9 Tactics to Streamline and Improve Your Service Desk
The rapid shift to a dispersed workforce requires that IT service and support teams up their game to deal with the increase in tickets. Here are some concrete ideas for how to improve day-to-day operations with a remote workforce in mind.
Remote work has become the norm for teams of all sizes. Before the cultural shift to remote work in 2020, it was estimated that more than 52 percent of global workers were telecommuting at least once a week, with that number only climbing in 2021.
The rise in remote work has created a major push for digital transformation and a modernized service desk, but beyond that it has created a chain reaction. More people working remotely means more knowledge-sharing software, video conferencing software, and portable hardware This, in turn, has led to an inevitable rise in calls to the service desk.
Because of this rapid change and rise in tickets, IT teams may find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water.
Here are some tips for improving efficiency and empowering your service desk:
- Implement self-service software to boost efficiency and communication. Self-service technology has become a staple of the service desk because of its ability to boost shift-left initiatives, which take the pressure off of the service desk. This technology is also a game-changer for a remote workforce because it can help create stronger and more streamlined communication through knowledge management.
- Set clear goals and KPIs for self-service. More often than not, you will set clear goals for the IT support team, but measuring the usage and success of your self-service portal is equally important. These goals should be based on a mix of user adoption rates, cost analysis, success rate, failure rate, speed, and success of level-0 support. Creating a strategy for these metrics in self-service can help ensure that your self-service portal is being used properly to reduce the number of calls to the service desk, ultimately reducing the workload on the service desk agents.
- Consider the knowledge database and create a strategy to update knowledge articles. Your agents and employees can no longer simply turn around to ask their coworkers a question, which places a lot more emphasis on the need for the knowledge management database to be correct and up to date. You can also allow users to create their own suggested changes in your knowledge database, making each piece of stored data a more living and evolving knowledge base.
- Define everything. As you create your knowledge base or add new pieces, it’s important to clearly define parameters for any data being entered. You must have a level of consistency in your self-service initiatives so that the end user can understand how to troubleshoot their own tasks before involving the service desk. Assume the reader has only surface-level knowledge of anything and create knowledge and workflows that anyone can follow, keeping in mind that when inaccurate data is entered, inaccurate results will be given.
- Embrace automation and AITSM, such as a chatbot or intuitive AI, which can free up the help desk to support the higher-level issues by automating the repetitive or redundant tasks. You should also consider utilizing a chatbot to support AITSM initiatives, which can be made even more efficient with Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. The core of this tactic is to think of anything that can be automated or has some level of automation already, and understand which solution from your ITSM vendor can help implement that automation.
- Create a balance between automation and human interaction. We’ve seen that people prefer human interaction when possible; 56 percent of all IT managers say that human interaction is still important to resolve IT needs. To effectively support a remote workforce, where people may be more likely to miss that interactive element, you must strike a balance between automation or access to self-help with human availability. To strike this balance, think of how you can create options to meet people where they are. For example, consider implementing a chatbot which leads to a live agent who can finish the support interaction, or consider allowing customers to enter their own tickets while still encouraging some formal interaction from the service desk once the ticket is being worked.
- Route tickets to the right people with automated workflows. This means assigning projects to each member of the support desk based on their unique skills, location, and availability. For example, if you are implementing new software, assign the project to those who excel at understanding new software and who have the bandwidth to take on the project in the region where it is being used the most.
- Prioritize ongoing education and learning. Although it seems counterintuitive to take members of the IT team offline for additional education and certification, it can actually lead to a more efficient team, as everyone is up to date on the latest technologies. When you prioritize training and certifications, you will be able to ensure that each agent is able to help with a wider variety of tasks. This is a great rule of thumb for both remote, hybrid, and fully on-site teams.
- Stay agile. Agility at the service desk used to fall into the “nice-to-have” category. But post-pandemic, it is a must-have. An agile service desk will be able to navigate changes, adapt quickly, tweak procedures as needed, and provide excellent service.
The IT Service Desk is no stranger to change, and as the workforce shifts and changes from fully remote to hybrid, or stays remote completely, staying on top of emerging technology and modernizing your service desk can have lasting benefits.