The outsourcing industry is absolutely huge. It is also a pretty saturated market as competing companies bid to offer a cheaper and more streamline set of services to big companies.
The industry is rapidly changing and it is not just the major IT corporations that have the monopoly over the sector as it has been in the past. Some companies like the idea of having big, trustworthy names handling their IT and other companies like the smaller, bespoke, streamlined services. The customers also have different needs; an insurance company will have different needs to a medical service which will have different requirements to a logistics company, but they all want the same thing; a great IT service that provides efficiency and value for money. As a service desk, we need to ensure we all work together and provide the best level of service that we possibly can.
If our customers are happy then they buy more business, if they’re unhappy, they go to our rivals.
So how can we ensure that we provide the BEST possible service?
There are many ways to provide good service but they all start with the first point of contact. An outsourcing company that provides a service desk has its main assets in its employees. The agents that work on the desk need to be trained and motivated to want to help our customers with any issues they may be facing. The agent needs to be friendly and knowledgeable so they know how to deal with any issue, and how to find the answers if they don’t.
Areas to concentrate on improving:
1) KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
Knowledge is a powerful tool in providing an efficient service. No customer wants to sit on the phone in silence, whilst the agent spends hours scrolling through hundreds of articles that are outdated and unnecessary. Have a designated individual whose responsibility is to maintain articles and keep them up to date. Ensure the agents are using the articles; even when they are confident with the issue they are facing. If a material is inaccurate or outdated then the agent needs to flag this and ensure that the article is updated or removed. A right knowledge base management tool plays important role here.
2) MORE 1-on-1’s
It may sound simple, but having a regular 1-on-1 session with service desk agents allows the management to better understand the mood of the team. In the sessions, discuss the performance of the individual agent and the reasons that he or she might be struggling or exceeding expectations. Allow the agent to vent any frustrations or complaints they may have and figure out a way to address those issues. Talk about where the agent wants to be in their career and what he or she needs to do to get there. If an agent is unhappy, it will reflect in the work and the customer will suffer. This, in turn, will lead to negative customer satisfaction reports and eventually the customer will move to a competitor; it does happen often.
3) STUDY THE METRICS
Metrics can determine everything that is needed from a service desk. Metrics will show us which days are usually busy and which days are usually calm. Metrics can show us which times of year we need to have extra staff available and when we can allow vacations. The service managers and operational managers need access to the metrics so they can accurately determine what level of service is required from the agents. Nobody wants ‘Calls in queue’ as the customer doesn’t want to be on hold for a while and the agents will be demotivated.
4) INCIDENT MANAGEMENT DRILLS
Major incidents are unfortunately inevitable. You can study all the metrics in the world but something will always go wrong; it’s inevitable. When it does happen, the agents who are going to be dealing with possibly irate customers need to be aware of the situation and know what to say. The emergency team needs to be trained to deal with the difficult scenario and minimize the damage and fallout. Time really is money in business so the less time our customers spend offline and on the phone to the desk, the less happy they will be. We need to keep them online, working and updated.
5) REWARDS AND RECOGNITION
A service desk is a team, even if it feels that you are sometimes on your own with the customer. We need to work as such and share our knowledge and experience. Team building events are a must and social events will always help. Friendly competition promotes a competitive workplace and encourages employees to work harder and to work for each other.