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Shared Service Management at the Heart of a Customer-Centric Organization

February 14, 2017 No Comments

Featured article by Pedro Soto, managing director of TOPdesk US

A customer-centric organization exists because of two major reasons: Keeping your customer in mind when implementing services and when improving your services. The most important factor here is that you should try to take the customer-focused perspective when examining services to be offered then making sure the leadership in your department is also customer focused to bring those services to the actual customer. Rightly so, then, rewards for your team should be handed out to the people who are highly focused on the customer experience and those who deliver good work from the customer perspective.

To evaluate how you’re doing, select metrics that matter. Here are some simple gauges: How many calls are solved during first-time contact; give customers the chance to rate your services — you can measure this periodically, preferably combined with continuous feedback; and use the gathered feedback to improve your service and services.

Knowing that customer perception is evolving and that services are easier to use and easier to access, why then would we expect from our customers to know on which door to knock when they’re having an issue? In improving your customer service, service management, for example, is important because you don’t want to bother your customers with the question of who does what. Service management solutions solve that problem – pointing your customers where they need to go for services even if they can serve themselves.

Bear with me while I unpack this example: When I have an issue with the projector, the facility department is responsible for replacing the filter whereas the IT department will solve any issues with the projector itself. Or, the facility department is responsible for setting up projectors whilst IT is responsible for technical issues the projector may be facing. At some organizations, facilities manages the projectors and IT has nothing to do with them at all. As you can see, things get pretty confusing pretty quickly as far as the customer is concerned.

Automated shared service management solutions reduce this complexity entirely. Customers no longer need to know which door to knock. They simply log onto a portal, enter whatever their needed request may be and said request is then automatically routed to the correct department for addressing.

But should IT know everything about facilities management, human resources and vice versa? In this shared model, all of these departments are able to connect, interact efficiently, as well as streamlining operations throughout the organization.

With a self-service desk, is a representative needed?

I once visited an organization where the facilities department leadership thought that everything had to be done via its self-service desk, without a representative. Phone calls to IT were only for emergencies, but IT needed to be able to speak with people in the facilities department when dealing with complex questions, though. So, even while the facilities department took the stance that most requests needed to go through the service desk, when there was an emergency call for facilities, IT could be called. Facilities folks know who to call based on the escalation diagram posted to the service desk portal.

Even with a self-service desk as the service management solution, calls can be quite complex and may require contact between the operator and the caller, but you also have to prevent a communication channel opening outside of the service management solution. If you have channels outside the service desk, it becomes easier for the end user to avoid the service desk the next time they need assistance, which brings its own set of consequences (no registration, harder to plan tasks, working entirely in reaction mode).

When a second line operator has to communicate with a caller about a specific problem after emails are received from the sender to the service desk, ensure that the reply is always imported into the service management solution using the mail import so that the call can be tracked. The lesson here is that communication must always come from the service desk, allowing for the automation, auditing and recording of all transactions.

The main reason for service management

More than 90 percent of organizations recently surveyed by TOPdesk have more than one service desk. In many cases, more than 10 percent of calls to these individual service desks calls are meant for a different service desk within the organization. That’s an amazing waste of time for all parties involved.

The main reason for shared service management is because more than 80 percent of service desk groups identify the main benefit of forming a shared service is improving the quality of the service delivered.

Are there challenges in shared service management?

Here are several key challenges to overcome when brining on a shared service management solution: The roles and responsibilities when implementing the shared service management; a skilled vs. non-skilled service desk; cultural differences between departments when brought together; launching a student support model; and security and privacy.

- Skilled vs. non-skilled

Preferably a skilled service desk is the best approach to a service desk because the organization must take the service desk seriously, but should IT know everything about facilities management and human resources and vice versa? Perhaps, perhaps not. The best approach may be to start with a menu in the telephone list or use scripts or use standard solutions with key words.

- Should everyone be in the same actual space?

It is preferable, because you can learn from one another. However, this isn’t always possible. How do you solve this? If this is not possible there are a couple effective approaches to deal with this. One approach is to have weekly conference calls to cover training. Another approach is to deliberately build a knowledge base.

- Service desk as a single point of contact?

Calls can be quite complex and require contact between the operator and caller. But you also have to prevent communication channels operating outside the service management solution. It is easier for the end user to avoid the service desk next time, which brings its own set of consequences (no registration, harder to plan tasks, working entirely in reactive mode).

Finally, are there any challenges when dealing with shared service management? Yes, but most of those are internal to the implementing organization and the cultural therein. For example, the most common issues faced when brining on a self-service desk are the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved with its maintenance and management. In addition to that, there’s often confusion brought on by cultural differences between departments. Other factors to consider include additional relationship factors like IT people being more process-minded than people in facilities management, for example.

In closing, when implementing or managing a self-service desk and service management solutions, it’s important to maintain a customer centric focus — always keep your customers in mind. As such, it’s important to take into account the different groups of customers who have different needs based on their responsibilities and roles.

Regarding internal cultural difficulties, take your time to talk about roles and responsibilities when implementing. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, invest time in self service; don’t use it as a replacement of all other kinds of contact. During implementation, develop a clear communication strategy that lists goals and projected outcomes, and make sure the self-service portal is user friendly (go so far as to test this) so that users will want to come back to your portal time and time again.

Doing so likely will lead to an outcome that increases efficiency and buy in for your organization.

Pedro Soto is managing director of TOPdesk US, a provider of service management solutions and services for organizations across the globe.

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