insight

Empower your Service Desk agents and they will deliver valuable business insight

By Mike Matthews, - Insight

How many people can honestly say that they perform well under pressure?

The vast majority of people don’t. Just 5% of workers believe they are more effective when they are feeling stressed.

While it’s unlikely that any job will be completely stress-free, some jobs are far more pressured than others. The role of a Service Desk agent is one of these.

Or at least it used to be.

In this blog post, I’m going to explain how we can use the experience and knowledge held by Service Desk agents to add real value back into the business.

The old style of Service Desk is broken

A traditional IT Service Desk is typically a reactive environment, staffed by agents with a range of expertise.

The general aim is to get incidents resolved and requests fulfilled as quickly as possible. Agents are given time limits for picking up calls and getting them resolved – they’re usually required to resolve 65% of incidents themselves. On top of this, the sheer volume of incidents, often due to holiday/weekend peaks, mean that there are too many tasks to handle effectively and not enough time in the day to get everything done.

This is a poor utilization of the agent and further down the line, it can lead to a poor end-user experience. The Service Desk agent doesn’t have time to think and so an average task takes a long time to resolve, and little or nothing will be done to ensure it doesn’t reoccur, or that its impact will be mitigated in future. Agents probably won’t even have time to explain what went wrong to the end user – leaving them feeling frustrated and confused.

But what if you reverse these issues by giving the Service Desk more time to think? If you can ease the pressure on agents in this way, you will find the Service Desk is a place that can add unprecedented value to your business.

The Service Desk is an untapped resource

Agents are perfectly placed to spot patterns or even the “topic of the day”. They can see when something is failing repeatedly and, given time, they can find out why.

This means they can be a force for change in your organization, identifying processes that need to be improved and bringing in better systems where pre-existing ones don’t work.

On top of driving transformation, Service Desk agents can also perform another function: they read the mood of the end user they are speaking to.

This means Service Desk agents get an unparalleled insight into how employees on the ground feel about the company and the devices they are given to use.

But using this insight is impossible unless you free your Service Desk agents from the low-level tasks they have to carry out – menial jobs such as re-setting passwords or making changes to a user’s account.

These tasks take up large amounts of time in a desk agent’s day – time they could be spending on something more meaningful.

How to give your Service Desk agents more time

The next-generation Service Desk gives agents more time by removing menial tasks from their day and giving them to time to think proactively.

Take Fujitsu’s Social Command Centre (SCC) as an example.

The SCC integrates multiple technologies into a single, contextually aware service that takes the burden of menial tasks away from agents, either by automating them or by enabling self-service so end users can resolve them for themselves.

Some of the contextually enabled technologies utilised by the SCC include:

  • Robotics Process Automation – makes process driven decisions on behalf of the agent based on sound historical logic and decision-based logic
  • Embedded password management solutions – respond to the user’s voice or provide them with a simple portal for resetting their application or operating system passwords without ever having to interface with the business applications
  • Smart Virtual Agent – gives users the answer to their question, not by taking them to a paragraph in a Word document, but by allowing them to use their voices (a la Siri, or GoogleNow for instance) or typing into a search box.

And there are future technologies that will soon make their way onto the Next Generation Service Desk.

Cognitive analytics is one example.  This technology can help agents prioritise tasks by looking at the business impact of events within an enterprise, be they requests or things going wrong.

Our experience tells us that an email fault affecting 1000 end users may well create the most noise but when the payroll system is down or the purchasing system adversely affected, which is the most important? Cognitive Analytics gives the Next Generation Service Desk the context it needs to work in the best interests of the bottom line of the organization it supports.

The SCC will also make it easier for the agents to do their work, by simply being a more informed and efficient system.

All the necessary tools and information are provided in one place, so that agents can find it easily – because they can’t help people on the phone if they are busy pulling up different systems trying to find answers.

By making accurate and relevant information available quickly, the Next Generation Service Desk system will empower agents to take on a more insightful and valuable role.

A new type of desk agent

A new generation of Service Desk will necessitate a new breed of Service Desk agent as nearly all the low-level tasks previously handled by agents, will be “shifted left”.

In the future we will be better able to leverage those people in our Service Desk with a wider skillset, not only to deal with the more complex strategic issues on the Service Desk, but with an ability to spot trends, and give sometimes anecdotal advice on how to make the user and/or Desk more proactive and value driven.

We will require agents to use Fujitsu’s Service Intelligence appropriately and creatively.  They have all the important business data about an end user at their disposal – the role they have in the organization, the devices they are using, their level of IT competence – when they come to fulfilling their support needs.

This means not only are our self-service options smart and contextually driven, agents are able to personalise their response to the user they are talking to. They won’t try to explain a simple IT procedure to someone with a high level of IT experience, and they won’t use complicated technical jargon with someone who won’t understand it.

Make the most of your Service Desk

Historically, being a Service Desk agent has been a thankless task which offers limited business value.  This is set to change. While it’s impossible to completely remove the stress from any job, it is possible to ensure the role brings more value to the organization and is more personally fulfilling.

When we free agents from some of the menial and time-consuming jobs they shouldn’t have to do, they’ll have more time for long-term, strategic and proactive work. Being proactive means that they can gain insight from meaningful interactions with End Users and become much more pivotal in terms of the success of the supported organization

Innovating in this way diversifies the capability of the Service Desk, helps it deliver more value to the customer and makes it a much less stressful environment for everyone who works on it or interacts with it.

Watch our video to find out more about the next generation Service Desk.

Vision Document: Enabling a Service Desk Fit for the Future

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