The importance of continuous communication with service desk users

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Communication with your service desk customers is often pretty limited. Usually such action might take place at the close of a call or when there is a major update that affects users throughout the organization. Smaller matters don’t get the same love. Communication is likely pretty thin when dealing with your customers in regard to keeping them in the loop. If the only effort you are making is minimal in this regard, you should be doing more to communicate with them. 

You have obviously ordered delivery. Imagine that you’ve been told dinner will be at your door 45 minutes after you order it. Now you have time for other things than cooking, like reading service management blogs, but after 50 minutes pass and you begin to get worried. How much longer will it take for the food to get to you? Has the restaurant received your order properly? And what if the food never arrives, what will you do then? Go hungry, make something yourself? What about the money you spent on the food you might not receive? Will it be given back to you? 

After all of that hunger-driven panic, your doorbell rings and the delivery driver is at your step you’re your order. Turns out the delivery was just delayed, but you had no way of knowing this.   

Real-time service delivery 

Fortunately, this scenario is no longer realistic. You can track most orders in real time with an app, but the situation is different in the business world where you are an internal customer of an organization. Service desks still operate in much the same manner as the example above. The customer calls for help and receives a confirmation of a ticket submitted. An email is sent back saying that the call will be handled in the order received. Then the customers waits. However, the longer from the service desk takes, the more the customer questions whether the call has been assigned to anyone, and likely lead to regularly escalated calls to the service desk that become less friendly with each one. 

The service desk likely has a pretty good reason why it can’t get to or close a in an immediate fashion -- waiting on a third party there’s a backlog – but that doesn’t mean you can’t not communicate with the customer. Even if you are unable to respond with a notice of completion for the issue submitted, you need to keep in touch with your customer.   

Keep in touch with your customer 

The key for successful service desks are communication. No matter the reason for the delay, tell your customer about it – what’s holding up your action on the call? As long as you let your customers know what it happening with their claim, there is the very really possibility that they will understand the slow down (as long as it’s reasonable). Most customers won’t mind waiting, as long as they know their call hasn’t slipped through the cracks, and as long as you promise your customer you’ll keep in touch, even if there aren’t any changes in the status of their call. 

You can do that in the following way (it’s revolutionary!): Clearly indicate when your service desk will get in touch with the customer. That doesn’t mean you always have to reach out by phone. In your self-service portal you can publish the date you hope to close the call. If that date getting close, send the customer an update. Make the message friendly. 

Sometimes a request for service keeps getting drug along even as the service desk is powerless to do anything about it. Be honest with your customer in those cases, too. Let them know about the problem and why it’s not getting handled. Lay out the customer’s options. In the very least, customers may be better able to understand that you are taking the issue seriously. Perhaps these folks, or so is the hope, they may be more likely to feel a bit more positive about working with your service desk. 

Improve the customer journey 

A side note to this conversation must include the mapping of the customer journey. Optimally, you’ve worked through all of the potential roadways customers can take in their cycle when dealing with the service desk. This is important because it formalizes your entire service delivery processes as seen from the perspective of your customers. In this way, you are able to look at several ways in which you handle a call and more of the things that they must take on when addressing the service desk. Whatever the customer experience, you should be able to note it if you have mapped their experiences.   

Such an approach means that you should be able to see exactly what needs to be done between a call being logged and the resolution through the service desk. If you find more your timeline has nothing between the call and the resolution point, you need to add some detail otherwise you are not capturing the truth of the journey for each of your customers that whatever point they may be experiencing.   

Communication is one of the most important aspects of a successful service desk. This is easy to say but harder to accomplish. If it’s true that you provide a lack of communication to your customers, or if you’re guilty of only communicating with them at the close of the call, you can’t expect to serve then the best of your abilities, or to help these individuals become advocates for your service organization.    

Communication with your service desk customers is, unfortunately, usually pretty limited. Usually such action might take place at the close of a call or when there is a major update that affects users throughout the organization. Smaller matters don’t get the same love. Communication is likely pretty thin when dealing with your customers in regard to keeping them in the loop. If the only effort you are making is minimal in this regard, you should be doing more to communicate with them.      

Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord, President of TOPdesk US 

Image Credit: Lenetstan / Shutterstock