service Desk Life Better

  1. Question whether implementing new processes is making enough of a difference. Maybe it’s better to improve on what’s already in place rather than adding something new? So definitely start with what needs to improve rather than a list of new things to be started.
  2. Focus operational improvements on “working smarter, not harder” – especially through the use of automation, self-service, and knowledge management. Let’s try to limit fire-fighting by freeing up time for preventative work.
  3. Quantify the all-in cost of staying with a service desk, or ITSM, tool that impedes operational performance. Question the operational inefficiencies, adverse business impacts, and the opportunity costs of staying with the wrong tool just to save on licensing costs (and perhaps to avoid change).
  4. Propose service desk change based on better outcomes rather than just the changing inputs (across people, process, and technology), i.e. “we need to reduce incident handling times because of x and y” versus “we need a new tool for incident management.” This will not only offer scope for happier customers but also for feeling greater achievement.
  5. Up self-service adoption by:
  • Investing in better knowledge management. And realizing that, while it’s about the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge, it also requires cultural change to be truly effective.
  • Offering choice. Recognize that self-service isn’t going to be the best solution for end users all of the time. Instead, self-service should be offered as just one of many available access and communication channels.
  • Supporting mobile access to self-service capabilities. Sadly, access to corporate mobile-app-based self-service capabilities is not as prevalent as online self-service portals.
  • Recognizing the difference between UI and user experience (UX). If end users find self-service capabilities intuitive and easy to use, then they will most likely use them again (and again).
  • Using fit-for-purpose technology. Given the rise of consumerization, i.e. bringing our personal-life experiences and expectations into the workplace, it’s worth looking for a tool that caters to the “Google generation.”  

Hopefully, you found these tips helpful for making your service desk life better. If you did, you might like to:

  • Watch an on-demand webinar taking you through the survey results