When it comes to keeping your customers happy, whether they are ‘paying’ external customers or internal customers such as your own staff, having the right technology pays dividends. However, technology alone is not enough. The smartest companies recognise the importance of combining technology with best-practice to create a positive corporate culture. When employees are empowered to do their best, they go the extra mile and we all know that happy staff mean happy customers and happy customers equal a thriving business.
But, where do you start? The Service Desk, often the engine room for dealing with a multitude of enquiries and issues, is the first place to consider because it represents the all-important frontline and has a vital role to play in keeping customers happy.
At Sunrise Software, we have taken a leaf out of the doctor’s note book and developed our own Five-a-Day methodology to help organisations maximise the performance of their Service Desk environment. Based on our many years’ experience working closely with Service Desk Managers and their customers, it is simple but effective, does all the things businesses are meant to do in today’s tough economic climate like save costs and improve productivity and, as an extra bonus, boosts team morale and, most importantly, improves the customer experience and aids retention.
The main ingredients of the Five-a-Day for doing just this, using today’s Service Desk are:
Service Management excellence in the Cloud
Service Desk Managers should embrace virtualisation and the move towards hosted cloud environments as the perfect opportunity to deliver service management excellence with important cost benefits. Businesses are looking for predictable cost models that allow for investment in new services throughout the year without the headache of expensive, unexpected hardware or software fixes that might affect other planned activity vital for customer retention, like training or the arrival of new staff members.
The most recently developed Service Management systems are very easy and intuitive to use. They can be rolled out across your business within weeks, rather than months, or heaven forbid, years, and be tailored to meet your unique requirements. Managers don’t even need to think about having extra servers/computers to run the systems because they can effectively run them in the Cloud.
Any device, Any location
As mobility increases, both staff and customers expect to be able to access systems 24/7. People shop online from their iPads on the sofa while watching TV in the evening, or pay their utility bills. Staff expect more flexible working arrangements, some prefer to work in the evening, having picked the kids up from school, fed them and put them to bed.
The same applies to the Service Desk. How do you manage calls in an increasingly mobile age? Is there continuity? Can your agents access the right information quickly enough? What about your agents out in the field? Can they work from home? Can they use any device with zero footprint?
Being part of what is commonly called the consumerisation of IT and introducing a secure Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy into your organisation is an important first step, giving staff the ability to access the Service Desk at all times, a fundamental part of any business continuity plan.
Having a system that is easy to use from any device, with an intuitive user interface is a powerful way to ensure that staff have the tools and flexibility to do their job. Now you need to review the ways customers communicate with you from whichever device they choose. How contactable and approachable is your Service Desk? Do you offer a full range of options including social media?
The latest Service Management solutions offer multi-channel capabilities that accommodate whatever mode of communication customers contacting the Service Desk prefer be it traditional telephone, by email or through social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Not only does this accelerate response times but it makes customers feel valued and looked after, promoting greater customer intimacy.
When it comes to social media, you might know who is contacting your Service Desk but do you know what your customers are saying about in you in the ‘chattersphere’? If someone complains about your product or service on Twitter – would you know, and if you did, how would you handle it? Service Desk managers should look for technology that includes processes for dealing with and monitoring social media so that, if your company name or brand is mentioned, someone can be alerted.
Gamify your Service Desk
Rewarding team performance has always been an important part of the Service Desk but automation makes it a whole lot easier. Gamification, where the concepts and gaming mechanics, often experienced only with home games consoles, are applied to business applications, is already recognised as an efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional incentive programmes. Sunrise believes gamification should become an intrinsic part of the Service Desk, used to create a positive culture that continually rewards exceptional performance and ultimately drives tangible improvements in IT and customer service delivery. Create your own rewards for staff: who has delivered the best customer service this month? Who has successfully closed the most incidents? Who has contributed the most valuable content to the knowledge base? Rewarding staff for their service will motivate them and the customers will reap the benefits.
Wallboards, Dashboards and Wizards
To be able to measure performance is critical to any Service Desk, and in order to do this there must be a suitable tool that empowers agents to work more efficiently and provide a better, more joined up and informed service.
By using wallboards and dashboards, one-screen summaries of real-time information, the Service Desk is in complete control with the hard data necessary to make the changes that matter to the business quickly and proactively. Critical situations that need escalating can be identified and flagged, and supervisors can see at a glance what their team is working on, and if there is any back log.
Finding a supplier whose technology is recognised by leading industry organisations like the Service Desk Institute (SDI) is another way of helping your Service Desk prove its value to the business. Vendors who have been certified as complying with the latest SDI Standard for Performance Results Reporting enable Service Desks to track on a 12 month rolling basis how they are performing against their goals. This ability to monitor performance trends over time ensures Service Desks can take pro-active action to head off performance issues before they become problems.
Service and Process Management beyond the IT Department
A successful Service Desk in itself is not enough – it should extend beyond the IT and customer service departments to other parts of the organisation like HR/payroll, Finance and Facilities. This makes customer satisfaction the central focus for everyone, the driving force behind the company by improving communication and providing a single view of the customer.
By blending the latest Service Management technology with a Five-a-Day Service Desk mentality, organisations can deliver the right information to the right person at the right time to ensure excellent customer service.