More than 72 percent of businesses recently surveyed by AT&T lack a strategy for hybrid work. And while there are shifts needed in leadership and culture to make hybrid work grow from operationally possible to productive, supportive technology is essential and foundational to its success.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning in “conversational help” is expected to impact business, employee productivity and customer interaction. The IT service desk sits prominently in a position to elevate a hybrid workplace. Here are a few ways to make sure help desk analysts and admins are well equipped.
Provide Secure Access and Options
Regardless of your organization’s status—on-prem, cloud-based or a hybrid mix—the service desk needs to be accessible. You’ll need the ability to connect to ITSM and other tools using the internet or VPN. Most software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools are already primed for such accessibility, but legacy systems may need to open remote access.
Do you have adequate accessible channels? Most systems can be reached via internet but when the internet is down, you need a plan B. Consider adding the option to connect by phone and a process to integrate those tickets.
Do you have tools to identify end user employees, investigate issues and fix issues remotely? There may be layers of permissions needed across the team, but all should be outfitted with secure options to get the job done efficiently.
It’s not just IT that needs access. Employees need to connect to company resources and information, too. Cloud-friendly options for these solutions might also need consideration.
Right Size Expectations for Remote
It’s a different experience, manning a remote help desk. There will be more requests, given employees’ unique workspaces, varied internet connections and speed, and disparate devices and applications. Service desk strategy and processes will need to be adjusted, and it may require more communication to put those processes in action.
The team should be clear about new responsibilities and shifting expectations—especially involving expertise areas. It may be more efficient to route tickets to experts and specialized groups. Make sure the routing process is smooth and said experts are ready!
Because the landscape is a bit different in remote and hybrid service desks, consider holding analysts to a standard different from one focused solely on ticket resolution times. Resolution times may be a better gauge of effectiveness when technology is unified.
It might make more sense to prioritize now based on technology used by critical departments, business functions or customer-facing service teams. Then, create success metrics around quality or experience (or areas your organization deems important). Either way, the team should understand and agree on ticket process changes and priority, particularly the plan for escalation.
Service desk employees need to know how to perform, and management needs a feedback loop to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Managers may need more touchpoints with analysts and admins to understand how processes are working for them.
Embrace Self-Service and Automation
Of course, the easiest idea is to give the service desk some relief. Giving employees tools to understand and resolve simple issues themselves is a great place to start. Consider developing:
- Service catalog / self-service portal
- Knowledge base with video, graphics, screenshots and other relevant images
- AI-deflection and virtual agents
- Conversational communication platforms like Microsoft Teams that support quick interactions
A long-term play that could also reduce repetitive, simple requests: employee training on technology and tools. It might take time to create and execute such a program, but it could be particularly effective down the road as you onboard a remote and/or hybrid workforce.
Processes like AI deflection, used by Tikit, help mitigate ticket overload and repetitive requests. But you may also want to address password requests head-on with strategies like:
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA): uses password and a more secure method to validate identity
- Single sign on (SSO): replaces password with more secure protocols, enabling employee to log in once
- Passwordless logins: passwords are replaced with a combination of methods to validate identity, credentials
This way, you’re addressing security and the most common service desk request simultaneously.
Make Time to Plan for Future Possibilities
Companies are in flux: some have shifted to a fully remote model, some are working to get back in-house, others plan to be hybrid moving forward. How will your service desk adjust? Is there a strategy to move from pandemic-related, high-priority tickets to address lower-priority backlogged tickets? How will processes adapt to cover remote, hybrid and in-house employees and, potentially, personal devices?
It’s one thing to have an emergency plan. But as companies settle into today’s reality, it’s a good idea to also look at how the IT service desk will evolve and plan for possibilities. For example, onboarding and offboarding are time-consuming tasks. How might automation be engaged to better support this effort and reallocate IT team members’ time? Tools that are easy to use are less likely to warrant a service desk request. Are you planning technology investment with user experience in mind?
Self-service is a growing area of opportunity that can help the service desk focus on more complex, interesting problems and take a more strategic position in the organization. Tikit addresses self-service in a conversational way in Microsoft Teams via AI deflection. This is an example of how it works.