It’s holiday season and we’re short staffed on the Service Desk at the moment. In our business, summer is the busiest season, so July and August tend to be our problem months.
In order to cope, we’re trialling a system whereby everyone in the IT Department is by doing a stint in the IT department and helping out the service desk.
The advantages are that first time fix rates improve because we have a broader range of skills and knowledge at the first line and there is evidence of skills transfer, as the existing first line team pick up useful knowledge from their more senior colleagues.
The other benefit that I’ve identified is less tangible but it I do believe that this initiative is helping us, collectively, to re-focus on customer service.
We talk about this all the time – the need to provide customer focussed services, the importance of aligning what we do to the business and value of high customer satisfaction ratings.
When it comes to customer focus, the Service Desk is at the sharp end and I think it has been really useful for other staff to spend a bit of time talking to actual users about their issues.
As well as providing the whole team with a better understanding of where the problems actually are, we’ve been able to identify a few root cause issues which have been taken back to the technical team to make a permanent fix. This has made a real improvement to our problem management process.
I must be honest, this isn’t the most popular idea I’ve ever had and while the benefits are evident, some people still see working on the Service Desk as the equivalent of an IT naughty step – somewhere they are forced to go if they underperform.
This couldn’t be further from the truth and there’s a case for saying that your best people should spend some time working on the first line, making a direct impact with a broad variety of stakeholders. Just imagine the improvement in customer perception.
The question that you’re probably all asking now is have I done my stint yet? I absolutely intend to. Definitely. Just as soon as I’ve finished writing this strategy!