Imagine this: on a day like every other, a notification pops up on John Doe’s workstation: low disk space. While he creates a ticket anticipating immediate resolution, he receives an acknowledgment e-mail stating that an agent would get back to John in 24 hours. Having lost an entire day’s worth of productivity, he is frustrated with the process. Meanwhile, Jane Roberts finds herself in a similar situation; as soon as the issue is identified, she is guided through steps for resolving the issue by herself, and within minutes, she is back to work. This is exemplary of how the service desk function has evolved over the years.
From a system that mostly measured the efficiency of the provider to one that puts the end user at the center, the service desk function has witnessed immense transformation with time. Now, its effectiveness is not evaluated by traditional metrics but by benchmarks such as mean time to resolve (MTTR), customer satisfaction score (CSAT), first time right, self-adoption rate, success rate of self, tickets resolved through artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), productive time lost and experience analysis, among others. This is indicative of a transition towards human-centric experiences.
Identifying the fundamental causes of persistent issues can not only help address them proactively, but also end their recurrence and decrease the volume of support requests.
Objective of service desk modernization
The general consensus that can be drawn from users’ attitudes towards service desks is that they avoid interacting – sometimes intentionally – with them. The reason? Longer wait times, complicated interfaces, and disconnect in communication during the virtual-human transfer of requests, among others.
If employees, who are basically the customers of the service desk solutions provider contracted by their companies, are displeased with the system, a massive overhaul is essential – one that is pivoted on human centricity. The objective for such a transformation is not single but three-fold. It includes:
Eliminating the issue
The ideal way to enhance customer experience is to eliminate the issues themselves. While it is a challenging goal, it can be aspired for. Identifying fundamental causes of common and persistent issues can help address them proactively. This can reduce or even end their recurrence and decrease the volume of support requests leveraging AI/ML or self-heal capabilities. Importantly, service desk resources, particularly desk agents, can be utilized for resolving other complex issues requiring deeper intervention.
Empowering customers to resolve their problems by themselves is another key objective. By providing them with self-help tools and resources, they can be assisted in solving their own problems, thereby eliminating the reliance on service desks and reducing request volumes. Further, self-help provides users with a personalized experience, which goes a long way in enhancing user experience.
Automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as software installations and employee onboarding and offboarding related activities, can also reduce the service desk workload significantly. It minimizes manual intervention and eliminates redundant interactions that can be handled entirely through automation. Not only does it facilitate the creation of an agile and streamlined service desk, but also boosts organizational efficiency. Above all, it saves time and resources that can be invested in more critical initiatives of a strategic nature.
How to strategize?
Businesses are transforming their service desks, and there is a noticeable shift toward human-centric service desk modernization. Digital technologies are being leveraged to make life easier for humans across both sides of the service desk: customers/employees and agents.
The benefits of this approach are numerous: improved and holistic customer experience, reduced costs, improved productivity, and quicker resolution, among others. And technologies such as chatbots, AI/ML, cognitive automation, and RPA – individually or in combination – can help businesses strategize and implement a human-centric service desk. Let’s take a look at how.
Customer journey mapping
Mapping the customer journey is a foundational strategy in deploying a successful service desk. From initial contact to issue resolution, it is essential to understand and visualize every step of the cycle and identify bottlenecks and pain points. Evaluating specific and common requests or problems can help gather insights from a user’s perspective. Such an exploration provides a comprehensive understanding of what the existing customer experience is and the potential for creating an ‘ideal’ one.
This helps create a library of customer personas, where the role of AI/ML tools, such as AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, can be critical. With the ability to gather and analyze inexhaustible amounts of data, they can provide valuable insights into customer patterns, trends, and behaviors, thereby enabling the delivery of personalized and empathetic experiences. A study by the Aberdeen Group stated that customer journey mapping can enable over 10X improvement in the cost of customer service, highlighting the financial benefits of the practice.
Persona-based knowledge management strategy
Creating personas serves no purpose if their knowledge needs are unmet. Therefore, it is vital to adopt a knowledge management strategy that is persona-based and targets key persona sentiments. It requires organizing and categorizing knowledge articles, FAQs, and other relevant resources in alignment with the needs and preferences of every persona. Through such an approach, the service desk can ensure personalized and targeted support is offered to customers. An effective knowledge management strategy can be built on a simple framework.
According to a Gartner survey, 47% of digital workers face difficulties in finding information or data required for the effective execution of their jobs. AI can improve knowledge management by automating tasks and processes such as data mining, search and retrieval, and user profiling. In addition to this, automated technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) can streamline the curation and organization of information and also provide quick access to relevant knowledge articles to service desk agents and customers.
Access to service desk cannot be limited or rigid; based on the urgency of a request, a user must have the flexibility to choose their preferred medium to interact with the desk. A multichannel communication strategy can enable this. From phone support and e-mail to multiple self-service platforms, live chat and unified communication, modernization must empower users to engage at their convenience. Along with guaranteeing the timely resolution of requests, it also provides a tailored solution.
Through integration, if tickets and requests are raised by users across different platforms, desk agents can receive a broader insight into customer concerns, enabling swift and satisfactory resolution. Cognitive automation holds and shows great promise here. Leveraging complementary digital tools, such as conversational AI and NLP, can offer various benefits, such as facilitating availability of information, reduced need for repeated inputs, and call management by virtual agents themselves. According to Econsultancy, 80% of businesses are aware that having a multichannel strategy is integral to their company’s long-term success
Human-centric technologies paving the future
Human-centric service desk modernization is not a future trend, rather, the present norm. Organizations across banking, financial services, retail, healthcare and other industries are increasingly transforming their legacy desk systems to improve the customer experience and digital dexterity. For example, organizations are integrating service desk solutions into functions such as IT asset management, access and event management, IT service management, and service level management with a vision to have a unified desk across business functions. Technology companies are consolidating legacy tools and features in their service desk environment with cloud-based platform solutions to offer better service desk support experience to their employees.
The above use cases demonstrate that a human-centric service desk modernization is an attainable goal for organizations across industries. They also underscore the importance of the right partner in building these advanced systems. With technical expertise, established best practices, troubleshooting capacity, and integration capabilities, among other competencies, the right solution partner can help achieve organizational service desk objectives.
#Mean Time To Resolve
#Customer Satisfaction Score
#Human Centric Experiences
#Service Desk Modernization
#Self Help Desk