With everything else to do, many companies struggle to develop a highly responsive ITIL service desk environment which consistently meets end user and customer expectations.

End users want to effortlessly engage with the companies they work with. It’s simple, but not always achievable with companies still using legacy systems, or manually tracking incoming calls.

In the United States, we are a service-based nation where people expect everything from personalized care to instant answers. People look for drive-through, self-service, and instant gratification, so why wouldn’t they want the same type of care from the companies they engage with? To meet expectations, companies need to level up their internal service desk just like they would their external customer support.

In this article, we present five opportunities for improving internal service desk operations.

1) Make Sense of Incidents and Problems with Data Visualization

Organizations using ITIL 4 to guide their practice understand the importance of understanding trends. With the right tracking of data, service desk management can clearly understand when recurring incidents need to be escalated to the problem management team. Or you can see when recurring incidents or ticket escalations require additional education and knowledge management.

But looking at reports in spreadsheets can make the job of evaluating trends dull and difficult. One way to make sense of the data is to use data visualization tools. These tools take the numbers and turn them into visually appealing and easy-to-understand reports.

Done right, these tools connect with your existing management tools, ticketing systems, and other programs to give you nearly real-time visibility into the trends impacting your end users. These tools can be connected relatively quickly to existing data sets, allowing you to start getting insights quickly. And unlike reporting that’s built into your ticketing system, external business intelligence (BI) tools let you connect multiple data sources and get insights into your entire organization – not just your service desk.

Top Service Desk Data Visualization Tools

  • Tableau
  • Qlikview
  • Power BI
  • FusionCharts
  • Sisense
  • Google Charts
  • Infogram
  • Datawrapper
  • ChartBlocks
  • Grafana, D3, WalkMe and Chartist

2) Update Your Knowledge Base

Chances are high that your IT service desk has knowledge base articles that need to be created, updated, or archived… and that someone knows that this knowledge needs to be updated. One way to boost morale and increase first call resolution, and reduce escalations is by updating your knowledge base with a one-time maintenance effort.

Here are some questions to ask your service desk team:

  • Which knowledge is completely out of date?
  • Which knowledge needs to be updated?
  • Which knowledge needs to be added?
  • Do end users have enough knowledge to self-service?
  • Do end users find the knowledge helpful?
  • Does any of this knowledge need to be translated into other languages?

For a morale boost, be sure to include your service desk agents in the process.

3) Implement More Self-Service Into the Service Desk Process

Krishna P Gupta, at Kapture, “Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the next waves in customer support. Research shows that 40% of customers prefer self-serve usage compared to interacting with a live agent.”

Service desk end users are no different than customers in that they want a seamless, quick answer and resolution to their issue. One way to achieve this mutual goal is through more self-service.

This can be achieved in several ways:

  • Adding a self-service portal where tickets can be submitted and reviewed
  • Creating a user-facing knowledge base (KB)
  • Using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict which KBs the user is asking about based on text in their chats, emails, or ticket submissions
  • Creating self-service portals for simple issues like password resets or asset requests

Whether you make any of these changes or not, it’s wise to hold regular training with your employees on how to use the self-service tools and the cost savings to the company for using them. Record those trainings and make them available to new employees as well.

4) Use Artificial Intelligence to Streamline Operations

Gartner’s study found that 15% of customer interactions will be completely handled by artificial intelligence by 2021.

Cloud-based customer support programs with machine learning models have the necessary detector to methodize service activity on an array of intelligence like auto-tagging.

Artificial intelligence allows service desk management to easily and automatically filter spam, process speech commands on smartphones, predict problems and patterns for better anticipation of customer issues, evaluate past performance data and tickets, and automatically trigger notifications.

You can also:

  • Create requests for proactive problem solving, prevention, and prediction.
  • Organize and group incoming tickets automatically
  • Prioritize, sort, classify, and analyze incidents
  • Route tickets to the correct service agent
  • Flag tickets for future learning and analysis
  • Identify which assets are likely to break down based on performance levels

5) Offer ITIL 4 Certification to Service Desk Agents

ITIL 4 is an IT service management framework that helps organizations make sense of their processes, stakeholders, and activities. For service desk agents, it’s going to be the framework that allows them to understand why they have to do certain things.

For example, your agents will get a better understanding of:

  • The rationale behind clearly documenting incidents, which will help in identifying problems by the Problem Management team
  • The difference between a Service Incident and a Service Request, and why this difference matters in Problem Management and Knowledge Management
  • Why the word “Service Desk” is even used at all, instead of “help desk”

Agents who are trained in ITIL will solve tickets quicker, provide a higher quality of service, and feel more invested in their role as a service desk professional. Overall, the organization will benefit from having more employees trained in the ITIL methodology and using the same vocabulary and framework.

Offering certification can also be a way to boost retention and morale.

Takeaway

Improving your service desk performance is always possible. The question is: which lever do you want to pull to achieve your desired result? In this article, we offered some suggestions such as updating your knowledge base, providing more self-service, increasing the use of artificial intelligence, and adopting ITIL more broadly.

Another way you can improve your service desk is by augmenting your staff with an outsourced ITSM team. At Aptude, we help organizations outsource affordably using nearshore and offshore resources. We also offer service desk support in Spanish and Portuguese for those who want to expand their bilingual and multi-language support without hiring a full-time team to do it. Contact us today to learn more.

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