Identifying the Culture of Your Service Desk

Overwhelmingly, users contact the service desk only when something is wrong. Of course! For those of us working within these environments, this sentiment is no surprise. Far from it, actually.

I work with several consultants who work with dozens of excellent organizations, and this sentiment is one of the most pressing concerns they face: the only time that a customer or colleague contacts the service desk is when something is wrong, and that leads to obvious negative connotations.

Some steps can be taken, but doing so requires the right amount of introspection and a bit of effort. Among the essential steps that service desk leaders can take to mitigate this perception is examining themselves.

What is your identity?

You must first determine your identity as a service desk. What are the services offered and how? How does your team provide value to users within your organization? What products do you make available to your users other than break-and-fix repair and response? Finally, and most important, how do you communicate these points outwardly to customers?

Based on these questions, you can address another critically important question: Is your service desk heading in the right direction while ensuring all parties are on the same page?

The more clearly the service desk's purpose and its offerings are defined, the better you can communicate with users the value that you can provide. This lets you determine what your team is and what it can deliver and communicate this with your organizational users. In other words, you need to market your product and services to your customers.

During this exercise, be careful to determine where you want your service desk to be versus where it is currently. Doing so, you can roadmap where you want it to be.

You can empower users by offering then knowledge freely in a service catalogue. This can include information about what the service desk provides and the way it is provided.

Those with a strong internal culture should useit! You can use this simple step used as a brand for the department, which can be used to raise your recognizability to improve your service level with users.

Know your customers.

Do you know your customers? Why make assumptions about who they are and might be when you can speak with them directly. Often, during these discussions , opinions become more important than facts. Here's an example: You deliver Y in X amount of time. Even so, this might seem too long of a wait for users. If that's the case, what matters is how users feel about the experience, even if facts paint another picture.

When speaking with and learning who your users are and how they want to be served through the service desk, consider creating customer personas. These are stereotypical representations of your customers that you can use to anticipate how different user groups react to changes to any services offered or to the self-service portal, for example.

One warning about personas: They tend to be a representation of the extreme opposite personality from the IT department. Make sure you don't forget about the people in the middle.

The personas should represent several user groups, even across several departments.

Promote yourselves.

When you've established a great department with a strong sense of self and understanding of how to best help users, tell everyone in the organization. Send internal emails, place posters of the service desk offerings around the facility, and consider making business cards to promote the services available.

Whether you want users to engage the self-service portal or you want to promote a new service or emphasize that you're there to help, it's vital to think like a marketer and keep your branding consistent. Doing so provides you with a strong identity and can help people talk about the services offered by the service desk.

Additionally, make use of customer champions and communicate feedback and successes. Each of these steps can help you ensure that the service desk does more than merely responding to broke-and-fix requests, and being a punching bag during times of trial and struggle.

Sumit De is head of consultancy at TOPdesk UK.