Desire bordering on the obsessive to understand how things work, why they aren’t working, and to deliver great customer service. All this wrapped up with ability to lead, empathy and a sense of humour – quite a lot to ask for. Well actually, it shouldn’t be! As we all know, working on a Service Desk can sometimes feel like a thankless task, so it is crucial that the Service Desk manager understands how to motivate their team, and ensures that the rest of the company appreciates what a great job they do. After all, your Service Desk is a key element in your organisation’s reputation with customers and the market at large, and the people working on the Service Desk can make or break it.
Getting the right Service Desk manager is key to the success of the team, and can have a huge impact on the rest of the business. The Service Desk is your window on the world in many ways. You get feedback from customers that are using your products and services, which is of huge value to the business. Motivated Service Desk analysts are solving problems every day, and can often generate some of the best ideas for new products and upgrades.
So here are my top traits for Service Desk managers:
Nerd-like obsession to understand how things work. Most Service Desk managers come up through the ranks. So when recruiting new people for the desk, keep this in mind. Even if people don’t know how things work to begin with, that driving need to learn means you can easily train them.
Passionate about Service. This one is probably the most important, because you can learn nearly everything else, but empathy for a customer and the determination to deliver a great experience is harder to instil.
Patience and understanding. This is both with customers and your team. Put yourself in their shoes, and remember how you felt when you were a new analyst, what you wanted to do and to achieve. Similarly, think about all those poor customer experiences you’ve had calling your bank, or telecoms provider (for example). Everyone explains problems in a different way, you need to take the time to understand what they are really saying.
Learn from your mistakes. This is all part and parcel of any role, but on the Service Desk, sometimes it pays to go back to a problem, even after it is resolved, if you think you can find a better way. Don’t be afraid to revisit issues. Being open and honest, and embracing every opportunity to learn, will avoid a blame culture developing and will help to strengthen your team.
Be absolutely focused on your team. Without any doubt, your analysts are the most important part of your service. They are the first point of contact for your customers when things go wrong, or they need assistance. Make sure that the rest of the organisation knows what a great job they do too.
Confidence. You are not there to make excuses but to accept the situation and move forward, so that the customer is delighted with the resolutions, and they in turn are confident in the service provided.
And finally, a sense of humour. The ability to see the funny side when you have been working on an issue for days, only to find the cause is the tiniest little error which is easily remedied. When the going gets tough, a sense of humour always helps.