Make End-User Satisfaction a Priority with Your Service Desk

A hand is pointing to "Excellent" on a Customer Satisfaction survey

No CIO’s going to go on record and say his employees’ satisfaction with the service desk’s performance doesn’t matter. But the fact remains that, when IT operational budget is subjected to financial constraints, customer service quality usually takes a back seat to a lower cost alternative. But even if an off-shore, log and route solution is your only option, that’s all the more reason to check the pulse of your employee’s perception of how IT support is being delivered. Whether your corporate culture is more Google or Dunder Mifflin, a lot of those common operational themes associated with employee retention (i.e. proactively encouraging input, autonomy with daily tasks, and teamwork with friendly, professional colleagues) are directly aligned with maintaining an effective service desk that bolsters their daily efforts. And measuring end-user satisfaction is a fundamental part of that. Doing so not only prompts continual service improvements driven by first-hand experiences and suggestions, but it delivers a message to the employees that their opinions count.

How and when are customer satisfaction surveys generated? Typically, whenever an incident is closed in the ITSM platform or ticketing system, it automatically sends that end user an email indicating that the agent believes that the problem has been resolved. The user then has the option to respond to a brief survey rating the service that they received. Understandably, an end user who has just resumed application functionality after an interruption in workflow may not be inclined to participate in a substantial quantitative and qualitative survey and offer comments, but it’s important to give them the option. Why? Because people who take the time to complete them in spite of their busy day tend to be the ones with the most to say.

ABS Director of Operations Hector Gonzalez concurs. “The service desk rarely receives substantive comments from the lukewarm end user. The more outspoken feedback tends to range from the rave reviews praising the agent who provided exemplary service to those less than satisfactory critiques of how their incident was handled.”

Any responses that indicate that they are not satisfied are immediately escalated to a manager for follow-up. The manager then reviews customer satisfaction surveys, call recordings and ticket details, and if appropriate will contact any dissatisfied customer to determine if corrective action is required. If a problem is within scope (“unhappy with Outlook” would be out of scope), managers are tasked with proposing process improvements to prevent future incidents (call avoidance) or to improve response capabilities to satisfy the customer. “Frequently, we’ll research negative feedback to learn the displeasure stemmed from a delayed new device approval or an issue with an onsite technician,” adds Gonzalez. “But since it’s the service desk outsourcing vendor that generates the survey, it’s the service desk that fields the lion’s share of all IT related grievances and captures that data in its reporting package as it should.” That way, during operational review meetings, the team lead can make recommendations for improvements to the client’s IT management, whether it involves adding a backup individual for an absent approver, recommending additional technical training, or fixing a gap in the supply chain workflow. As the eyes and ears of operational hiccups in the people, processes, and technology, the service desk should remain the sounding board for all end-user feedback.

Likewise, in the event an agent receives negative feedback from the end user, best practices dictate that the team lead or supervisor immediately review this information with the individual. Furthermore, whenever applicable, it is recommended they listen to any recorded calls and/or video screen captures along with the agent and then work with him or her on any corrective actions required.

Whether service desk support is outsourced to a third party or handled in-house, so long as the ITSM platform or ticketing system being used has customer satisfaction survey capabilities, the management team should make full use of them. Organizations prone to deactivate that feature due to excessive negative surveys really need to reconsider whether silencing those voices is a wise decision. Regardless of whether they choose to accept the validity of each individual’s opinion, cumulatively it’s indicative of a much larger problem that should be addressed with greater urgency.

How is the customer satisfaction rating typically calculated? Simply put, it’s achieved by dividing the total number of survey responses indicating overall satisfaction with the service of the service desk agent by the total number of responses rating the service of the service desk agent. For contractual purposes, there is usually qualifying language related to sample size. For example, if only two end users submit a survey for the month and one of them is negative, the service desk satisfaction rate would be at 50% so a minimum participation level is normally set to ensure the accuracy of the sample size.

So even if free lunches, massage rooms, and nap pods aren’t within your annual budget, building a world-class employee friendly environment doesn’t have to be out of reach. It can all start with offering a professional, Level 1 team that delivers a swift resolution to all of their IT-related incidents and service requests…and….. being open to feedback.