Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

ITSM Service Desks Play a Dangerous Game by Saying ‘No’

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This blog comes from Michael Jenkins, a Technical Business Consultant with Cherwell’s UK team. Michael recently joined Cherwell from First Rate Exchange Services, where he was a Service Desk Manager.

Mark Lillywhite’s (of Matrix42) viewpoint on Service Desks saying ‘no’ to highly influential people is a story I’ve come across throughout my IT Service Desk career. Mark is absolutely right – “No” is a dangerous game – especially in regards to devices that “by design” are easier to use (iPhones, iPads) and easier to support. You’re playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun if your customer has or will have a choice in the future about where they get their support from.

Create conversations with your customers or suffer the consequences. Value comes from conversations.

If you’re reading this from the front line (1st Line, 2nd Line Support), I salute you! You don’t get the recognition you deserve, but let’s manage upwards. Your boss needs visibility of what you’re saying “No” to because if you’re saying “No” without context, you’re failing your customers.

Formalise the discussions your Service Desk has about new gadgets, and think about if they can work in your company or enterprise. Even if you’ve evaluated the device or technology, giving context around “No” makes it more palatable for the customer to understand WHY they cannot connect their work e-mail to their iPad (for example). Managers: Incentivise your staff to be industry aware; measure and reward valid contributions!

Include customers in the discussion. Perhaps form a User Group and listen to what your customers’ technology challenges are and how they want (or need) to access their work data. Do your customers need or use a tablet more than a laptop? Do their mobile phone provision cover all the bases? Is it a device they WANT to use? Can you afford to mix personal and business use on the same device? Could it save your company money? I’ve been surprised with the results in the past.

Either way, start the conversation otherwise the business may bypass the Service Desk!