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Posts Tagged ‘Help Desk’

A New Year’s Resolution for the Service Desk

January 5th, 2011

I love the New Year.  January is about fresh starts; hopefully you have had a break over the holidays and feel revived for the challenges ahead. On the Service Desk this is a time for renewal too, and there is no better time to evaluate your current Service Improvement goals for the year.  The business case for Service Improvement is easy to make – identifying ways to reduce costs and improve service is something all levels of management get excited about!

One of the easiest things to do is to find out what your customers’ think of the service that you provide. Many Service Desks’ find all kinds of excuses not to do this, however, by following some simple guidelines you can do a survey and get a snapshot in time of how your customers feel about the support you provide.

#1 Establish a repeatable approach to assess satisfaction and action improvements as part of a continual improvement practice. Make a commitment to survey and re-survey at regular intervals and if you want to improve response rates then share the results with your customers.

#2 Collect information within a Satisfaction Framework to create “actionable” information and simplify analysis and trending. You can measure satisfaction in key dimensions of the service for ease of analysis and action. Use a Service Quality Model to measure important service quality dimensions like: “ON TRRAC” – Timely, Reliable, Responsive, Accessible and Cost effective (see Survey Framework Overview below for more details).

#3 Focus initially on Client (IT User)  and Practitioner(IT Provider) satisfaction with the Service Desk and Incident Management Practice. (Later, you may want to consider adding a survey of the Business-Level Client (Business Executive) to help understand their satisfaction with key elements of your overall IT Services and IT Executives to see how well aligned they are with their Business’s satisfaction/importance ratings.)

#4 Execute an annual survey to baseline the satisfaction and inform annual improvement action plans. Client Surveys target users collected by business area. Practitioner Surveys target both the Service Desk and Technician level collected by group.

#5 Schedule “Checkpoint” surveys to gauge progress and to provide needed information to flag in-year corrective actions.

Client Surveys at targeted intervals throughout the year:

  1. Auto-generated short survey at the closure of every incident;
  2. Call-back short survey to a set # of users every month (closed tickets); and
  3. Optional – Warm call transfer short survey to users upon completion of their call to your Service Desk.

#6 Ensure that all survey results are routinely analyzed and incorporated into the Service Improvement Plan (SIP), results are presented to primary performance stakeholders AND that feedback is published back to survey recipients, provide them with the ‘What We Heard’ along with planned actions, ‘What We Are Doing About It’.

We make many of our tools available for use at no charge.

Start surveying your Clients (IT Users), Practitioners (IT Providers), IT and Business Executives today with ITSM Coach: Satisfaction Surveys (included as part of ITSM Coach).

To learn more click here…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reporting is the soufflé of the IT Service Desk.

April 21st, 2010

For those of you that are culinarily inclined you will know that a soufflé is made with a couple of basic ingredients; a cream sauce and egg whites, and yet the final dish remains elusive to the many that simply don’t pay attention to the details for prerequisite success. Oh, and such success is wonderful to observe - fluffiness contained within a towering cloud of caloric goodness - it is truly an elusive culinary accomplishment.

Figure 1 – The rare object d’art itself – a light fluffy soufflé produced at L’Atelier by Joel Rubuchon.

Figure 1 - The rare object d’art itself - a light fluffy soufflé produced at L’Atelier by Joel Rubuchon.

Like the fracturable soufflé, good service desk reports are easy to order but more difficult to enjoy. 

Although the ingredients are simple, the execution is questionable and the ultimate result is often unsatisfying. The particular reports I am thinking of are not operational in nature (the wham bam thank you ma’am of reports). The ones, I am thinking of are tactical in nature. These require a little more finesse, they are the thinking persons’ report, a tactical view of service desk performance that can enable service improvement and actually inform decision making. In other words, reports that provide information that is ‘actionable’. How delicious!

Anyhow, so many of these failed attempts leave me wanting more. Inadequate execution reduces them to merely visually appealing, useless and perhaps even inconsequential. 

So perhaps we should examine the ingredients and execution that can turn a miserable meaningless humble report into something worth consuming.

Ingredient 1: Consistency

Consistency is one of the few things that matter when generating decision support material. Everyone should be saying the same thing when answering the telephone, asking the same questions, and documenting the information received in the same way.

Ingredient 2: Track the right stuff!

Set yourself up for success and build a support model. Outside of the obvious items like impact, customer information etc. there are three things that the service desk needs to capture:

#1 –what was the customers’ perception of the failure (i.e. the end to end service),
#2 - what was the underlying IT reason for the failure (i.e. the provider service) and,
#3 - finally what infrastructure item was involved in the failure (i.e. the component category).

See the figure below to see a breakdown of the critical criteria that should be captured in the incident.

figure-2-the-essential-elements-fo-information-capture-for-incident

Figure 2 - The essential elements of information capture for an Incident.

