It was once the first step on the IT career ladder. Yet now IT support jobs are growing in stature and becoming a business critical role. Eric Wright of Richmond Systems explains what has changed and what it means for service desks in the future.
Rather than being treated as an entry level job, IT support is now being taken seriously by businesses. Pay raises are being handed out to IT support staff as organisations realise they need to try harder to retain skilled workers, and the number of IT support jobs are predicted to grow 10% in the next 10 years.
Hang on – what about automation?
This news might seem counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t IT support being increasingly automated? I’ve spoken on SITS Insight before about the power of self-service to eliminate tickets without expensive human involvement, and there are countless examples of this happening all around us. If, therefore, support is shifting to automation, why isn’t the value of IT support staff plummeting?
The keyword is this: value. IT support staff processing tickets by essentially following scripts/workflows and FAQs offer no value. However, if you take these routine interactions away from the service desk/customer support staff, a profound shift takes place. Rather than spending 30/40/50% of their time – in some case even more – processing these simple, yes/no transactions, support staff can focus on delivering an excellent customer experience.
If IT support is shifting to automation, why isn’t the value of IT support staff plummeting?
And this doesn’t mean the happy-clappy idea of customer service, in which the analyst says please and thank you in a pleasing tone. This is about enhancing the customer experience, which in IT terms means fixing problems that are stopping people working effectively. Problems that once solved allow the individual to work faster and do a better job. When IT support staff fix THESE problems, they truly delight the person they are helping and improve business performance at the same time.
A good IT support professional will offer this value multiple times, over multiple days, affecting all manner of staff and business practices in a powerful way. It goes without saying that this makes these individuals very valuable to the business. Which is why rather than treating IT support staff as the lowest common denominator, elite IT support staff are highly in demand.
Ideas not resonating?
If this shift is resolutely failing to play out within your organisation, it’s likely you’re still following the old break/fix ticket processing model. This needs to change. It is a deeply inefficient model because of the labour costs, plus it’s very damaging to staff morale. Processing transactions is unsatisfying and demeaning for anyone – let alone highly intelligent IT professionals. If you can automate the non-value add IT tickets and issues, your business can similarly elevate the value of the IT support professional and indeed make them a business-critical asset.
If you need help improving your customer self-service and IT support automation, get in touch via LinkedIn, I’m happy to share some ideas.
Read Eric’s other blog: Can you improve your customer support portal in one hour?