5 Key IT Service Desk Challenges and How to Overcome Them

IT Service Desk Challenges
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As companies become increasingly reliant on technology, customers and employees become more and more demanding to the extent that they expect that your IT support services are not only timely and effective but also very fast and efficient, and time is particularly important in the IT industry. It also increases the number and level of IT service desk challenges.

If your IT support staff can’t provide an employee or customer with the right information the moment they reach out for help, your user experience and customer satisfaction are at risk. Needless to say, from an external customer perspective these two factors can significantly affect your churn rate and subsequently the bottom line. From an employee perspective, the equivalent risk is the level of lost productivity and the effect this has on business operations.

Your IT service desk is also facing a number of challenges that affect its ability to serve and support employees and customers. This article looks at five key service desk challenges as well as how to overcome them.

1. Rapidly Changing Technologies

Over the past decade, numerous new technologies have emerged and significantly evolved. While this is great both for companies and their customers and employees, such tremendous change comes with its fair share of challenges.

In order for your IT service desk to stay in the loop and keep pace with the latest technology developments, your staff needs to acquire new skills – and access to relevant knowledge articles – on a regular basis. This will enable them to readily switch to working with cloud-based or mobile applications, and improve their performance and efficiency.

2. Handling Numerous Requests Simultaneously

The business cost of IT service failures can be hefty, and downtime can also have a detrimental effect on your customers’ businesses. It’s why it’s crucial to have an IT service desk and efficient processes in place in order to deal with issues in a timely manner and still maintain quality standards.

But this can be difficult, because IT support staff will often spend a great deal of their time on the phone or answering emails, instead of dealing with the actual issues. Phone calls can be especially problematic since a service desk analyst can handle just one customer at a time, and the next thing you know, there’s a queue of impatient customers waiting for someone to pick up and talk to them.

Live chat is a completely different story – with it allowing service desk analysts to handle multiple customers simultaneously. Be warned though, that while people will wait for 11 minutes on hold before they hang up, their expectations are significantly higher for live chat as the average wait time is just 45 seconds.

This means expanding your team in order to meet your customers’ needs, which can be expensive. Instead, implementing chatbots is a cost-effective solution – because these smart algorithms can handle several customers at the same time thus reducing the wait time and allowing support staff to focus on fixing issues.

3. Wasting Time on Recurring Issues

Without a tool for collecting, recording, and analyzing support data, companies can easily fall into the trap of solving the same issues all over again. In other words, if the IT service desk doesn’t keep track of the most common issues, they’ll end up wasting their time trying to identify and fix the issues that they’ve already worked on. In ITIL terms, this is the difference between incident management and problem management, where the latter aims to remove repeating issues completely.

Not every problem can be removed though, it’s why it’s important to invest in reliable software and create a database of all the issues together with solutions – in ITIL, this is called a known error database (KEDB). Such a database will help your IT service desk to quickly address repeat issues and prevent some common operational roadblocks in the future.

4. Lack of Useful Self-Service Tools

Many of the issues that the IT service desk has to deal with are pretty mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming. For example, password resets account for 20% to 50% of IT service desk calls, and such a simple issue could easily be sorted out by users themselves if they could access the right information and capabilities. Providing an easy-to-use password-management tool could save IT support staff a lot of time and energy.

Self-service technology can offer so much more though. For example, short, step-by-step videos and other useful resources can be made available in a FAQ section – it’ll provide a swifter resolution and also take the pressure off the IT service desk.

5. Acquiring, Training, and Retaining Tech Workers

Employee turnover is an issue that hits many industries hard, but when it comes to IT, things can get even more complex. Namely, when the developers and system admins who wrote and maintained your systems leave or retire, you have to find reliable replacements. However, these too might stick around only long enough to acquire some entry-level skills and experience before they then go to work for another company.

It’s therefore essential to have a retention program for your IT support employees, that is to offer them great perks, as well as invest in their development and growth, as it’s a proven way to keep them and to have a consistently functional and effective IT service desk as a result.

What other IT service desk challenges would you call out? Please let me know in the comments.

Editor at Qeedle

Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.

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