Explore the history and evolution of the service desk.
- [Instructor] The modern day service desk as we know it is rooted in customer service history that dates back over a couple of hundred years. Think about it, when someone needed help in a village or a town years ago, they would have to get up, go to the store, or directly to a person for service. It might not have been technical service but that's where customer service and this idea of a help desk got its start all those years ago. The telephone was invented in 1876 and as technology evolved over the years, so has our ability to provide customer service.
Call centers were born in the 1960s with the ability to take incoming calls and provide information. It wasn't until about 20 years later in the late 1980s or early 1990s that the help desk was officially born. The help desk is a term that was coined by IBM in the 1980s. The help desk was born out of necessity. The PC was being utilized by people working in corporations by home users who now needed support. Who was available and qualified to support this new proliferation of customers? Well, as a customer, you either had to call the computer manufacturer or vendor or you had to figure it out yourself.
Internal organizations realized that the best bet was to have their own employees help customers versus calling a vendor. The challenges of most qualified employees were typically developers or engineers who lacked customer service skills needed to help very very low skill customers. Some companies started a catch and dispatch process so that a customer would call someone who would then just take the information, write it down, and then pass it on to someone more technical. In the end, both of these processes ended up being more costly and inefficient.
In the late 1980s through the 1990s, companies realized the need to create a formal help desk, a group of individuals who would assist customers with technical support needs. In many organizations, these individuals didn't even sit together or really even work together. Each individual had their own special skillset and only assisted customers in their particular area of expertise. The attitude was why share my knowledge with someone when I'm the expert. This knowledge-hoarding attitude was very prevalent during this time.
Individuals didn't share knowledge and the help desk wasn't a single point of contact. It was a group of siloed individuals that ultimately became a very costly, inefficient, and ineffective support model. This led to the creation of the SPOC model, a single point of contact help desk where customers had a one-stop shop point of contact for assistance versus trying to figure out who to call or where to call for assistance. This centralized model required many companies to re-engineer their processes and hire the right individuals with the right skillsets to properly support their customers.
In the late 1990s and into the 2000s, processes and technology began to evolve rapidly. Help desks started to implement processes to help run more efficiently. Looking at metrics like customer satisfaction to determine the effectiveness of the organization and using tools like remote tools, the web, self service, and eventually social media to expand support channels. During this time, the help desk started evolving into a service desk model.
The service-desk model started being adopted along with ITIL, Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a framework of processes. This service-desk model not only included the ability to handle break-fix issues like a help desk, but also added an expanded scope of services like non-IT related requests, network monitoring, and a variety of other services. Today the service desk model continues to evolve including new channels for supporting customers as new technology and tools evolve.
The service desk is looking at how to automate, how to provide even more self service options, and how to prevent incidences from even occurring in the first place. The focus is now, more than ever, on how to run the service desk like an efficient, effective, cost-effective part of the business which focuses on providing value which is the ultimate reward for customers. This brief history has introduced us to how help desks were created and how they have evolved into fully functioning service desks.
- Reviewing the responsibilities of service desk roles
- IT service desk problem-solving skills
- Diagnosing errors, incidents, and problems
- Security skills
- Key elements of communication
- Essential service desk skills
- Service desk certification paths
- Microsoft certifications
- Service management certifications
- Future service desk trends