From pitch perfect to continual service improvement

How to Crush Service Desk Complaints by Boosting Your Capabilities with Continual Service Improvement

Long blog title, I know, but hopefully it got your attention. You might be thinking “IT service desk complaints and continual service improvement…I thought that continual service improvement is for improving the important stuff?” I’ll pretend that you didn’t think that about IT support and I’ll carry on like the trouper I am…

Picture this: you’re a singer in a band and you’re on stage with your group at a reality TV show audition, hitting every note in harmony. Pitch perfect.

Then bam! One “off key” note – you hear the deep intake of breath from the audience and you know it’s all over. Cue the judges’ buzzers and your collective dream is over, well at least for now. The 0.1% ruined what had been achieved in the 99.9% of pitch-perfectness. But you still know that you have what it takes to be successful, but there are always these unwanted off notes that kill your performance. So how can you prevent that 0.1%? How can you be more successful?

… And Back to the Service Desk

Your company’s IT service desk is like a finely-tuned team of professionals singing for survival. Every day is full of challenges – if you hit the right notes, quickly solving end users’ issues, nobody notices. If one of you hits a bum note, where the end user is less than happy, then it sadly over shadows all the good you have previously done. Unfortunately, service desks might get complaints but they rarely engender compliments – it’s all brickbats and very few bouquets.

So how can you crush your service desk complaints and keep your customers happy?

You could slowly address the issues that are complained about as they arise, or you could take a more proactive approach. One where the service desk team “regroups,” evaluates its purpose, capabilities, and performance and then puts a plan in place to improve. You can do this by going through the five stages of the ITIL continual service improvement (CSI) cycle to understand what is wrong and how best to change it:

  1. What is the vision?

Vision and business objectives

Don’t craft your IT service management (ITSM) and service desk strategy in isolation. Revisit your business and IT requirements and strategically align your service desk strategy with these needs. Look at your organization’s vision, mission, strategy, objectives, and goals so you can craft a plan that works in harmony to directly support it. And don’t be sucked into doing what everyone else is doing – just because “it’s what most companies do” it doesn’t mean that it’s best for yours.

  1. Where are we now?


Find the most common complaints and systematically get to the root causes of what’s holding your service desk back from consistently hitting the right notes. Review your performance by assessing your current processes, organization, technology capabilities, and people (staff skillset). Hopefully this will help you to discover the main causes of your service desk complaints so you can start to work on rectifying the issues, putting a plan in place to implement the required improvements. It will also provide you with a benchmark or baseline against which to measure any improvements you make. 

  1. Where do we want to be?

Measure targets

Agree on the service level requirements of the business or organization. Then set your SMART objectives, ensuring that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific. And don’t forget to ensure that you are in tune with your business and IT strategy while deciding on your targets. 

  1. How do we get there?

Process improvement or re-engineering

Develop a detailed improvement plan to keep you in key and on track to deliver against your objectives. Identify and agree upon priorities and available budgets through the use of the MoSCoW technique. Use your improvement plan to guide you through the required changes to boost your processes, service desk organization, tool, and staff capabilities. 

  1. Did we get there?

Measurement and metrics

Measure your performance by collecting relevant metrics after implementing the changes, to demonstrate how you have achieved your desired objectives. Metrics that you should consider will relate to service, process, and technology. Continue to monitor and report on your metrics to validate and justify your improvement action plan.

So you can systematically crush customer complaints by boosting your service desk capabilities, across multiple dimensions, via the CSI cycle. I’d love to know if you’ve already done this.

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Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).

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