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Service Management Leadership: Top 7 Qualities Your Service Desk Must Have

By Richard West, Service Desk Manager, Marval Software

We live in exciting times. Within the past decade, organisations have entered a whole new era. What used to be a straight forward sales interaction, is now an `in it for the long haul` customer service process. Businesses have realised that selling is more than bringing new customers in, and focus their efforts on increasing loyalty and retention of their existing customer base. And they look for the enterprise structure, corporate culture and technology tools that will help them move their epicentre, from products, to people.

With immediate impact on critical business objectives, such as customer loyalty and satisfaction, the Service Desk is, perhaps, the most accurate barometer of an organisation’s success. This scale epitomises the corporate ethos and releases the qualities and value each business brings to its customers.

With this new, pivotal role, Service Management Managers have to ensure their teams are aligned and share the vision and passion; that they are all in the process of enabling, facilitating and accelerating the organisation’s transformation. The Service Desk Analysts are the carriers of the new culture and should be able to infuse the message across, both within the organisation and externally.

I hear you. Being a Service Desk Manager myself, I appreciate the additional challenges and hurdles. We are looking to introduce new ways of doing things, ways to drive excellence, which require well-established processes, skillful people and the right tools. Still, I believe that the first step to Operational Excellence comes with complementing the Service Desk with an open, encouraging and supportive culture:

  1. Your Analysts have to be interested and empathetic to the customer’s situation. Customers reach out because they need your help. They may feel helpless or frustrated. It is important for them that the person who answers the request appreciates the impact and consequences and shares their concerns.
  2. The team must feel comfortable to offer opinions and alternative solutions. Make sure that your culture supports people’s initiative - and that the right assets and resources (e.g. knowledge articles) are available to assist.
  3. They must be able to engage with the customers and build a rapport. Customer Service is not about responding to requests. It is about nesting the right environment to deliver exceptional, personalised experiences.
  4. Your Analysts need to be reassuring and uncritical. It may be some unexpected error or it may be the customer’s fault. In any case, your customer is in a stressful situation. Make sure they feel comfortable talking about it without being judged or criticised.
  5. Your people have to feel confident in their ability to help the customer. Provide them with the resources they need to perform their jobs effectively and establish a clear workflow chart, where your best skilled resources will be available to supplement your first-line staff.
  6. They have to be candid and sincere - and set the right expectations. Although you want to offer your customers a quick resolution, this won’t always be the case. Being honest with the customer helps manage their expectations and increase your team’s reliability and credibility.
  7. Your Analysts must send a message that is positive. Even when it’s bad news, the message has to be delivered in a way that proves to the customer that they care, they tried and any result was simply unavoidable.

By reinforcing the roles in Service Desk and investing in people, we shall be able to embrace and integrate the new culture into our operations. It’s the first step to preparing our organisation for its new, transformed shape and form, which will help remain competitive in this new, exciting era.

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