Incident Management: 20 Simple IT Service Desk Tips

Incident Management Tips

Most organizations do some form of incident management. They might not call it “incident management,” with the alternative names including “ticket handling.” No matter what “the resolution of IT issues” is called, they still manage incidents and there are many key tips for IT service desks to consider. This article shares 20 of the most common tips.

This article by @SophieDanby shares 20 of the most common incident management tips. #ITSupport #ITSM #ServiceDesk Share on X

20 incident management tips

  1. Appreciate the benefits of incident management standardization – many factors, including best practice adoption, contribute to “better, faster, cheaper” IT support capabilities.
  2. Leverage a fit-for-purpose IT service management (ITSM) or help desk tool – while incident handling can be undertaken manually or using personal productivity tools, ITSM tools offer a wealth of capabilities to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Remember that incidents are usually connected to people – such that any reported issue isn’t merely malfunctioning technology but something adversely affecting business operations. It’s a different perspective for incident management.
  4. Provide service desk agents (or IT support personnel if the service desk approach hasn’t been adopted) with continual training – this can cover awareness of new types of incidents and changing incident management best practices and prepare them for future day-to-day responsibilities.
  5. Distinguish between different ticket types – to ensure that different requests get the proper focus, treating incidents, service requests, changes, and problems separately.
  6. Classify or categorize incidents on receipt – this helps with prioritization and any future incident management management reporting and analysis.
  7. Prioritize incidents – incidents are commonly prioritized based on their impact and urgency, such that a high-impact, high-urgency incident can be addressed before a low-impact, low-urgency one.
  8. Standardize the incident logging process – recording all incidents in a standardized format makes it easier for service desk agents to resolve them and facilitates later review and analysis. It’s a foundation of good incident management.
  9. Introduce knowledge management capabilities – this amplifies service desk agent capabilities, speeds up resolutions, improves experiences, aids consistency, and facilitates self-help.
  10. Agree on functional and hierarchical escalation practices – so if the IT service desk can’t quickly resolve an incident, it can be passed to a higher-level specialist or team or higher levels of management, respectively.
  11. Use incident matching – checking if new incidents match existing incidents or problems.
  12. Leverage automated incident routing – automatically routing incidents to the right team or individual based on predetermined criteria. This automation has traditionally been rule-based, but machine learning that leverages historical data and patterns is now available in ITSM tools.
  13. Regularly monitor incident trends – review and analyze incident management trends to identify recurring issues that might necessitate problem management and continual improvement activities. This usually isn’t a real-time activity.
  14. Use incident closure codes – not only to verify that the issues have been resolved but also to fuel incident analysis. This analysis includes understanding the quality of the initial incident classification.
  15. Seek and value end-user feedback – ideally looking beyond operational efficiency assessment to better understand outcomes. It helps to make incident management capabilities fit-for-purpose in business terms.
  16. Look to additional technological enablement – these capabilities might be part of the corporate ITSM tool or require other software. For example, remote support capabilities make supporting non-office-based workers easier.
  17. Integrate incident management with problem management capabilities – to identify and address the root causes of similar incidents, thus reducing incident levels in the future.
  18. Operate a separate major incident management process – these high-impact issues must be addressed quickly. Organizations often manage major incidents using a specific team, clear communication protocols, and possibly even a war room setup.
  19. Conduct post-incident reviews for major incidents – this review is to identify root causes, lessons learned, and areas for improvement.
  20. Use continual improvement practices – to further improve your incident management capabilities, especially in meeting changing business demands for IT support.

What else would you add to my list of incident management tips? Please add them in the comments below.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this article, then here are some other articles you may find useful:

Please use the website search capability to find more helpful ITSM articles related to topics such as improving team members, incident resolution, the service desk agent role and responsibilities, user experience, customer experience, customer satisfaction, improving business processes, and how support teams should manage mobile devices in incident management terms.

Sophie Danby

Sophie is a freelance ITSM marketing consultant, helping ITSM solution vendors to develop and implement effective marketing strategies.

She covers both traditional areas of marketing (such as advertising, trade shows, and events) and digital marketing (such as video, social media, and email marketing). She is also a trained editor.

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