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There’s a new term that’s popped up and worth investigation: going ticketless. It begs for some investigation, as it sounds like the days before help desks, when customer calls were jotted down on yellow pads or stickie notes, with no accountability. In reality, it’s almost the exact opposite of these archaic practices and is an innovative concept of support.
Going ticketless is the ability to fully support users without them having to call a service desk or log a ticket. This means all service interruptions are fixed without any customer interruption and that customers can get answers and how-to instructions from a knowledge base, all eliminating the need to call a service desk. If an organization could achieve this, it would be considered quite an achievement. But is it possible?
Looking at changes in support over the years, internal IT organizations could learn a lot from service providers, who have a much higher bar when it comes to delivering support and for whom the ticketless concept pays off in increased customer satisfaction and retention. Even in internal IT however, increased satisfaction is tied to fewer service interruptions and less loss of productivity.
There are several new capabilities that best-of-breed service providers are starting to leverage:
When contrasted with many internal IT organizations, service providers are more mature in almost all of these areas and often offer one or two additional services that make it even easier for customers to avoid logging tickets:
All of these solutions demonstrate an innovative approach that virtually eliminates the need for a customer to log a ticket and wait for service, while most internally provided support is still centered around logging service desk tickets and waiting for service. Often it appears to be a result of resources—the funding for tools to perform these tasks and the time/commitment to implement the solutions. The traditional approach is not scalable, however, and with more and more technology at the center of business, a new approach is needed.
True ticketless support may never be possible for internal support as consumers will always seek some form of personalized support. (Software and app companies, on the other hand, have achieved 100% ticketless support, mainly by not offering telephone support at all. They monitor their SaaS environment heavily and offer only knowledge and chat bot support via websites. This is especially true of services offered for free or very low cost.) However, with a goal of going ticketless, an organization can shift from providing a majority of support via a service desk to delivering a high percentage of support through a service portal, having people use the service desk as a channel of last resort.
The initiative to go ticketless will drive development of support resources in several areas:
It should be noted that many of the options listed above do not mean no tickets. Monitoring systems will generate tickets to service management platforms to have services restored, and self-help tools should still log incidents for the issues people get fixed. Both of these support incident and problem management activities. The distinction is that even when a ticket is logged through automation, it’s not a consumer calling the service desk or logging a ticket through the portal.
The work being done to go ticketless improves support in organizations even if the service desk is still receiving calls. It’s actually an outcome of a shift-left initiative when achieved. Conceptually, both ticketless and shift-left seek to put the end-user first and deliver support in the least expensive manner, through early detection and self-service.
You need to make an investment to achieve the areas called out. But these are investments with a valuable return, primarily in money saved and employee retention.
There’s also a qualitative benefit to doing this work. When business satisfaction with IT is high, IT begins to be looked at as a partner in the business and the business has confidence in IT’s abilities, opening up opportunities to do more with innovative technology at the business level.
Phyllis Drucker is an ITIL® certified consultant and information leader at Linium, a Ness Digital Engineering Company. Phyllis has more than 20 years of experience in the disciplines and frameworks of IT service management, as both a practitioner and consultant. She has served HDI since 1997 and itSMF USA since 2004 in a variety of capacities including speaker, writer, local group leader, board member, and operations director. Since 1997, Phyllis has helped to advance the profession of ITSM leaders and practitioners worldwide by providing her experience and insight on a wide variety of ITSM topics through presentations, whitepapers, and articles and now her new book on the service request catalog, Online Service Management: Creating a Successful Service Request Catalogue (International Best Practice). Follow Phyllis on Twitter @msitsm.
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