10 things you need to stop doing in your service desk

The purpose of your service desk is to support business processes, deliver what the business demands and to make your employees’ lives easier.  When deploying a service desk, we usually obsess over nailing the bigger and obvious goals – asset management, change management. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But in the rush to look at the bigger picture, we overlook the little things that matter. The little, important things that can make or break even the best-laid plans and projects.

Which is why we came up with this list of the 10 things you need to stop doing in your service desk.

Go blindly with ITIL

ITIL is a framework. It is not a set of rules or a collection of laws that has to be strictly followed. What works for one company may not work for another. What is important in one organization may not be as important in another.  Which is why simply setting up ITIL and following the processes blindly will get you nowhere. Implementing & using ITIL in an organization should complement business goals and organizational culture. 

Taking all metrics to heart
To paraphrase Orwell, all metrics are equal, but some metrics are more equal than the rest. Every organization has unique requirements and variable business goals.  This means that the relevant metrics for these different organizations are just as variable. For example, First Call Resolution is a great metric but using it as an indicator of customer happiness is plain misleading. The key is to understand your real requirements, define your goals and then identify the right metrics for you.

Use excessive jargon


If a customer is asking for a password reset, you don’t go into the technical details, do you? You tell them how to change it. Because the details that matter to you don’t matter to the customer. He just needs a password reset. Which is exactly why the service desk must talk the language the user understands; it is the interface between your team & customers. Using needless jargon in the service desk helps no one.

Have similar SLAs for all business units
A support team does not have the same SLAs as a marketing team. Everything in a service desk is quite variable – depending on the circumstances. Which is why using the same SLAs for two different policies is almost criminal. The ideal thing to do would be to sit down with the stakeholders, involve them in the decision-making process and then decide what is right for them. Simply put, you can’t design something for people if you don’t know what they want in the first place.

Not getting the word out
Your service desk is just another product that needs to be marketed in the right way. So if you deploy a feature and just expect people to start using it from day one, with no persuasion, you might end up a little disappointed. You need to educate your customers about the new developments, establish the value delivered by the new features and most importantly empower your customers with powerful self-service tools so they can explore and use new features with minimal assistance.

Build and Forget
Your service desk is about the journey and not the destination. There’s no end to the implementation itself and there’s always room for improvement. Every feature and SLA can and should be continuously reviewed and updated. This continual improvement will make sure that the evolution of your service desk never stops.

Not Communicate
This might sound painfully obvious, but you can’t work in customer support and slip up on the communication. Always keep your customers in the loop. Tell them the whats, whys, and whens. Even if it’s bad news. Especially if it’s bad news. Your customers always deserve to know exactly what is going on.

Uninspiring Design
Your customers are used to modern apps and engaging UIs. They’re constantly plugged in and surrounded by great design. They’ve got pretty high standards. So don’t give them a service desk that looks like it was built in the 80’s; it’s no longer sufficient to be just functional. Your customers deserve a service desk that’s engaging, attractive, easy to use AND provides great support. Nothing short of that will do.

You’re in this business to make your customers’ lives easier. And unnecessary red tape in your service desk has just the opposite effect. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to completely forgo all the paperwork either. The key is to find a balance and make sure that no process is more complicated than it needs to be. Let’s just put it this way: if using your service desk actually makes something harder for your customers, you’re completely missing the point.

Stop having fun
Finally, the absolute worst thing you can do in your service desk is to stop having fun. You’re here to support your customers and solve their problems. And the minute you let that get monotonous and boring, it’s service desk death. Customer support isn’t exactly lion taming. But there’s no reason it shouldn’t be just as exciting. Seek out innovative ways to keep your agents motivated and engaged. Transform IT support into an adventure quest. When each resolved incident is a level up the leaderboard and each satisfied customer is a bonus point, all you have to do is sit back and watch your service desk race ahead.

If you’ve got a few ‘service desk don’ts’  that you’d like to add to the list, do tell us in the comments below.