10 Tips to Optimize Your Service Desk| By |Nancy Van Elsacker

We’ve all been there — something goes wrong and you need the service desk to solve the problem so you can get back to work. Despite the effort organizations put into optimizing their service desks, things don’t always go smoothly. Many service desks still face challenges when trying to give customers the best possible experience. That’s why we present these 10 tips to optimize your service desk.

Be visible

Believe it or not, there are organizations where the service desk is nearly invisible and there are websites that only have a contact form with no phone number or email address in sight. We all know how annoying this is. If you need help, you want to be able to get it right away. Don’t fall into this trap. Make sure customers can get into contact with the service desk quickly and easily. Wherever and whenever they want; online and off.

An added bonus of this is that you can get valuable feedback that customers might otherwise have kept to themselves. Be sure to also promote your department properly.

Keep an eye on customer satisfaction

Proper metrics for customer satisfaction are essential. If you want the quality of your services to improve constantly, you need a constant awareness of said quality. So you always know how satisfied your customers are and what the effects of your actions are. Make sure you monitor customer satisfaction on a regular basis and set goals that you can work towards.

And make sure that the entire organization sticks to those goals. You could, for instance, put up a screen displaying information you think is important, like the number of calls and the average customer satisfaction and its development over time.

Standardize your services

It may sound strange, but offering standard services really works. There are obvious benefits to costs, but standardization also makes life easier for the customer and the service desk. Solving problems is no longer dependent on a single employee, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time and there’s time for more important challenges. Customers will also be happy that they know what they can expect from your department.

Embrace self-service

Does the best service always come from another person? Sometimes customers just want to look something up, or they may be looking for information outside office hours. In those cases it’s very convenient to be able to fix things from home, at any time. If it’s possible for online shops, why not for the office? We’ll go even further: if people can find answers to their questions themselves, they’ll be more satisfied. At the same time, a self-reliant customer is a big time-saver for operators. And they in turn can use this time to help a customer with a more complicated question, so in the end, that customer is more satisfied too.

Share your knowledge

As self-service develops, we see that the principle “knowledge is power” is shifting to “sharing knowledge is power”. Because if you share knowledge about optimal service delivery and help each other achieve this, everybody benefits. So it’s not knowledge, it’s know-where: it’s no longer all about knowledge itself, but about knowing where to find that knowledge. A self-service portal is an excellent tool to share knowledge, between departments as well as with customers.

Sharing is caring and sharing is shifting left.

Communicate

We all know of people who were sent from one person to the next by service desk employees. Prevent this from happening at your department by putting in place agreements on when, what and how you deliver your service. This means that it’s perfectly fine for you to tell a customer that you don’t know the answer to a question, as long as you also tell them that you will look into it and indicate when you’ll get back to them. Good communication is important in both reactive and proactive contexts: if a date has been planned for maintenance or a delivery has been delayed, let your customers know what’s going on.

Also don’t forget to communicate improvements that have been implemented after customer feedback. This lets customers know that you really use their input, so they’ll be more likely to keep giving you feedback in the future.

Keep records

Nobody (or almost nobody) likes to constantly record what customers are asking and what agreements are made. But the information is useful for colleagues and customers. After all, work shouldn’t grind to a halt if you’re absent. The accountant will also be happy that you keep an up-to-date record, because if he or she has to account for something, proper records make their job easier. Do make sure that you don’t require too much of your employees, though. Determine in advance what needs to be recorded and stick to that agreement so that the workload for recording doesn’t become too heavy.

Create clear reports

The information that’s recorded can be used to expose and prevent underlying problems of the service desk. A well-organized self-service portal can help with this, because many reports, such as a report about SaaS uptime, can be shared with customers. By sharing this kind of information, your organization becomes more transparent and improvements get more priority. Look at it as a chance to see what’s important in your organization.

If you want some tips on how to get more out of reporting and customer satisfaction metrics in particular, you can read our blog post about this right here.

Keep improving

Even after you’ve taken all of these steps, keep looking for opportunities to improve your services. There’s always room for improvement. An important part of this is to keep up with the times: keep track of what’s happening around you in terms of service delivery and pick up developments that fit within your organization. Accept the role of self-service in today’s society, for example. If you don’t accept such changes, business will soon start to demand you do, or worse: it will pass you by. It’s better to stay ahead of those risks with your organization.

Be human

The tips mentioned above are all useful to improve the quality of your services, but you should never forget the human aspect. Because in the end you’re not trying to please a tool, you’re trying to help people. One of the biggest pitfalls of service desks is that they stop engaging people to look at what’s best for the organization. Avoid this by involving employees and encouraging them to actively contribute to improvements to the department’s services.

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