A service desk is a communications center that provides a single point of contact (SPOC) between a company and its customers, employees and business partners. The purpose of a service desk is to ensure that users receive appropriate help in a timely manner.
A typical service desk manages incidents (service disruptions) and service requests (routine service related tasks) along with handling user communications for things like outages and planned changes to services.
A service desk typically has a broad scope and is designed to provide the user with a single place to go for all their IT needs. This results in the service desk playing a pivotal role in facilitating the integration of business processes with the technology ecosystem and broader service management infrastructure.
The service desk is integrated into other business processes such as:
•Data Access Management
•Supplier/Partner Onboarding and Off-boarding
•Reporting and Metrics management
•Business Continuity Management
Benefits of an IT Service Desk:
•Cost Savings and Scalability: Cost savings and scalability are the two most common benefits that companies are seeking when they implement an IT Service Desk. A service desk that is properly staffed and well managed can handle much of the routine work of IT. The service desk provides the organizations with a relatively low-cost option for transferring simple work from expensive engineering teams and subject matter experts, enabling them to focus on activities that add more value to the company.
•A Finger on the Pulse of User Sentiment: The service desk is the starting point for many key processes and services for IT and as such is often the primary interface between users, business processes and the IT services that enable them. Monitoring this interaction provides valuable insight into user satisfaction, sentiment towards services and features and unmet needs that could potentially be addressed by the IT services in the future.
•Early warning of potential problems: Because of the volume of issues and requests that the service desk handles, with the right data and tools for evaluating patterns and trends, the organization can use the service desk as a monitoring tool to identify and preemptively address service issues. The “early warning system” that the service desk provides can enable proactive problem management, preventative maintenance and service changes to reduce the user impacts of outages and service degradation.
IT Service Desk Best Practices:
Companies have been operating IT service desks for many years and out of those operations some best practices have emerged.
Examine customers behavior and expectations to make sure you understand their needs.
Provide an end-user Self-help portal accessible 24 hrs/day (even when your service desk is closed).
Use SLAs and priority/severity classification to differentiate requests so you can address the most critical ones first.
Try to resolve issues at the first point of engagement and avoid hand-offs, escalations and the need for call-backs.
Perform customer satisfaction surveys on a regular basis to understand how your clients feel about the services they are receiving.
•Service Desk Management & Reporting
Use real-time helpdesk reports, dashboards and analytics to monitor operations and initiate corrective actions before issues become problems.
Ensure escalation and handoff processes are clear and well understood to avoid missed SLAs.
Leverage analytics capabilities from your ITSM system to reduce the time/effort to generate reports.
Ensure management experiences your service desk operations first hand to gain an appreciation for what service desk staff do and the challenges they face.
Treat service desk staff as professional communicators and problem-solvers, giving them the tools they need to be successful.
•Using technology to support the IT Service Desk
Implement service request workflow capabilities in your helpdesk software to help orchestrate escalations and hand-offs.
Provide automation capabilities for common user requests (access, password reset, etc).
Use your service desk software to facilitate and record communications between agents and requestors.
Integrate your Service Desk systems into your broader ITSM to provide agents greater access to information about the IT environment.
Implement a knowledge management system to capture knowledge in a place it can be accessed by multiple people.
Provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions directly to end-users - avoiding the need for agent contact.
Keep your knowledge records current and accurate by reviewing and purging knowledge records frequently.