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By | April 7, 2014 in ITSM

Help Desk Institute Conference 2014

The long hours and back pains notwithstanding, I have to say that HDI 2014 was a magnificent conference with terrific content, amazing folks, and a whole lot of fun and laughs along the way. I talked about some of that in my previous blog; here’s a continuation with more highlights from Thursday and Friday.

Highlights of Sessions

Randi Zuckerberg – Inside the Mind of the Modern Customer

The Thursday morning keynote was about the future of technology - from Google Glass to self-driving cars. Who would’ve thought 10 years ago that we’d have Facebook or iPhones for that matter?

We asked 20 people in our office what technology invention they’d like to see in 10 years’ time and got an array of responses, such as:

  • Google Glass in mass production
  • Getting rid of the keyboard, mouse, and screen - Google Glass can replace the screen and voice should replace keyboard
  • Hologram presentations
  • Flying cars
  • Time travel, and teleporting
  • More advanced wearable technology
  • Muting device for your spouse (!)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Integration of all household and office electronic devices
  • Technology that provides outdoor light inside the home, even when windows are not accessible

We heard Patrick Bolger say that if there will be the possibility of inserting a chip to your brain, he is the first one to sign up. Can you just imagine what life for the service desk will be when people start getting chips inside their heads and then IT needs to support THAT software/hardware? Oh my.

Tell us – what would you like to see in the future? Let us know here.

Roy Atkinson - Daddy, Where Do Metrics Come From?

The answer to the question in the title: "Well, son, when a business and success decide that they truly love each other..." J

In Roy’s session, we learned that the top factors influencing support center spending in 2013 were:

  • Support business growth
  • Improve customer service
  • Improve effectiveness
  • Improve efficiency
  • Reduce costs
  • Expand services

Your metrics need to align with these factors to demonstrate the value IT provides to the business in all of these areas.

Roy then offered advice on how to approach this:

  1. Start with the goal and work backwards
  2. Break the tasks down into measurable chunks
  3. Decide which metrics fit
  4. Track the metrics over time

He also went onto stress that it’s not the metrics that are the goal. The goal is to get solutions to the customers more quickly.

We agree completely with what Roy says, and we take it a step further. We believe you need to have a baseline to compare yourself to other organizations in a similar industry, otherwise how do you know what is good enough. Also, you cannot work on everything all at once. Decide on two metrics that you want to improve, work on those, and then move on to others.

The first question Roy posed to the audience was, "How many of you have made any major changes to your metrics in the last year?"

The question was met with blank faces, to which Roy responded with "Oh dear".

Looks like the majority need some help. Sarah Lahav wrote a series of blogs on IT benchmarks, one of them about incident categories. She recommends you check how many categories you have officially set on your service desk versus how many are actually used. Chances are you’ll find that around 75% of your categories are never used, which means your category classification is too complex. Want to speed things up? Simplify your incident classification categories.

Sarah Stealey Reed - Analyst Productivity and Efficiency in the Multichannel Support Center

Sarah Stealey Reed from the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) presented some truly interesting stats:

  • Voice is still the preferred route to the support center for the following reasons:

    • Most convenient
    • Fastest response time
    • Easiest to use
    • Most thorough answer
    • Most accurate answer
  • 34% of service centers say that mutlichannel agents require more training
  • 64% of support analysts don't know when a customer has tried self-service and then opted for a live analyst

Favorite quote: "Happy agents make happy customers."

You need to understand where your customers are, where they will be, and where they should be. There is no point rolling out another channel of support if your customers aren't going to use it. Just because someone else is doing it doesn't necessarily mean that you should be doing it.

As far as offering multichannel support, SysAid advises that you make sure that every channel interaction, no matter which channel, is translated to an incident. It should all be the same process regardless of how the customer contacts your service desk. Phone, chat, email, internal portal, etc - capture the channel that the customer originated from and use the same process for all the different channels.

The Exhibition

The final part of the exhibition took place on Thursday, with everybody in a mad dash to get their hands on our All Essentials bag before they were all gone. They really were a hit and we're already working on swag ideas for future events. We even took suggestions from delegates (mini Joe's were very much desired). You can give us your ideas too.

Help Desk Institute Conference 2014

Pretty sure Patrick Bolger was trying to get some folks drunk so we wouldn’t notice if he walked off with Joe the IT Guy. But we would never let that happen!

People were tweeting us “where are you?” We said to look for the green ties. Little did we know that the trend we started at Pink14 in Vegas revolutionized conference attire, as there were other vendors who adopted the green ties too. Sorry for the mix-up. Next year we will have a big sign, so everyone can find us easily.

Everybody was in love with the fact that we now have patch management integrated within the solution. If you want to hear more about SysAid Patch Management, you should watch this webinar.

We met with more of our wonderful customers – THANK YOU ALL FOR VISITING US - and joining in our effort, initiated by Joe The IT Guy as he explains here, to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the process.

We've already signed up for next year’s event and doubled our booth space to be able to cope with demand.

Until then, here’s where you can find us next:

See you again soon!

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

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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