The service desk is no longer the default method for IT support. Eric Wright says its time to rethink, rebrand and reposition the service desk to restore faith.

The service desk has a PR battle on its hands. Gartner reports that half of non-IT workers think that IT leaders don’t understand their digital challenges and therefore fail to provide suitable tools and services.

This erosion of faith in the IT department is impacting the perception of the service desk badly.  53% of millennials will always ‘ask the internet’ before contacting the service desk and this number will inevitably increase according to the same research.

If your colleagues are turning away from the service desk and demand is decreasing, alarm bells should be ringing. And if you’ve not started to adjust, it’s time to act quickly. And it starts by understanding the problem.

What’s going wrong?
The source of the problem is cultural and unavoidable.  The internet contains a wealth of information and it’s easy to access. But it is imperfect. Gaining IT support by a random internet search is flawed because it is essentially a lucky dip. Yes, there are some good sources of knowledge and IT support online. But how do you discern good and bad advice? The customer may get lucky, or they might make the problem worse.

It is this fundamental flaw which your service desk can exploit.  Your colleagues still need IT help on a regular basis.  Therefore, your aim shouldn’t be to abandon IT support, your aim is to offer a superior support experience to your customers.

It’s very simple. If the experience of gaining help with your service desk is superior to searching online for answers, you WILL reverse the trend and your service desk will remain in demand. 

The solution
Service desks must, therefore, offer a dashboard-style automated portal which will allow customers to get answers fast and log specialised issues in the most time-efficient manner.

Easy to say, harder to deliver in practice. Many service desks have abandoned or mothballed their self-service facility. Perhaps it was horrible and slow to use. Maybe it was too time-consuming for staff to update. Or it is possible that no one knew it was there.

Thankfully, the tools have improved immensely in recent years. If you combine the right tool with the right approach, creating a customer support portal that is easy to use, reduces the burden on your service desk AND improves customer experience is more achievable than you might think.

Rescue your reputation
Once you’ve created the portal, then you can begin rebuilding the reputation of the service desk. Pilot your portal with a small workgroup and hone it before unleashing it on the wider business. Once you’re confident it works well and crucially that it offers a better support experience than a random web search, then it’s time to tell everyone.

Be bold! Use newsletters, WhatsApp groups, Facebook, LinkedIn, intranet. Tell people face-to-face. at every opportunity. Champion your portal and the more it’s used, the more feedback you get and the more useful it becomes.

Service desks have a job on their hands to restore faith in what they do. The key is customer experience.

This article shows you how to improve your customer portal and win back customers.

Guest post by:
Eric Wright, Richmond Systems

Eric Wright

Managing director, Richmond Systems

Eric helps service desk and support teams become more efficient and improve the customer experience

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