Service Desk

As a follow-on to the blog discussion on service desks, this page provides structured access to the blog recommendations as well as further information on best practices and ow to transform your service desk. Both Steve Wignall and Bob Barnes have contributed most of this material.

Background: An important interface for your internal customers is through your IT service desk. Unfortunately, in many situations the service desk (or help desk) does not use up-to-date practices and can be a backwater of capability. This can result in a very poor reputation for IT because the service desk is the primary customer interface with the IT organization (see here for our definition of a service desk).

The IT Service Desk may seem quite straightforward to address — maybe the thought is that all you really need to do is have one number, staff it, be courteous and try hard.  This isn’t the case and there are some clear best practice techniques and approaches that will enable you to deliver consistent, positive interactions with your customers as well as enable greater productivity and lower cost for the broader IT team.

High Level Approach: The approach to building an outstanding service desk is discussed in the following topic areas:

Service Desk Capabilities and Common Issues: Here is a recap of why the service desk is such an important area for IT:

  • the service desk is the starting point for many key processes and services for IT
  • well-constructed, the service desk can handle much of the routine work of IT, enabling engineering and other teams to do higher value work
  • it is your primary interface with the customer, where you can gauge the pulse of your users, and make the biggest daily impact on your reputation
  • with the right data and tools, the service desk identify and correct problem outbreaks early, thereby reducing customer impacts and lowering overall support costs.

And yet, despite its importance to IT, too often Service Desks are chronic under-performers due to the following issues:

  • poor processes or widespread lack of adherence to them
  • the absence, or low quality application, of a scientific and metric based management approach
  • lousy handoffs and poor delivery by the rest of IT
  • inadequate resources and recruiting, worsened by weak staff development and team-building
  • weak sponsorship by senior IT leaders
  • ineffective service desk leadership

By leveraging the material and approaches here, you can address these issues successfully and turn around this critical interface with your customers.

Best, Jim Ditmore

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