Customers bypassing the Service Desk

An open discussion on issues related directly or primarily to the service or help desk.
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JeffGarban
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Fri May 20, 2011 2:38 am

Hi Everyone,

I am Jeff from the Philippines and my company is currently rolling out Service Desk, Incident & Problem Management.

I have an interesting question here.

Prior to implementin a Service Desk, our customers are allowed to call anyone from the Support Team. Be it the Desktop/Laptop Support, Network Admin, System Admin, our Chief Technology Officer, etc.. Basically anyone from the IT Department.

Now that we have formed a Service Desk, we want every call to pass by SD so that we can properly log and monitor the calls from opening to closing.

Question is, what if the customer already knows who to call for a specific request or incident and they decide not to call Service Desk. What would be a good thing to do here? I think it would not seem right if the called party will tell the customer, "Hi Ma'am/Sir, sorry you have to call Service Desk first."

Wouldn't it be an additional step if the customer still calls SD despite knowing who to call. The customer would think, I should have called the App Developer directly because I called Service Desk and then they still forwarded the call to him.

Your thoughs on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
~ Jeff, The Philippines


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UKVIKING
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Fri May 20, 2011 4:27 am

Jeff

This is almost a stupid question that you have asked

My first counter question is as follows

What is the purpose of the Service Desk - other than to have warm bodies to sit in a chair and look pretty ?
Is there a service request / incident management tool
What is the purpose of the expenditure for the SD, the incident mgmt tool ?
And now a statement

Yes, it is appropriate for the directly called people to say - please go through the service desk and raise a support ticket
John Hardesty
ITSM Manager's Certificate (Red Badge)

Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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Diarmid
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Fri May 20, 2011 2:58 pm

Not only appropriate, but rather important. John just loves understatement. In fact try changing all the telephone numbers so that they have little choice.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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JeffGarban
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Sun May 22, 2011 8:46 pm

Hi UKVIKING & Diarmid,

Thanks for your replies. I am humbled to receive comments from you.

I am asking the question on the customer's standpoint. As a customer wouldn't we feel it's too much of a hassle calling the Technician directly and later on being told to call Service Desk first?

Or would there be a technique to slowly convince the customers to start calling the Service Desk instead of the Technical people immediately.

We were thinking of replacing all phone numbers too but it might be a bit too harsh. We might get a failing score on our customer surveys.

Thank you guys very very much!
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Diarmid
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Mon May 23, 2011 3:03 am

Jeff,

firstly, you have to distinguish between the customer and the user here. The customer is concerned for overall service provision, the user may only be concerned with some small part of service that impacts their role/tasks.

Why does it benefit the customer? Well, it is largely about control and priority. When a specialist technician receives a call directly, s/he is interrupted in whatever task and this may be an important task; s/he is diverted to work without assessment of priority; s/he takes on a task that may well have been within the scope and capability of another technician, possibly one with less skill and experience, but perfectly capable of this task, and possibly not working on anything so important at that time; s/he may be distracted by yet another call from a user and put down one or other task for later, without leaving a record available for someone else to pick up the stray task (you can set it up so that whoever receives the call follows the formal call logging and assignment activities, but then you are using highly skilled staff time that could be better applied to other work). If your service desk staff are not in control of the loop, how do they monitor and chase progress according to urgency.

So you say to the customer, if your staff call my experts directly, they will spend 30% (say) of their time working on low impact issues and, not having the big picture, your more urgent requirements will be at risk of taking much longer to service.

The bottom line is that if it is more effective for you to have control of incoming requests/incidents then your service to the customer (not always to the individual user) will be better.

So you get the customer on-board and they support your persuasion of the users, and you explain it all to the users as well, making them think about the bigger picture, and you explain it all to your own staff for the same reasons. I know that sometimes it is the IT staff who are against this "interference" in their well-developed good relations with (some of the) users and they like being able to pick and choose what to do.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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JeffGarban
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Mon May 23, 2011 8:42 pm

Hi Diarmid,

I sincerely appreciate your response to my query. This is by far the best explanation I have received or have read on the net.

Thank You very much!

And now, I'm off to presenting this arguement to the Management.

Thanks for the help!

Best Regards,
~ Jeff
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