What Makes an Amazing Service Desk Manager

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

An IT Service Desk’s success is dependent on the abilities of the one who manages it. An IT Service Desk Manager often wears different hats to drive the success of the overall IT team. An IT Service Desk Manager is responsible for a wide gamut of responsibilities including technical and people skills although people management skill is more crucial to becoming a successful leader. Service Desk Manager shares his vision with the team and drives everyone to work towards a common goal.

Example – Service Desk Manager Job Description

  • Act as a subject matter expert and provide technical assistance
  • Manage all the service desk related activities to achieve business goals
  • Set up and manage end to end Service Desk processes and workflows
  • Escalation point to handle all customer grievances
  • Align Service Desk activities with industry standard or framework such as ITIL
  • Present periodic reports to the management on Service Desk performance
  • Manage Service Desk supervisors and admins
  • Ensure Service Level Agreements are consistent
  • Customer relationship management and build a good rapport with other functions
  • Mentor team members to play as one team

Let us look at the different faces of a Service Desk Manager!


Service Desk Manager acts as a liaison between the management and Service Desk team. He communicates the individual’s role clearly and drives everyone to work towards one goal. Service Desk Manager is great at context switching as he juggles among different stakeholders such as customers, management, and own team members. The Service Desk Manager follows different communication styles with respective stakeholders. For example, speak IT jargon with the team and use business language while interacting with the management. A Service Desk Manager: 

  • Communicates the roles and responsibilities of the team clearly
  • Is empathetic and a great listener
  • Translates customers’ requirements to the team
  • Convinces the management of any new Service Desk tool purchases
  • Set the expectations right with a clear communication process

According to an SDI Benchmarking report, Leadership skill has remained as the most important skill for Service Desk Managers to progress (76%), followed by communication (36%)


Data Source: SDI Benchmarking report  


A Service Desk team receives a lot of stressful and ad-hoc tasks on a day to day basis. Technical and emotional intelligence is crucial for the team to handle different kinds of users.

“An SDM acts as a coach who trains every team member to play to their strengths”

Before assigning tasks to every member, the SDM analyzes their strengths and weaknesses. Train every individual to handle stress and customer frustrations. A Service Desk Manager:

  • Assigns the right job to the right people
  • Performs SWOT analysis for the team
  • Acts as a visionary and leads the team
  • Shares success stories and inspires the team to deliver a great experience
  • Thinks beyond metrics
  • Provides continuous feedback to every user by finding time
  • Develops a holistic skill development & training programme


Service Desk Manager becomes a facilitator to develop the right attitude amongst his team. ‘Leading by Example’ is true for every Service Desk Manager. They walk the talk and motivate others to follow. Service Desk performance is mostly measured by conventional metrics that miss out intrinsic factors. A Service Desk Manager inspires other members to think beyond IT and strives for organizational development. A Service Desk Manager:

  • Creates a great work culture in the team
  • Supports and motivates team members to enjoy their work
  • Creates a sense of achievement by rewarding great performance
  • Appreciates and celebrates small wins of team members
  • Sets up relevant KPIs such as XLA, CSAT etc.

Many businesses conduct staff morale surveys to find out how motivated everyone is on the team. Based on the SDI Benchmarking report, the percentage of service desk carrying out regular staff morale surveys has increased by 31%.  


Data Source: SDI Benchmarking report

Voice of Customer, VoC

Customer relationship is crucial to tailor your Service Desk to meet customer needs. Service Desk success relies on customer satisfaction and therefore, aligning every activity towards meeting customer goals. SDM drives the “Customer first” attitude and maintains a good rapport with Service Desk customers/end users. In most cases, customers are internal employees who access the Service Desk as the first point of contact to report any technical issue. A Service Desk Manager:

  • Acts as a customer representative in any team meetings
  • Responsible for marketing the Service Desk to customers & improve adoption
  • Handles escalations from customers and delivers a great customer experience
  • Measures CSAT as a key metric in order to improve the overall service experience


The role of a Service Desk Manager is crucial for the overall IT function success. Service Desk is the face of the IT team and therefore, this directly impacts end-user experience. As discussed above, People management skills are more important for Service Desk Managers to become great leaders. Ensure the right mix of skills while recruiting Service Desk Managers.

Service Desk Managers are great communicators, coaches, motivators and they are the Voice of Customer (VoC). Click To Tweet

Cover illustration by Sharmila Prabhakaran