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

Three Key Ways to Get Your Service Desk Out of the “Fishbowl”

Posted by
Is-Your-Service-Desk-Operating-within-a-Fish-Bowl-blogThe results are in. A recent global survey, conducted in the Spring of 2015 by the organizers of SITS15 (The IT Service Management Show), Cherwell Software™, and SDI, asked service desk professionals: What is keeping your service desk operating from within a fishbowl? How does a fishbowl relate to IT?

Here is the survey publisher’s definition: “The fishbowl is an IT environment that builds so many invisible walls and limitations for itself, it can no longer see whether it even has problems that need solving; nor can it look forward enough into the future to see what ‘another way of working’ might actually look like.” Does this describe your team? This survey aimed to find out why so many service desks still spend the bulk of their time firefighting and providing a reactive service rather than innovating and finding new ways to improve services to meet business and customer wants and needs.

So, from this survey, what are the top three challenges facing those service desks trying to jump out of the fishbowl?

  1. Managing the customer’s perception of IT
  2. Finding new ways to innovate services
  3. Improving the quality of service interactions

Now, I’ve only worked within the service desk industry for three years, but during this time, I’ve read countless IT service management surveys (I’m a bit of a research junkie) and continue to be surprised that these challenges routinely bubble up to the top time and time again. Is it the case that service desks don’t have the resources or support to jump out of the fishbowl or don’t feel empowered to make the leap? Is it that service desks are lacking the required know-how and are seeking peers to guide them along the way? Well, if it’s the latter, I can share some helpful insight direct from this survey’s report.

Challenge #1: Managing the customer’s perception of IT
Solution: Implement live chat

Within this survey report, The Customer Support Manager at realVNC shares how live chat helped her team nearly doubled its output while halving the resource and effort required per request.

Challenge #2: Finding new ways to innovate services
Solution: Simplify IT support by removing technical hierarchy

The Service Improvement Manager at Fifosys explains how simplifying the hierarchy within her support teams meant that tickets no longer get lost and reach the right person sooner, resulting in a more streamlined and effective service.

Challenge #3: Improving the quality of service interactions
Solution: The Service Desk Road Show

The Service Desk Manager from the University of Lincoln describes how his team established a Service Desk Road Show to promote ICT services and the Service Desk and to improve the way the team communicates important messages to its customer. This report and its findings were discussed during a breakfast briefing panel discussion at this year’s SITS15. Cherwell’s own Jarod Greene was a member of the panel, and when asked, “What is the first step to break the cycle of day-to-day IT support,” he responded: “Is first-time resolution rate truly what you should measure? The service desk is not just here to fix problems but to solve problems it didn’t know it had.”

Lastly, the survey report provides three ideas you can take forward right now to remove your team from the fishbowl so you can start innovating and improving service delivery:

  1. Find ways to get out into the business and talk about IT with your customers.
  2. Give your team and each other the time and space to reflect on work and find those “eureka” moments.
  3. Don’t hide behind emails and web forms; instead, start communicating with your customers in new ways to increase efficiencies and to improve IT’s reputation throughout the business.