These items enable simple and easy information gathering from the customer plus makes escalation of the issue through the IT organization easier to manage.

Ingredient 3: Focus on the WHAT, the WHY and the ACTION.

Generating reporting for reporting sake doesn’t work. It sounds obvious but many of us get in the habit of reviewing the same reports every month and then do nothing with the information.

If this sounds like you, STOP! 

Ask yourself three things when looking at a report:

Do I care about what this report is telling me?

If your answer is NO, move on and deal with something more important.

If your answer is YES, then you need to figure out WHY the information in the report is occurring.

Once the WHY has been determined, implement a performance tweak or involve the relevant stakeholder group and share the information with them as part of the ACTION.

In my next blog (on Monday), I  will explore a real life example of how this process works.

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , ,

Anatomy of a KPI – Mean Time to Restore Service (MTRS)

March 3rd, 2010

Mean Time to Restore Service is an important KPI that most help desks measure (or at least should). MTRS tells us about the average customer experience a user has when a service interruption is identified.

To calculate the MTRS you take the total amount of time of open incidents divided by the total number of incidents logged in a given time period (normally a month). I would recommend that the KPI only show the top 2 tiers of classification as performance on lower classification would probably reduce the usefulness of the KPI based on how most organization service their lower priority issues.

Now the usefulness of KPI is just that, ‘an indicator’. If it is going in the wrong direction (i.e. up) there is no reason to panic – the most important thing is to identify whether there really is an issue and if so then be in a position to address it as soon as possible.

practice-indicators1

The first thing to look at in regard to MTRS is to see whether Incident volume has spiked. When incident volume changes unexpectedly, the help desk doesn’t have a chance to change resourcing so the average time to restore service will often rise.

analyze-your-mtrs1

The second thing Read more…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , ,

ITIL Case Study – If you want to Lose Weight, Get on the Scale.

August 25th, 2009

Like a successful weight reduction plan, service desk improvements need to be defined based on a good knowledge of where you are and how far you want/need to go. Taking a little time at the beginning of your improvement planning to baseline your service desk practice and inform your improvement priorities will provide you with a surprisingly valuable set of information!

This blog is a follow on to the “ITIL – Not a Cure for the Common Cold!” blog where I provided an overview of a large government’s service management journey and outlined their 5-Step Roadmap to improvement.  This article will focus on getting started, using the case study organization as a guide….

Where do you start with no money, no credibility and no time?

The answer is not really all that difficult.  You have to start with a solid understanding of where you are and knowledge of where you want & need to be.  The art is then to pick the combination of outcomes and activities that will generate momentum, produce useful improvements and build credibility. Read more…

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Maria Ritchie Uncategorized , , , , , , ,

Malcolm Fry Presents ThinkITSM/HDI Makeover Contest Prize

August 6th, 2009

ThinkITSM/HDI Award Winner

Maria Ritchie - Eva Viviano - Malcolm Fry Mississauga, Ontario

ThinkITSM is excited to announce that Eva Viviano from Resolve Corporation won the HDI promotion where ThinkITSM offered a full 12 months of ThinkITSM Coach, a service that helps improve help desk performance and quality. As an added bonus, Malcolm Fry, the HDI lifetime achievement award winner, was on hand to present the prize with Maria Ritchie. Eva was looking forward to taking advantage of the benefits of a ThinkITSM subscription including the mapping of their help desk data into ThinkITSM’s Performance and Quality Reporting engine. Read more…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , ,

HDI Trillium Annual Conference - Who knew? Penguins CAN fly!

May 9th, 2009

ThinkITSM was title sponsor for Wednesday’s HDI Trillium Chapter Annual Conference in downtown Toronto.  The morning keynote was led by an extraordinary person, Vicki Keith, who holds various long distance swimming records including one by swimming continuously for over 5 days (yes, nonstop for 124 hours!). Her speech was titled ‘Penguins can fly’ and I am guilty of admitting that in advance of seeing her was thinking this was a rather silly title as we all know Penguins can’t in fact reach that airborne state known as flying. However, Vicki was quick to dispose of this preconception. She rightly pointed out that if you watch a Penguins under the water, they flap their wings and move through the water as if it were air. She introduced herself as a “penguin’ that never really fitted and it was a lifelong struggle to find her place in the world. She went on to talk about how she uses Swimming to help kids restore or gain self-esteem (read more at http://www.penguinscanfly.ca).

Vicki Keith Presenting at HDI

One story in particular was about a 14 year old girl who did not have use of her legs and built a wall of self-loathing around her disability; after seeing Vicki in action she was inspired to swim across Lake Ontario and show that her abilities truly can overcome the disabilities that I am sure everyone focuses on when they meet this tremendous athlete. In many ways, this presentation from Vicki paralleled many of the pre-conceptions that the Service Desk has to overcome in an organization. Read more…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , ,