Knowledge Management

What Makes a Great Service Desk? – Behind the Scenes of Good IT Support

It takes more than a nice smile to run a great service desk. Inspired by a webcast, Aga Wicinska investigates what exactly it does take to have good IT support. In the age of the cloud, she believes money is not a real factor anymore, since we just take for granted that the service desk should be run cheaply. The elements she has found that play into a good service desk include motivated and positive people, well-managed processes, having a strong identity with a clear and well-communicated definition of its role, maintaining an open and positive culture, and having a good reputation as a place of work.

In order to approach attaining those elements, Wicinska suggests hiring for personality over skill, establishing clear services, and making sure the IT staff shows respect and appreciation for the work the help desk does. According to the Service Desk Institute, the three factors service desks should focus on are the “Wow” Factor, continual improvement, and success. The Wow Factor is the idea that the service desk is able to provide a new innovative product or service in a way that delivers real added value. Continual improvement means clearly recognizing that there is room for improvement, as well as embedding continual service improvement (CSI) into all processes and projects according to ITIL guidelines. Success is largely self-explanatory, but Wicinska adds that it is important to remember to keep everything in the context of the organization. For instance, she discusses how service-level agreements and operational-level agreements contribute to success:

SLAs and OLAs are the link between the service desk and the rest or the world. It determines what the performance is measured against but also how well understood are the business outcomes Service Desk is meant to support. Make sure you use a simple language and the targets are realistic and sustainable. And I probably shouldn’t mention the obvious: these should all be measurable too!

It requires many elements working behind the scenes in tandem to make a truly great service desk. Definitely keep smiling, but remember to back it up with a firm foundation of smart practices.

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