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Hello? Why your IT service desk won’t be there tomorrow

(Image credit: Image Credit: GaudiLab / Shutterstock)

The service desk as we know it isn’t going to vanish into thin air.  

But, there are some clear indications that the concept of the service desk as we know it is already evolving into something else, something more innovative. The old way of responding to tickets and problem-solving in silos is over. IT support has evolved these past few years, there is more pressure from within and outside their department to see the big picture, to understand the overall employee experience, and all the digital components that can impact one’s workday.   

The service desk is evolving into the experience desk, but many in IT aren’t fully aware of the demands that truly come with this title. 

The changing service desk landscape 

The pandemic served up the perfect “excuse” to finally retire the old way of doing IT, of reacting to tickets and tech problems after the damage has already been done to users. But, with in-person support severely limited, they’ve had to get more creative and strategic. 

One way tech teams are trying to achieve that goal is by leveraging chatbot technologies and more automation. In a study released by Intercom, 50 percent of support leaders plan to invest more in automation and chatbots to increase their team’s efficiency, in contrast, companies that already use chatbots are nearly 4x more likely to continue investing in automation. 

It’s also apparent that enterprise IT is prioritizing more digital transformation projects to meet the needs and expectations of their employees. IDC predicts that spending on digital transformation projects will approach $7.4 trillion over the years 2020 to 2023. It’s no wonder competitive businesses spend big on business apps, because they know the right tools can make or break an employee’s productivity and work experience. Look at what happened with Zoom, their user base surged by 470.33 percent in 2020 alone because for thousands of companies, Zoom all of a sudden went from “nice to have” to “need to have.”  

Another telling trend is that most IT service desks are taking on more responsibility for the business and the employees they support. A survey released by Wrike, pointed to Employee Engagement (56 percent), burnout (53 percent), and reduced productivity (52 percent) as top concerns for IT leaders in 2021 and beyond.  

But before a team can truly expand its scope and call itself an experience desk, it requires a few fundamental changes. 

How IT can “walk the talk” and become a real experience desk  

For any IT team to call itself the experience desk they need to be able to implement three critical capabilities: 

1) Establish proactive IT support for both known and unknown issues 

IT will need to evolve beyond just “known incidents” submitted via tickets or calls into the support team. We know that roughly half of the tech issues that end-users face are unreported, so it’s imperative that a true experience desk can monitor performance and not have to wait for users to submit ticket. That means collating key device, application, network and employee feedback data into a single, comprehensive dashboard that makes it easy for teams to identify trends and respond quickly to say, a drop in network performance before that issue seriously derails an end-user. 

2) Analyse & act upon Digital Employee Experience (DEX) data on a continuous, real-time basis 

It’s also critical that the experience desk sets continuous benchmarks for improvement and can track progress for their employees’ overall IT experience and specific components—like a new OS upgrade.  

A one-and-done approach or even a monthly or quarterly feedback survey will never give IT the type of real-time, in-context information they’ll need when troubleshooting a connection issue or mapping out a complicated transformation project. Instead, the experience desk should have a team devoted to constantly analyzing and operationalizing their user’s digital experience data.

3) Extend self-help capabilities to a self-experience approach  

Taken at face value, a self-help approach (chatbots, FAQ pages, eLearning courses, etc.) can enable IT teams to reduce their ticket volume and automate annoying manual tasks. But IT teams have a tough time admitting that many of their self-help resources can cause more problems than solutions for employees. The list of self-help articles IT sends users, or that nuanced FAQ page they spent hours writing and re-writing, can sometimes throw employees down a rabbit hole searching for an answer.  

For example, an employee shouldn’t have to spend the morning reading through suggested articles about bandwidth throttling, because of a reported Zoom issue. Instead, IT should evolve its capabilities to a self-experience approach.

Before the Zoom meeting even starts, IT should be able to detect and fix performance issues with a comprehensive experience tool and smart automation at the application, network, and device levels. They should have the capability to send a simple onscreen message informing about the fix and be able to ask for feedback.

The pressure is on 

The pressure on the current service desk to positively impact the company’s overall DEX is likely already there. Whether your goals are to fix employee turnover, increase revenue, grow your customer base – IT will always play a vital role. 

But before fixing that organizational chart and slapping on the name experience desk, it’s important the team can truly implement the three capabilities mentioned above. A proactive, experience desk means employees will be more productive, engaged, and ultimately equating to higher retention levels.

Yassine Zaied, Chief Strategy Officer, Nexthink (opens in new tab)

Yassine Zaied, Chief Strategy Officer, Nexthink.