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28 February 2017
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Instruction: How To Organize Your Service Desk For Maximum Efficiency?

Large companies experience difficulties in organizing a service desk. It's not a general rule, but difficulties are very common. Basing on many years of practical experience, experts of ICL Service, rendering IT-services, collected keynotes on aspects of implementation and operation of Service Desk and developed an instruction helping to organize an efficient operation of a single window service.

Key questions, arising from the operation of Service Desk , are divided into three blocks: people, processes and technologies.

People

What is the Service Desk Agent profile?

Experts suggest to pay special attention to the selection of personnel basing on behavioral types and interpersonal communication skills (soft skills). Technical knowledge in this case is acquired both during the initial training of personnel and in the course of work basing on the knowledge base. It is also important to develop a training system for new employees. The structure of training should contain both theoretical training and practical lessons with an obligation to pass quality gates, a kind of lessons by passing which an employee is allowed to move to the next stage of education or a new level of difficulty in work.

How to ensure an effective knowledge transfer within a team?

It is important to immediately share this knowledge with team to prevent "reinventing the wheel". This is greatly helped by the culture of work with knowledge base and regular daily scrum meetings, where everyone can share information. For example, when a Service Desk employee finds a solution to an incident, which can be used for similar incidents in the future, he creates a new article in the knowledge base and immediately sends it to the entire team via email. New articles in the knowledge base are reviewed at the daily scrum meetings, where employees can explain difficulties encountered trying to solve any incident. We have placed information about new and the most frequently used articles on the main page of the knowledge base. Thus, different communication channels are used for a triple notification of an employee about new solution methods.

"The agenda is built on the basis of LEAN best practices and our own studies, - notes Lenar Rakhmatullin, the head of Service Desk in ICL Services. As a result, we have a high level of employee engagement, self-organization and focus of teams on continuous improvement, which our users and customers are definitely aware of. For example, by solving very specific incidents of one of our key customers, Auchan Company, we increased First Contact Resolution from almost zero to 25%".

Which KPI's are best to assess the Service Desk employee?

The assessment system should be balanced and measure the most important aspects, such as the number of resolved queries, the average level of user satisfaction, general score of quality of work, achievement of team targets. It will be wrong to rely just on one indicator. For example, if you measure only the average time for resolving a query, it can result in focusing of the team on the number of queries resolved at the expense of quality and user satisfaction.

Processes

Where to begin: describe processes or implement a single window service?

It is recommended to begin with areas with the most significant problems. You can launch the Service Desk without having processes up and running, such as Incident Management, and even without having knowledge base or suitable ITSM system. Resolving problems step by step one after another, it is important to build a mature process centered around continuous improvement of user experience.

What if the flow of incoming queries is unevenly distributed in time?

The number of queries, coming to the single window service, is always uneven. It can be both repetitive and unplanned peaks. It is quite simple with repetitive ones, basing on the statistics and forecast you have to develop a "Pattern of business activity" and plan your resources accordingly.

It is a bit more complicated with unplanned peaks. One of the main tasks is to register ALL queries. One possible option might be to implement several modes of Service Desk operation: normal, when the flow of queries is normal; enhanced, when queries are divided into typical flows for more efficient processing; critical, when Service desk only receives and registers queries with deferred decisions.

Technologies:

How to select ITSM system for Service Desk?

Selection of ITSM system is a very important step requiring careful approach and thorough study of criteria, that the system must meet. Experts suggest to select basing on:

  1. Ability to integrate with email services, enterprise infrastructure management tools, reporting tools (for example, Crystal reports), Active Directory, etc.
  2. Ability to create and configure the sequence of work flow steps for different entities (incidents, service queries, changes, etc.).
  3. Ability to route objects: assigning incidents/queries/changes to a specific group, depending on the category and configuration units/services affected.
  4. Support for hierarchical and network relations between configuration units.
  5. Total cost of ownership.
What to focus on when building a knowledge base?

Knowledge base is one of the most important tools of Service Desk, specialized support groups and even users themselves. By analyzing the most successful examples of knowledge base utilization, we see that it is a good practice to actively replenish the base with articles of not only the Service Desk, but also of specialists from other groups. Full-text search and structuring of article in accordance with the incident classifier helps invaluably.

"By providing a single window service to Russian and European customers for the past 10 years, we have structured the most important aspects of design and operation of the service from our point of view, so that it could push you to new ideas and make your Service Desk truly mature and valuable for the business", - concludes Lenar Rakhmatullin. 

Based on IT Manager.

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