Effective tomorrow, the Service Desk no longer takes Calls

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Internal Company Announcement – For Immediate Distribution
We heard you. And we’re taking action.

After years of complaints regarding the “black hole of IT” and users having to call the “helpless” desk, we are pleased to announce that effective tomorrow, the Service Desk will no longer take calls.
Several factors were considered in making this decision, including the Service Desk’s:

  • Lack of instant response for every call
  • Inability to read minds
  • Inability to always compensate for your lack of planning or communication

Senior management would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their valuable input to this decision.  We trust that as a result of no longer having to call the Service Desk, our overall productivity and effectiveness will improve dramatically.

What if your company shut down the Service Desk tomorrow?

As with any disruptive change, there could be a number of positive outcomes from such a move.

  • Opportunity to Innovate – The organization could setup “genius” bars or a personalized support approach (like Amazon’s “Mayday” service).  This approach will allow IT to get out “from behind the wall” and facilitate opportunities to build better business relationships with the service consumer community.
  • Improve Service Quality from the beginning — The organization could invest more into self-healing services, improved processes and approaches for design, development, and deployment of services, and improved system monitoring and self-correcting systems.  Building a higher level of service quality from the beginning would address many of the reasons why consumers call the Service Desk.
  • Enable Consumer Self-Service — This approach would help consumers feel more in control of their service experience.  By leveraging knowledge bases and search engines that identify the most-relevant solutions to issues, consumers can work at their own pace and access support anytime they need it.
  • Direct Consumers to L2/L3 Support Personnel — L2 and L3 resources are the subject-matter experts within an IT organization and could provide faster incident resolutions and request fulfillment for the service consumer.

Let’s also consider the potential negative outcomes.

  • The investment of time and resources to enable “genius” bars and personalized support; this is infrastructure that likely is not in place at most organizations.  Additionally, some consumers may be put off by all of the noise and lack of personalized attention of a “genius” bar.  Some consumers may not feel comfortable being seen “live” on camera as part of the personalized support offering.
  • Like the setup of a “genius” bar or personalized support, improving quality from the beginning also represents a significant investment of time and resources. Make no mistake – having quality IT services is always a top goal of any organization. However, organizations always have to balance the cost of quality with speed to delivery.
  • Self-service may seem like an attractive option, but what about consumers that really don’t want self-service? What about those consumers that are not comfortable with searching knowledge bases and would rather have someone to talk with regarding IT Service issues?
  • Any time an L2 or L3 resource is assisting service consumers with *any* issue represents time those resources are *not* working on innovation or business projects.

So what is value of a good Service Desk? We all know that the Service Desk acts as the single point of contact for consumers for any IT issue or concern. We also know that every call to the Service Desk is logged so that we can maintain a record of interactions with consumers. While both of these activities are very valuable, the value of a good Service Desk is something more. A good Service Desk:

  • Advocates for and acts as an ombudsman for the IT Service Consumer
  • Ensures that the Consumer feels valued by the IT Organization
  • Facilitates the “human connection” between the Service Consumer and the IT Organization
  • Ensures traceability of support efforts, from initiation to conclusion
  • Acts as an early warning system regarding larger issues; for example, when the Service Desk receives a lot of calls, with many of those calls having similar symptoms
  • Diffuses contentious or difficult situations with consumers using strong communication skills and exercising emotional intelligence

A good Service Desk can and does do all of these things….if it has been properly enabled. What do I mean by “enabled”?
How would you feel if you were being asked to do a job, expected to perform at a high level, but were given little to no training regarding your job? How would you feel if you were being excluded from daily discussions and decisions that directly impact your ability to do your job? Welcome to the happens-far-too-much world of the Service Desk agent.
What I often find is while the Service Desk is expected to take every call about every possible IT issue or request, many IT organizations spend little to no time ensuring that their Service Desk is being enabled. Even fewer IT organizations are ensuring that the Service Desk is being included in overall design or transition activities.
What can you do to enable your Service Desk?

  • Define services and name service owners – this helps the Service Desk speak the language of the business and identify points of escalation
  • Provide training to Service Desk Agents before the implementation of major Changes or deployments of Releases
  • Provide the Service Desk with good, relevant documentation as part of a formal operational handover procedure for a new or changed Service
  • Include Service Desk representation in Change Advisory Board meetings
  • Develop request models that can be used to quickly, effectively, and repeatedly fulfill service requests

Are you enabling your Service Desk? Or shall we have the Service Desk stop taking calls?

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