Solving the Service Desk Value Problem
Assessment, Performance and Metrics – is a subject that continues to garner a lot of interest, but in reality has much less traction than the industry claims. In my travels and visits with Service Desk folks all over the central portion of the US, process assessment, KPI measurement and improving efficiency continuously get put on the back burner, right along with the IT Service Desk Value Proposition.
If there was ever a time when the Service Desk has the ability to justify and demonstrate IT Service’s value to the business this is it. Yet, in my visits with Service Desks big and small, the IT Service Desk Value Proposition takes a back seat. The Service Desk is too busy solving reactive issues. Oh yes, and living out the mantra of doing more with less, without taking the time to improve service delivery processes and functions.
Another factor that has cropped up especially during this recession is fear. People have moved into hunker down mode – deal with what comes your way as best you can, don’t raise any red flags, keep your mouth shut and basically “exist” until the end of the day, only to start the process all over again the next day. No thought whatsoever is given to improvement or examining where efficiencies can be gained (translate cost reduction). Think about asking for some outside professional help – “no way, it costs money, and no one will approve it anyway”; “don’t even think of going down that road”. Three months later your Service Desk suffered a 15% budget cut, and lost three agents – one of them was you. As you revise your resume, you start to think twice about not asking for help earlier. The efficiencies you could have gained would have far outweighed the headcount reduction and budget cuts.
Resolving the Service Desk Value Problem?
1. Identify the KPI’s the CFO understands and cares about
Perhaps the root cause of all this is the inability of the Service Desk to identify the right KPI’s much less measure them – specifically looking for ways to reduce cost thus increasing efficiency. I often hear “Hey we’ve totally got our arms around FCR, average hold times, and abandonment rates”, bottom line folks, Senior Executives and the CFO don’t care. These are terms that seriously, are still foreign to them, and possess no redeeming business value.
2. Adjust Processes and tasks that are costly
Two things they do understand are Customer Service Value and Cost per Contact – both directly related to the value you do provide to the business. This is where your focus could and should be. Can you identify what processes and tasks directly correlate to cost reduction and better customer service value? Can you translate the efficiencies gained into your value to your business? If not, it’s time to get some help talk to us here at Ticomix, we do this all the time.
3. Start with easy things and go for small, quick wins
Look where your Service Desk has Level 2 Desktop Support technicians doing simple requests or managing incidents. This should be the job of the Service Desk Agent, not L2. This year, our industry shows an ACT (average cost per ticket) for the Service Desk Agent of $22 vs. $62 for a Level 2 Technician (fully burdened cost). Say your Service Desk processes 1000 tickets per month and a 1/3 are handled by L2, and could have those tickets managed by a Service Desk Agent instead, or even automated. What would your savings be? Here’s the whiteboard math for this. If you could pull the 330 tickets costing $20,460 back into the Service Desk, those same tickets would cost $7,260. This would save your Service Desk a whopping $13,200 per month x 12 or $158.4K. Perhaps your numbers are different – try lowering the industry numbers by half, you’d still save almost $80K. That’s about nine times more than the cost of the industry’s best reporting and measurement tool SMART Reporting for HEAT, or about double what the cost of HEAT Plus Knowledge and HEAT Self Service tools would be.
Another quick win is utilizing self service or KCS (Knowledge Centered Support). The key is that they both have to work effectively – getting the customer’s issue resolved and their service restored. If not your customers won’t use it. So take the time to plan and design the knowledge base and self service portal for ease of use and valuable information that solves problems. Also be sure to evaluate and select the right tools for both. Ticomix is uniquely qualified to help you with this.
So the moral of the story is - well there are actually two.
First, if your choose to let fear get the best of you or your Service Desk people you’ll do all those things associated with fear – hunker down, behave passively, perform without the tools you really need – essentially you’ll stagnate and continue to be seen as a cost to the business as opposed to delivering real benefits and value back to the business.
Second, you'll find assessment and evaluation a refreshing experience that costs little, and as shown above, can deliver very impactful results to your Service Desk and the business as a whole. You'll find that inefficiency costs a lot to your organization, more than realize. You will also find the experience will give you the ROI ammunition and IT Service value proposition to justify the tools you need to Senior Managers and get their buy in with terms they understand and care about. They’ll respect you for this.
So the choice is yours - proactive or reactive, hunker down or stay out in front of the game, be viewed as an organizational cost or delivering real value back to the business.
Rich Ackerman is a Senior Advisor for Ticomix specializing in IT Service and Asset Management solutions, processes and business ROI. He can be reached at 779.423.6214 or email@example.com.