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Proactive, consumer-inspired – it’s time for the next-generation Service Desk

By Mike Matthews, - Advice

Businesses today face a stark reality: their employees are having fantastic experiences with technology at home, but in their opinion, that quality of experience is not always being reflected in the workplace.

But for the Service Desk the problem goes one step further: how can you create a great user experience in a world where people work any time, any place, on any device?

The answer, I believe, lies in complementing the traditional 8-to-6, Monday to Friday reactive service desk model with a new type of experience that reflects the world people are familiar with as consumers: something simple, personal, flexible, efficient, and ‘always on’.

In this instalment of our #DigitalWorkplace series, I’m going to explain why the end-user experience should be at the heart of every Service Desk decision.

Why does all this matter?

The role of IT is changing. Where this part of the business was historically pre-occupied with cost reduction, it’s increasingly focussing on transformational benefits such as greater agility and increased productivity.

So how do you help people be more productive? One way is to take up less of their time, and the best way to do that is through automation.

70% of managers say manual processes leave them less time to be strategic, and automation is associated witha 50% increase in the Service Desk Experience Index. If you can automate more of the Service Desk function the potential business impact is huge.

It’s also about being proactive rather than reactive – moving away from the idea that we just sit and wait for the phone to ring and aligning ourselves much more with business outcomes in everything we do. And we achieve this by analysing, understanding and predicting so we can prevent and mitigate any issues.

And there’s a retention issue at stake here. People expect technology to work in a certain way, and if the experience doesn’t match up to those expectations, this can negatively impact on their feelings for their employer, leading to loss of loyalty and even high attrition rates because they take their skills elsewhere.

Taking inspiration from leading consumer  brands

Business managers rate consumer services 103% higher than workplace ones. If we want to close that gap we need to look to those services for inspiration.

Service Desks may operate within the business world, but if you take a look at some of the biggest names in consumer technology you can see some great examples of how else we could (and should) deliver support services that meet these changing needs

Apple, for example, lets consumers choose how to receive support, and very few of them actually ring The Service Desk.

Instead they to go into a Genius Bar to speak to someone face-to-face, or go online and ask someone who has either experienced the same thing themselves or who knows someone who has.

The key here is that the consumer has choice, and in most cases they choose an alternative to picking up the phone.

What do consumers actually want?

67% of consumers prefer self-service support over phone or email. And guess what? Those consumers are also your employees, so why wouldn’t they want the same experience at work?

Think about some of the other elements that make up a brilliant consumer experience online:

  • Delivers a personalised experience
  • Available 24/7, from any device or location
  • Consistent across all devices
  • Intuitive, requires little prior knowledge or training
  • Quick and easy, with minimal effort required to find what you’re looking for, making it easier and more convenient than picking up the phone
  • Self-learning. Able to understand context when questions are asked

The modern Service Desk can, and should, reflect these traits, particularly around the user journey. How can we get them to where they need to be in the least amount of clicks, and how can we make that journey look and feel similar to the one they have with their favourite technology at home?

Personalisation is another huge factor. The most successful brands of today are the ones that create personal, meaningful services for their customers, such as tailored offers based on their shopping habits. As organisations, we have access to a huge amount of user data. Let’s use that to improve our service in similar, proactive ways that enhances the end-user experience.

Enabling, not fixing

All these changes reflect the wider ones we’ve seen in recent years when it comes to the IT department’s role – not just focussing on problems and costs but offering real commercial value.

One thing has become completely clear: the IT service desk is no longer simply about fixing and fulfilling – it’s about enabling.

It’s about what technology means to the people we serve: our end users.

We are already supporting connected ovens in restaurants, self-check out machines in supermarkets and other devices not traditionally in the scope of an IT Service Desk, but we can only expect the diversity of these connected devices to increase.

Our challenge is to be ready for this increasing diversity, not react to it when it hits, and ensure we can support pretty much anything with an IP address.

We believe we’re ready!

Read more about our Service Desk offering and see how we can provide your end users with a human-centric experience.

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