It might have been a while since you last wrote a letter to Father Christmas, perhaps asking for the toys you saw (and then wanted) in shop windows or TV adverts. It was a great part of the whole Christmas experience as a kid, and hopefully, you weren’t too disappointed come Christmas Day. But, if given a chance to write an IT service management (ITSM)-related letter, what would your IT service desk agents ask Father Christmas for this Christmas?
This blog takes a light-hearted but ultimately serious, look at some of the ITSM improvements your IT service desk agents might add to their Father-Christmas letter if they wrote one this year.
Appreciating the limitations of Father Christmas and his elves
Father Christmas is busy, with so many children to visit on Christmas Eve. He can’t deliver everything people ask for, especially potentially highly complicated requests. Plus, he’s likely also working on a limited budget, so some presents might need to “cost in”.
Hence, certain IT service desk agent wishes are out of scope here, including:
- More holidays
- Shorter working weeks (for the same or more pay)
- New end-users (perhaps with lower expectations)
- World peace (although it’s a great sentiment)
So what would or could your IT service desk agents ask Father Christmas for this Christmas?
Greater appreciation of the work IT service desk agents do
The global pandemic in 2020, and the heroics of the IT service desk in keeping businesses running and moving employees to safer working environments, provided a sadly temporary state of higher appreciation for IT service desk agents.
Now that the world has returned to some semblance of normal, many of the traditional issues related to the undervaluing of IT service desk agents have returned. It has long been a strange situation, with agents working hard to meet employee needs and keep business operations running, but not receiving adequate recognition.
Importantly, research shows that the level of recognition IT personnel receive correlates with employees’ well-being and their future view of working in IT. With (and it could be coincidental because “correlation does not imply causation”) survey respondents who report well-being issues also stating that they:
- Don’t receive enough recognition
- Believe that working in IT will get harder over the next three years.
So a greater appreciation of the work IT service desk agents do could go a long way in improving the workplace lives of IT-support staff and their ability to contribute to better business operations and outcomes.
IT self-service capabilities that employees want to use
While reducing IT incident and service request volumes is likely beyond Father Christmas’ gift. There is a way to get fewer tickets hitting the IT service desk – IT self-service capabilities. Your IT service desk agents might already benefit from IT self-service capabilities being in place. However, the odds are that they could benefit more from their improvement, as could the employees that use them.
Research shows that too many IT organisations have introduced IT self-service capabilities only to find that an insufficient level of employees use them. The key is introducing self-service capabilities that employees want to use – because they’re built around their expectations and ways of working, not IT’s view of what self-service needs to be. Plus, using organisational change management (OCM) tools and techniques to help gain employee buy-in and reduce the inevitable resistance to change.
There are a number of proven steps that improve the probability of IT self-service success. These will be shared in a future HaloITSM blog, and their use will benefit end-user employees, IT service desk agents, and the organisation as a whole.
Increased automation and AI-enabled capabilities
Not only does reducing ticket volumes improve the IT service desk agent role, but so does the use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI)-based capabilities to help IT support scale up and augment personal knowledge and skills. Ultimately, IT service desk agents can accomplish more (and more quickly) and are ideally able to focus on more productive and motivating work (having been freed from the shackles of the high volumes of repetitive, low-value IT support tasks).
In addition to the benefits of traditional IT support automation, that include increased speed, greater consistency and fewer errors, and the ability to undertake tasks without specialist skills or knowledge. AI capabilities amplify these and offer improved employee experiences through ITSM use cases such as:
- Chatbots or virtual agents for end-user employees
- Virtual assistants for IT service desk agents
- AI-powered ticket categorisation and routing
- Intelligent search
- AI-enabled knowledge management
- Predictive analytics.
There are likely many opportunities for you to make the life of IT service desk agents easier, while improving employee experiences, by letting the technology handle much of the IT support “heavy lifting” and even some of the “heavy thinking”.
Improved and motivational performance reporting
In some ways, this brings us back to the opening Christmas wish of the greater appreciation of IT service desk agents. If you stop to think about it, your IT service desk likely has more performance metrics than any other ITSM area despite its (and its staff’s) value potentially being perceived as lower than other IT teams.
The IT service desk metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) employed not only measure the success of the IT service desk (albeit in operational terms) but also motivate IT service desk agents. But what if some metrics are demotivating the agents? Perhaps even contributing to personnel churn.
The whole topic of IT service desk metrics is a minefield, with the use of what can be considered the “traditional” IT support metrics peppered with potential issues. For example, so many metrics are employed that it can be challenging to know what’s most important. Or the metrics are unbalanced, with success in one area meaning certain underperformance in another. Or the metrics can drive the wrong IT service desk agent behaviours, with the targets causing decisions and actions that adversely affect end-users and business operations and outcomes.
So this Christmas, take the time to reassess the suitability of your IT service desk metrics (assuming that Father Christmas won’t have the time to do it). Your IT service desk agents will thank you, and so will your end-user employees (and perhaps even senior leadership once they see the benefits and value of the IT service desk better).
If you would like to talk with us about making life easier and better for your IT service desk agents, one of our ITSM specialists will be delighted to have a chat and show you how HaloITSM can help you do this. Simply book a demo by clicking the button below 👇