This article is a sequel to “A day in the life of an IT agent” blog that narrates how Andrea, a Tier I IT agent spends her workday, hurdles she faces and how she manages her work diligently to help anyone who approaches her. This blog provides hands-on productivity tips to service desk agents like Andrea to work smarter by simplifying IT Service Management (ITSM) and breaking down silos.
IT agents, the most versatile folks in any organization handle multiple tasks right from fixing a WiFi issue to implementing a new data center. Service desk agent is the single point of contact for any IT or technology related queries and acts as a backbone for smooth business function. However, the way of working and processes followed directly influence their productivity. Sometimes, smaller improvements lead to bigger outcomes.
Let us discuss some hands-on productivity hacks that agents can use in their everyday routine to manage work like a boss and reduce stress.
Use Canned responses & Templates
Agents receive numerous repetitive issues such as network error or password reset. Templates and canned responses help service desk agents to send a quick first response to end users. These templates come handy for agents and reduce redundant activities. This saves time and resource whenever employees raise similar issues or when there is a downtime. Similarly, figure out patterns and similar tickets from the past i.e. WiFi issue reported by multiple employees. Send a single response for all these tickets with the help of bulk action rather than replying individually.
Search Knowledge base
It is recommended to store Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and solutions in a central knowledge base. Search for relevant articles from the knowledge base and send it along with the ticket response to provide a better understanding to the ticket requester. Automation capabilities suggest the right article to end users through smart suggestion. Agents can also contribute to the knowledge base by adding new solutions. Therefore, before breaking your head, make sure to check your knowledge base and share the relevant article to end users. It acts as a central repository for agents to search for available solutions.
Context is King
Context is important to understand the core problem and solve faster. Sometimes, tickets are repetitive and redundant either from the same user or a different user. Doing a quick search and checking the ticket history will provide faster solution. There is no need to reinvent the wheel for which solutions are already available. Ticket history provides requester information such as department, reporting manager, location and past tickets user has raised. Audit logs trace the changes happened within a particular ticket. I.e. who made what changes and when.
Write a detailed transcript or ticket note
After each customer interaction, provide an elaborate note about the issue and if there is any pending task to follow up. This delivers a clear context and a quick brief about the interaction that has happened. This helps other agents to understand quickly when they search for certain solutions. Maintain these notes privately for your own understanding so that end users do not access them. Ticket transfer and reassignment can be handled smoothly when the primary agent provides a clear context within the ticket.
Maintain a personal Kanban board
Kanban board is a management tool to manage work efficiently through visual representation. This classifies your work into different categories such as To do, Work In Progress (WIP) and Done. Prioritization gets easier and constraints if any are identified and removed easily. Visual representation enables faster understanding and quick decision making. Extend Kanban board to the entire team to drive collaboration at work. Workload is distributed among agent groups with the help of kanban board.
Ask for help – Collaborate
How many times have you asked others for help or offered help? Helping peers through collaboration eliminate knowledge silos. Effective team communication creates a better rapport among agent groups. To encourage collaboration among team members, conduct a team huddle everyday to develop the culture and learn from each other. This fosters a sense of ownership and takes the ‘boring’ out of IT through motivation & learning. This enables proactive service management and resolves complex issues easily. Ensure that your service desk solution has enough rooms to collaborate.
It is not always the process or technology that leads to productivity improvement. Therefore, management should leverage agents’ strengths and channelize them in improving business innovation. It is in our hands to build an agent powerhouse who go out of the mile to solve business problems and create customer service excellence.
Design & Illustrations by Srinivas