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Four Challenges of The Service Desk and How To Fix Them

By Ruben Franzen, president of TOPdesk US

Here are four everyday situations that can challenge your service desk and cause panic within the team and how you can manage them to reduce team stress and maintain customer satisfaction.

Spoon feeding your customers

When someone has a fundamental question, they likely turn to their direct supervisor, colleagues, or their HR representative for an easy, quick answer. This is fine in most cases, but in instances where workers are spread out or remote working, or busy with their work, this scenario can change.

Repeatedly, your inbox receives the same or similar questions from different people; responding to every request is unbelievably time-consuming and incredibly tiresome.

A repository of all knowledge that employees need to know helps alleviate the burden of those perceived as having all the answers and allows employees to self-service. A self-service portal is the best way to solve this challenge.

Self-service portals with robust knowledge management components reduce resolution times as you can redirect serial questioners and carry on with your work. Of course, questions need answering, but you're better for having to consistently answer all questions for everyone with these steps in place.

Any department benefits from the implementation of a self-service portal. If the same question pops up repeatedly, add the answer to the knowledge base. This is employing a "solve-and-evolve approach," making knowledge management stronger.

Offboarding woes

Colleagues come, and colleagues go - that's just part of business. But offboarding is trickier than it looks. When one of your employees leaves, it may not occur to you until long after the employee has walked out the door that they need to turn in equipment or you need to revoke access to the building or data.

What often happens is you might begin to check with others - does anyone know if the company-issued laptop and mobile devices were turned in? You'll probably get the runaround, but that may not be your biggest issue - what about all the internal documents the ex-employee likely had? This is an issue that must be fixed immediately.

Most organizations have a flawless onboarding process. New employees are usually welcomed with a thorough review of their mission, policies, and procedures. Once settled, their team lead shows them around the office, introducing them and generally welcoming them.

So why not a process for when an employee leaves?

Treat employees who leave with as much care as you show new employees. Put in place a thorough (and highly repeatable) process to ensure laptops, keyboards, keys, and anything else that the company owns is returned.

Consider creating a checklist of all the necessary action items of your offboarding process. This quickly highlights any gaps in your process so you can sort them out with immediate effect.

Mandate the process

Let's assume you have a great service desk system in place. Employees log requests via tickets, and your team works diligently through these them, and all is well.

What happens when you receive a panicked phone call from a senior manager experiencing an issue right before an important meeting? They need help - and now. Do you run to their side or force upon them the agreed-to service desk processes?

If you agree to see to the issue right away, you could earn a new reputation of being agile and accommodating enough to bend the rules when required. So now, when someone needs something fixed right away, they may call you with their sad please for help. Once you do this, it's hard to calm the chaos.

Incident management processes are the bedrock of successful service desk teams.

The fundamental idea behind incident management is swiftly working through all incidents efficiently and effectively: recording outstanding tasks, classifying them based on severity and urgency, and assigning them to the appropriate employee. When done correctly, incident management allows teams to provide a continuous and consistently high level of service desk excellence.

Data breaches

This is the ultimate nightmare. With the average global data breach now costing $3.92 million, breaches are more than panic-inducing. The costs aren't just financial; organizations suffering breaches face losing their good reputations and may end up embroiled in legal battles.

You diligently update your security practices regularly, and cybersecurity has been your organization's top priority for several years. Somehow, however, when there's a breach, nobody seems prepared for what to do. Suppose the service desk faces endless calls from desperate employees wondering what they can do, what they can't do. In that case, it's your responsibility to remind them that they should let you know if anything has gone wrong -- like accidentally clicking a dodgy link in an email. Or, perhaps they let somebody outside the organization use their laptop or lost a USB stick away from the office.

Whatever it is, it's essential to let employees know that they won't be named and shamed or scolded. If they put the company at risk, they need to let the service desk know immediately, without fear of severe repercussions.

Cybersecurity efforts must never cease, nor actions against it never rest. You must act to prevent any potential data breaches. In addition to technology solutions, people are at the heart of these strategies. Education is a vital aspect of this, especially with so many employees currently working remotely.

More than 90% of data breaches are caused by human error. Therefore, leadership teams must stand up for their colleagues to ensure all are appropriately educated on cybersecurity best practices.

Cybersecurity basics are essential, especially as more is expected of individuals as they take on more in their remote environments. Teaching them right leads them right and toward a safer organization that serves everyone, internal or external.


About the Author

Ruben Franzen 

Ruben Franzen is president of TOPDesk and has spent his entire career at the company. He joined the company about 15 years ago as a sales representative, based in the company’s global headquarters in Delft, The Netherlands. His other roles included inside sales account manager, key account manager, and head of sales for TOPdesk US. His areas of expertise include leadership, customer experience, sales and business development, and service management (especially IT service management, or ITSM). Born in the Netherlands, Ruben was educated at Leiden University in Leiden, Netherlands (Psychology). He spent more than 30 years in the Netherlands before moving to the United States in 2017. Ruben speaks English and Dutch fluently.

Published Wednesday, February 03, 2021 8:07 AM by David Marshall
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