You need to back a number of improvement activities that will help your IT service desk to better serve your organization in what’s being called the post-COVID-19 “new normal,” but what should you do? Of course, some people will do what they’ve always done – thinking that a new IT service management (ITSM) tool holds all the answers. Others will be looking at everything that has changed during and post-crisis – and will focus on these aspects, conveniently forgetting all the potential IT service desk improvements that have slowly been stacking up over the last half-decade or so. For me, however, the answer has to be a focus on a blend of both the new and the not-so-new (I didn’t want to call it “the old”), and only then is it time to see if there’s a need for ITSM tool change.
So, which eight things should your IT service desk be focused on, to be better in the “new normal,” across the rest of 2020 and into 2021?Which eight things should your IT #servicedesk be focused on, to be better in the “new normal,” across the rest of 2020 and into 2021? Here @LiliGary explores. #newnormal #ITSM Click To Tweet
1. Finally, nail down your IT service desk’s “reason for being”
This isn’t a new need, but it’s impacted by everything that we’ve experienced so far in 2020. In the “new normal,” your IT service desk has to be even better at meeting organizational and employee-level needs, and to do this it should first understand its “reason for being.”
This will likely cover many things. For instance, appreciating that IT support is about people, and their ability to work, rather than the technology itself – that the adverse impact of incidents on employee productivity needs to be a key area of focus, especially with many employees now distanced from peer-based assistance while they work from home.
2. Focus on people support, not IT support
This is a continuation of tip #1 but it definitely needs reinforcing in a separate tip. Of course, the terms we’ve always used in IT don’t help – from the IT help desk to the IT service desk to IT support. However, the modern IT service desk needs to be all about getting services and people back up and running as quickly as possible – minimizing downtime – and supplying the IT capabilities that employees need quickly too. All while offering an acceptable service experience as a minimum.
I could have called this out as a focus on employee experience, but I thought it better to peel back another layer – to start with the people we serve – before then looking to improve things such as the level of lost productivity caused by IT issues and IT service desk delays.
3. Employee feedback is free consultancy, so ask them the right questions
You might have heard the adage that “customer feedback is free consultancy.” Well, the same is true with employee use of the IT service desk and its capabilities. But only if we ask the right questions. You only have to look at all the recent conversations around watermelon service level agreements (SLAs) to appreciate that the customer satisfaction surveys employed by IT service desks for the last two decades don’t necessarily get to how employees really feel about the suitability of the IT support they receive.Employee feedback is free consultancy, so ask them the right questions says @LiliGary. #newnormal #servicedesk Click To Tweet
Here, the “new normal” is an opportunity to focus less on the mechanics of IT support to measure IT service desk success closer to the end user – with the level of employee lost productivity a great example of a more fitting performance metric.
4. Measure your success against customer expectations, not industry benchmarks
Industry benchmarks have always been both helpful and potentially dangerous. After all, while it’s good to see any benchmark, an average based on “the good, the bad, and the ugly” might not be applicable to your organization. Now, with so much having changed in the first half of 2020, your previous industry-standard targets might no longer be aligned with customers’ expectations in the “new normal.”
5. Don’t ignore that your 2020 IT service desk is likely no longer fit for 2020 and beyond
So, much has changed in the world during the last four months – from how we live to how we work. There’s simply no way that employee expectations, and needs, of IT support are the same as they were pre-COVID. There’s therefore the need to take stock of how employees are working in the new normal and the impact this has had on both their IT service delivery and support needs.There’s simply no way that employee expectations, and needs, of IT support are the same as they were pre-COVID, and your #servicedesk can't ignore this, says @LiliGary #ITsupport #ITSM Click To Tweet
6. Reassess service desk analyst capability needs
Addressing all of the above might mean that simply being able to follow a service desk script is no longer enough. For example, treating an issue as people issue rather than simply a technology issue. Plus, with more remote employees, they’ll also need to be able to work in harmony with the needed technology while focused on delivering a suitable employee experience.
7. Make employee wellbeing a focus
Especially in light of the added stresses of the crisis, the wellbeing of your analysts is important. Survey data on wellbeing in IT from the end of 2019 already highlighted a growing issue:
“71% of survey respondents state that working in IT has adversely affected their wellbeing to some extent. 21% considerably – which sounds worse when stated as one in every five people.”
Do whatever you can – from personal interactions to surveys – to identify and address any wellbeing-affecting issues. Ideally preventing the issues before they impact people.
8. Reassess your metrics and targets
It’s always been good practice to regularly review your IT service desk metrics anyway. But, given that so much changed in the first half of 2020, there’s now a definite need. What was once important might not be now. Plus, there are likely new key employee touchpoints with, and expectations of, IT support. For example, employees that are now working from home without access to knowledgeable colleagues or alternative IT equipment.It has always been good practice to regularly review your IT #servicedesk metrics. But, given that so much changed in the first half of 2020, there’s now a definite need – @LiliGary Click To Tweet
So, that’s my eight tips for IT service desk success in the “new normal” – what would you add? Please let me know in the comments.