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Service Desk 101: Staff Management

12/08/2014 by: The SunView Team

Establishing an effective IT service desk can be an incredibly complex process. Finding success in this area depends on being able to balance investment in technologies - incident management, automation, service request management, etc. - and putting time and energy into getting the staff ready to handle new responsibilities and processes. We can easily get excited about how new technologies and support modules can drive efficiency, but it is important not to let the focus on innovation lead to problems on the staffing end.

Technology helps you empower your workers, and in the end, your service desk team will dictate success. With this in mind, let's look at the core considerations you need to keep in mind when managing your support staff.

How important are support workers?
Sometimes it seems like the right training and tools can turn any individual into an effective member of the service desk team. There is a degree of truth to this sentiment, but new operational paradigms are making intangible skills more important than ever. The consumerization of IT is among the technology trends fueling new consumer expectations (regardless of whether customers are internal or external), and support teams need to be good at customer service.

The days of being able to train employees to follow proper processes and let them go are gone. Organizations need their IT service desk teams to be support experts, and the approach to training and staff development changes as the workers become more important.

3 steps to managing staff more effectively
We can't cover all of the details of how to manage a support team in just a few steps, but there are a few overarching cultural and technical themes that set the tone for a better service desk staff.

1. Create a clear culture
There are a variety of support philosophies that come into play in the service desk. You can often mix and match different ideas based on your organization's specific needs, but successfully building your staff depends on unifying these ideas into a clear culture. Is your service desk going to be so technically excellent that they can handle complex issues with greater ease? Do you want to build your service desk around peak efficiency with no excuses? Should your service desk be focused on making internal and external customers feel valued?

Your service desk team will need to be capable of doing all of these things - you want technical excellence, efficiency and customer-centric operations to exist in concert. But which issue defines your service desk as an entity? Choosing a philosophy to emphasize can guide many of your staff-related strategies.

2. Gather key data
Analytics can provide vital insight into exactly how your service desk teams work. Turning data into knowledge can create value in every facet of how you manage your support teams. Business intelligence tools that don't just gather data, but also help you visualize and analyze that information play a huge role in guiding your hiring, training and succession plans. You definitely want to talk with your service desk workers to get info about how well everything is working, but you also need data because it can provide insights that would otherwise be difficult to track down.

3. Open lines of communication
Collaboration and teamwork can help support workers deal with issues like repetitive incidents with relative ease. Getting your workers to share information, help one another and talk to managers when running into problems can create a better operational culture and help you get the most out of your staff.

Your staff may be the most important resource in your service desk, and there are many ways that you can improve management and create considerable value through your support workers.