The role of an IT service desk is to act quickly and effectively as the central point of contact to handle all of the IT problems and queries that crop up in an organisation. If your service desk is running properly, your business will be able to operate more productively and with lower overheads. And if a service desk prevents problems proactively by using the right monitoring tools, this has a measurable and positive impact on continuity and operations, both in IT and in the company as a whole. Here is a checklist of the 7 most important boxes to tick if you want to have an efficient service desk:
1. Guidelines for using service desk services
The success of your service desk depends to a large extent on the way in which end-users are able to call on it and follow the correct procedures. For example, if they don’t create a ticket and always ask the IT department to solve the problem on the spot, this can make the whole operation of the service desk more difficult. Good communication about exactly how the service desk works and how users can make the most of this service is vital.
2. Structured processes
A service desk is a bit of a lame duck if people work in different ways and don’t communicate clearly with the customer. The processes for dealing with tickets, escalations and communication must be set out clearly and be adhered to by everyone. This is the only way that these processes and the results of the work can be measured. Faster and more appropriate responses can also be actioned because everyone is able to rely on the most accurate and clearly organised information. One important success factor with a service desk is to use the right tools so that the work can be simplified and automated. Combine this with proactive monitoring and you have a really powerful total solution.
3. Knowledge of the IT environment
Every service desk member must be clearly aware of the IT environment he or she is working in. What servers are there? What does the network look like? What is located where? To be able to make this knowledge available, you need good configuration and documentation of the IT environment that is centralised and easy to access for the service desk.
4. Knowledge of the service desk employees
These days, service desk employees need to have more than just outstanding technical knowledge. Because they are giving advice, they also need to have excellent communication skills and soft skills. Ongoing training should enable them to keep up to the minute with the latest technologies and methods. On a professional service desk, the knowledge available also needs to be put to good use based on a system of first, second and third-line support.
5. Simplification and automation of helpdesk tasks
A service desk can operate a good deal more efficiently and proactively by combining the experience of the staff and/or provider with the right tools and software. And automation means that certain tasks can be handled with the appropriate accuracy.
6. Monitoring performance and quality
As the customer of a service desk, you need to be guaranteed that your IT problem or query will be answered quickly and sufficiently well. Every service desk must also work with clear Service Level Agreements (SLAs) providing arrangements and guarantees about response and completion times for all tickets. The status of these tickets must be monitored at all times by the service desk manager and the management of the IT department at the company or by external service-provider. The quality of the work of a service desk can be monitored by targeted surveys after work has been completed.
7. Good interaction between support on-site and off-site
A service desk works best when cost-effective support and remote monitoring are combined with flexible interventions that can be implemented quickly at the customer/end-user. Good communication, processes and tools are again the base for a powerful service desk that can work seamlessly both remotely and on-site.
A well-oiled service desk can provide you with a great deal as a company. You can opt to set up a service desk using your own employees, or you can outsource it entirely – or you can work with a combination of the two. One big advantage of outsourcing or a combination is that you can call on far-reaching, specialised levels of knowledge, tools and processes, which in turn means that you do not have to keep investing in ongoing training or specialised software. You also benefit from economies of scale and your own IT people can focus on strategic IT matters.