Welcome back to this SysAdmin Day + IT service desk lovefest blog! Following on from my previous post – which covered trust (in getting a resolution), incident management effectiveness, major incident magic, seamless service request handling, and better IT asset management – here’s another five reasons why the IT service desk needs to be loved.
6. They Are Very Knowledgeable and Knowledge-Sharing People
Let’s be honest. There isn’t hardware or software in existence that works perfectly 100% of the time and is completely glitch free (plus people will always find a way for it not to work for them). As long as we have IT systems and assets, we’ll need the awesome service desk people to help troubleshoot when things go wrong.
The flipside of the coin is how much an effective IT service desk can empower end users. We’ve all heard the saying that “knowledge is power” and this is something that’s especially pertinent in a service-orientated environment. Having a service desk focused on helping end users means that you have a capability that can be the powerhouse behind a mechanism for helping end users to help themselves via knowledge management. Pointing end users at self-help, be it a quick wiki article on archiving emails or even an FAQ page to guide them through the basics of IT self-help, is a great way to deliver both a better customer experience and to relieve the pressure on the service desk and other IT support personnel.
Try imagining an IT self-help capability without a service desk to design, launch, manage, and nurture it. It probably would never happen, or at least not happen well.
7. They are IT’s Best Communicators
Your first and second line service desk agents spend the day talking to people, which makes them expert communicators. So your service desk should really be the go-to place for information as it acts as the hub of all things IT-related.
Fantastic working relationships, and sometimes business operations, depend on your service desk communicating the right information, at the right time, for the right reason, to the right audience. And by investing in great communication skills (and effectively informing the business of major incidents and planned maintenance windows, as well as updating people on the status of their tickets), you will build a better and more trusting relationship with your customers – a relationship that anyone else in IT would struggle to have (except maybe service delivery managers, service level managers, and business relationship managers).
8. They Are IT’s Poster-Children for Ownership and Accountability
Having a formalized IT service desk in place should mean clearly-defined ownership throughout the entire lifecycle of an incident or service request. It doesn’t matter what the nature of the ticket is, sometimes we can be so focused on fixing the issue that we forget the “basics” – in this case telling the user (or users) where we’re at in terms of a resolution.
Few things are more frustrating to a business user than having to repeatedly chase IT for status updates. So, by having a service desk to own the incident or request – from logging to closure – means that the overall ownership and accountability is assured; and thus negating, or at least reducing, the need for customers to chase IT for information.
Again, creating a feeling of trust in the IT department as a whole (including SysAdmins).
9. They Build, Maintain, and Improve Customer Relationships
I couldn’t write a blog on loving your IT service desk without talking about relationships! One of the most effective ways of turning a customer from a detractor to an advocate is to give them consistently awesome levels of service, even when things go wrong.
Sometimes your service desk won’t be able to fix the end user’s issue immediately but by committing to them in terms of updates, escalations, or estimated delivery times, the overall support experience should be positive, which can only strengthen the relationship between the business users and IT.
10. They Are a Launch Pad for Quality Improvement
By having an IT service desk, you’re demonstrating a commitment to your customers, users, and other business stakeholders. Having a central point of contact for all things IT-related means that support is structured, consistent, and efficient – meaning faster responses, a workforce that can get back up and running quicker, as well as increased satisfaction.
However, the service desk is also perfectly placed to seek feedback through customer satisfaction surveys and other complaints/compliments mechanisms. And analyzing this feedback and building on it means that the service desk can be used as a springboard to get other IT service management (ITSM) best practice processes adopted within your organization. Don’t believe me? Try the following examples on for size:
- No service catalog or just getting started? Guess who knows most, if not all, of the truly business critical services as well as who supports them? That’s right – the service desk!
- Without a problem management process in place, root-cause analysis won’t be prioritized and so the same incidents will recur time and time again. Having a formalized service desk should mean that your analysts will start to recognize repeat offenders and flag the need for an action plan to remove persistent issues.
- By carrying out basic checks when logging an incident or request, not only can the service desk support the IT asset management (ITAM) and configuration management processes, it can also be used as an indicator of unauthorized change.
The service desk is one of the IT department’s most strategic and valuable assets in IT service delivery (and potentially a SysAdmin’s best friend). Your analysts talk to everyone in the business and are potentially experts in everything from tech support to relationship building and communication. Isn’t it about time we all started showing them the love? And whether it’s SysAdmin Day or not?
So that’s my ten reasons why the IT service desk deserves more love from everyone. Happy SysAdmin Day – enjoy the gift of laughter, from all of us at SysAid!!