Join Mark Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Service Desk and objectives, part of Cert Prep: ITIL Foundations.
- The first of the four functions within the ITIL framework is what we call the "service desk". This is the single point of contact between the users and our IT service provider, really around operational types of issues, right? So, you want to be able to funnel calls so that you can manage requests, manage incidents in an organized fashion and in an efficient manner. Therefore the primary aim here of this service desk is to restore normal service to the users as quickly as possible. So, it could mean basically incident service requests and so on.
When we say "normal service", what I'm referring to there is what the service level expectations are of that service. When you take a look at the service desk restoring normal service, restoration of service can be really defined very, very, broadly, right? Fixing a failed component, managing a service request, answering a general question, or providing some instructions for users. So, it's very important to know that it's very broad-based. Therefore, staffing of the service desk, the numbers involved, those types of things, are very important for you to look at.
If your service desk, if you don't look at your service desk as a critical component to your customer service and your IT processes, you are undervaluing what this service desk can actually do for you. Ensure that you've got the right mix of people, the right number of people, and there are calculations you can go through in terms of call length, number of calls, time per call, to help you calculate the number of folks that you have on that. But you also have to look at the types of the training that you provide your service desk folks to, because that's very important because these are the people that your customers think are the IT, right? Because they're the folks they talk to, so to them, this is IT.
What's the justification of a service desk? What is the alternative? We've all seen it. Have you ever had a shotgun calling approach where you have customers call and tell ... They call down the IT tree until they finally find the person that will answer the question they want them to, right? Very inefficient, because they're calling folks who may be occupied on problem tickets, or escalated incidents, and so on. We have to be careful because the other alternative is sometimes folks have ... A customer may have that favorite person they like to call, and that favorite person they like to call is not on the service desk.
What they've just done is they've taken them away from some other critical tasks that they could do. So, we want to try to funnel those through that single point of contact that we can. It will give us efficiencies, reduce negative impact because we can bring these in and hopefully if we're trying to grow the service desk, what we could do is we can teach, learn, and understand, how to handle more incidents, more requests at the desk at that first level of support so that it allows us to be more efficient in our resources around other levels.
Service desk generally is level one support. I've seen a lot of ways which folks can combine their service desk as a level one, level two maybe, at that initial calling location. So, the levels of support, just make sure you have those identified, but service desk is that point that talks directly to the customers, okay? What are some objectives of this service desk? You'll start to see this sounds awfully close to incident management requests fulfillment. Log, categorize, and prioritize incidents and service requests.
If it truly has become our central point of contact, that's where the incident and request calls are coming. Every one of those has to have a ticket. Lifecycle ownership of incidents and service requests. It comes into the desk, we close it from the desk, particularly a customer is calling us, okay? First level or first line of support resolves incidents and requests where possible. It's much more effective for us, from an efficiency stand-front, from an cost standpoint, from a resource allocation point, to resolve issues at the first line of support.
If they can't be handled, we escalate them to level two support, okay? Or level three support. Escalate those based on the procedures, those predefined procedures. We have incident models and we have request models, okay? In those models you remember we talked about repeat all predefined steps, we talked about escalation procedures, and those may be driven by service level agreements, operational level agreements, and under pending agreements or under pending contracts that we might have. Keeping users informed of the progress. I will tell you as the vice president of IT for a data center, you won't believe the number one escalation call I receive from a lot of my peers was that somebody in their organization had submitted a request ticket two days ago and still had not heard anything back about the status.
That told me right there those bubbled up to the senior levels because the customer service in this particular organization was not as effective as it could have been. Users have to be informed of progress, and so we created this rule that said, "Good news, bad news, or no news, "just give the customer news. "They need to know that you have that "and you're actually doing something about those things." Closes all incidents, service requests and other calls. We open it, we close it. Updates the CMS under the direction and approval of SACM, or Service, Asset, and Configuration Management.
What we want our service desk to have is access to be able to see configuration management systems because that's where we have our known errors in there, we have our knowledge management information in there. In some cases, if we are given authorization at the service desk to be able to update records in the CMS, as long as we give them that authorization through change, then we can make those changes as needed. Then, conduct the customer satisfaction surveys. This is the center point in which we might be able to send those out.
Because remember, this is the part of the organization at which we are talking to customers, so no better place to initiate those than from the actual service desk itself. Okay, so we've talked about some basic objectives and what the service desk is doing. There are a couple of types of service desks we want to talk about in the next couple of sessions.
ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. This ITIL Foundations course is offered by Interface Technical Training, ATO of EXIN.