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5 Tips To Improve Your Service Desk’s Customer Service

By | August 19, 2015 in Service Desk

Service desk customer experience

Sadly, many IT departments don’t see the importance of delivering great customer service to their end users. After all, it’s not as though the end users can leave them for another support provider, right?

Technically this is true, but it’s also wrong… Have you heard of a new-fangled thing called Google? At a recent IT service management (ITSM) conference in London, a great point was made: “No ITSM tool vendor is the leader in providing technology to help solve IT issues. That award goes to Google.” And according to Forrester Research, only 17% of IT issues actually make it to the corporate IT service desk/help desk. So where does the other 83% go?

End Users Have Consumer-Driven Expectations of Support and Can Self-Help

End users are becoming increasingly more tech-savvy and their expectations of IT are increasing daily (to match the service experiences they receive in their personal lives). So why would they want to deal with a potentially unhelpful service desk analyst who doesn’t respond to their ticket for three days, when they can simply type their issue into a search engine (although we don’t actually recommend this) to find a workaround or fix for their issue themselves in mere minutes?

In my opinion, given the continued rise of Shadow IT, personal cloud services, and BYOD, corporate IT departments cannot afford to ignore their end users nor to deliver a bad service experience. So make the most of the opportunity you have right now to improve your service experience before that 17% drops so low that the need for an internal service desk is questioned.

Here are five simple tips to get you thinking about (and hopefully started on) the road to providing a better service experience:

1. Listen

Whether you’re providing internal or external support, the best customer service and service experience comes from those people who spend more time listening than talking. Allow your end users to fully explain why they need help and what makes it so important for their issue to be fixed quickly. After all, just because their IT issue doesn’t seem important to you, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t disruptive and important to them, their working, and possibly a business-critical activity or service. So don’t blindly dive into the resolution script in front of you or prioritize the issue as low for level 2 support – actually listen to what the caller has to say and then act accordingly.

2. Don’t make excuses

The end user doesn’t care whether it’s your fault, his/her fault, your colleague’s fault, or your best friend’s cat’s fault. They just want you to address their issue. So take ownership of the issue, understand why they are frustrated, and don’t be defensive and/or make excuses. As Nike would say “Just do it” in terms of getting things fixed (of course bearing in mind my first tip).

3. Manage expectations

Okay, so it’s not ideal for the caller that you cannot immediately solve their issue, but do you know what is less ideal? Them having to guess when their issue will be fixed. Yes, they might be unhappy with you if you say that it’s going to take three days, but how unhappy are they going to be if you don’t set a resolution timeframe and three days later they have to call you for an update? Always let them know when their issue will be addressed and any reasons for delay – it might be an agreed service level target that says it can take up to three days based on workloads. In my opinion, not managing end user expectations effectively will simply lead to them becoming even more frustrated (and potentially contacting you every few hours for updates – which isn’t a great use of your time, or theirs).

4. Communicate

In line with effectively managing expectations, always keep your end users updated on the status of their incidents. Don’t leave them in the dark; they’re probably not mind readers. Let them know if there is going to be a delay and let them know what you’ve achieved as you go along, ideally via self-service, so that they don’t assume you’re just sitting there doing nothing to help them.

5. Use customer satisfaction surveys

First and foremost, don’t ask for feedback if you’re not going to bother acting on it. If you’re wondering why very few people actually complete your post-service survey, this is probably the reason. No one is going to waste their time giving answers to your questions if they know they’re not going to see any action taken on what they have to say. Make your survey short, and use appropriate questions (I advise checking out the net promoter score and system), and then ensure that you follow up on the answers. Show end users that you’re listening by communicating how you are going to address the highlighted issues, and provide evidence of improvements once completed.

So there you have it, my five quick tips on how to improve your service desk’s customer service and service experience. What do you agree with? What would you change? And what would you add? I’d love to know.

If you’re looking for further advice, then I also recommend looking at the following:

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Sophie Danby

About Sophie Danby

Sophie is a freelance IT service management (ITSM) marketing consultant, helping solution vendors to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. As a vocal and collaborative member of the international ITSM community, you can often find her at global ITSM conferences or engaging in "ITSM chatter" on Twitter. Sophie also previously worked with at SysAid as our VP Marketing.

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