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How to improve the culture of the service department and promote services provided

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

It seems an overwhelming number of our colleagues only contact the service desk when something is wrong. Of course, that makes a great deal of sense – why contact the service desk when everything is moving forward smoothly?

For those of us working with the service desk, the sentiment listed above is no surprise – far from it. As the leader of several consultants who work with dozens of excellent organisations, we know this is one of the most pressing concerns these internal teams face. In many organisations, service desks are synonymous with “the fix-it-when broken” crew.

Changing this perception among users results in steps being taken, of course, but doing so requires introspection and focused effort. Some of the essential steps that service desk leaders can take to mitigate this perception is to look in the mirror and reflect on the experiences of their users while acting to better their experiences rather than constantly reacting.

What is the identity of the service department?

Before you can begin, you must first understand your identity as a service desk. For example, determine how your team provides value to the users within your organisation? Next, determine what the services offered are, as well as how. From there, you can determine what products you make available to users – other than break-and-fix repair and response. Finally, and most importantly, reflect on how you communicate these points outwardly to your user base, which is the organisation as a whole.

Based on these questions, you can address a critically important point: Is your service desk heading in the proper direction to make sure all parties are on the same page – or are you drifting away from them, toward your own goals?

The more clearly you define the service desk's purpose and its offerings, the better you can communicate it with your users, and determine most efficiently what they expect and anticipate from you.

During this identity exercise, be careful to determine where you want your service desk to be compared to what it is now. Establish targets while remaining realistic with what you can do and how you communicate that; doing so helps increase transparency within the service desk and for your customer.

Empower your users by offering knowledge to them freely through a digital service catalogue or through the services provided and how they are delivered. Establishing a strong culture within your department means you can utilise it! Do this by branding your service department to raise your level of recognisability.

Determine who users are

Unsure of who your users are? Consider creating user groups so that you can define your user, reach out to them, and receive feedback. There is no need to make assumptions about what they need and want when you can speak to them face to face.

In these discussions, opinions often are more important than facts. It may be a fact that you can deliver X in Y amount of time, but if it feels long to the user, then that is what matters.

Next, consider creating customer personas: stereotypical representations of users used to anticipate how different groups may react to changes to the service offered or alterations to the self-service portal.

One danger, however, with creating personas is that they can end up as nothing more than an extreme opposite personality from that of the actual IT department. In either case, with customer stereotypes, you have got to include the users in the middle to represent the full diversity of your user base.

The personas should represent several user groups. The more, the better.

Map out the customer journey

When measuring your touchpoints, address all forms of interaction. Opinions are not formed through a single interaction with your department. Likewise, very few incidents involve only one touchpoint with the service department; interactions often are complex and multi-faceted.

Remember to speak the user's language. Keep jargon inside the team because it will alienate your users. Speak to them in the same way they talk to you during every interaction they have with your team.

Promote the service department

Through all of this, you have probably developed a robust service department with a strong sense of self that understands how best to help users. Now you have got to promote your services. Quick wins include putting up posters or making business cards that you hand out to promote your services.

Whether you want people to use self-service or you want to promote a new service you have available or if you want to emphasise that you exist to help, you must think like a marketer to keep your branding consistent. Doing so gives you an incredibly strong identity that can help get people talking about everything the service desk has to offer.

Finally, remember that you should never be afraid to communicate feedback and success. However, you must also remain open to changing processes that best serve users so that they are in line with their needs and expectation. In doing so, show those changes off!  

Making a substantial impact on users’ quality of life

The previous steps can help your service desk make a substantial impact on the quality of your users’ work lives. What is listed here is quite simple and putting this into practice requires some introspection and a little effort. Finally, the most critical step is that you, as a service desk leader, must take, is examining yourself.

Sumit De, head of consultancy, TOPdesk UK

Sumit De is the head of consultancy at TOPdesk UK.