Top 3 Reasons Service Desk ROI Increases Over Time

A man is pointing at a hexagon that says ROI

Considering the investment of time and resources any IT organization expends in order to launch a new service desk, it’s safe to say no one does so with the intent of it being a short term solution. In fact, most IT Directors and CIOs realize that maximizing operational value means incorporating industry best practices that not only improve service quality, but save money the longer they are in play. Here are the core reasons why support longevity translates to a bottom line benefits:

1. Improved Knowledge Management

As unique incidents arise over the life of a service desk solution, they each present an opportunity to thoroughly build up resolution procedural documentation such as KBAs and FAQs, (more self-help available). Operational review meetings are heavily focused on incident management performance with tickets that have been escalated from the Level 1 team regularly undergoing particular scrutiny from the Team Lead. For each ticket that wasn’t resolved and closed by the service desk, the mantra is “could we have resolved it with more access, documentation, and training?” If there answer is yes to any of those questions, the Team Lead proposes remediation with the understanding that expanding agent access to various systems and applications will require client authorization especially if there is a risk to data security. If the resolution may have been achieved with a new or updated knowledge article, depending on the client approval process, those changes may or may not be published directly by the service desk. Whatever the knowledge management process, filling KBA gaps contributes to the next agent resolving the same issue and, in many cases, the end users accessing the procedures through self-help.

2. More context in technical strategy

The old adage that you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been applies to a client’s technical environment, industry, culture and how they fit its corporate strategy. If the service desk provider has a long history supporting a client and earns valued partner status, it not only develops a shared vision but attains a first-hand context of its trajectory. In other words, as legacy operating systems are replaced, new ones evaluated, and applications revised, the service desk will be better equipped to make recommendations that align with client business goals, understanding what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t. With financial and healthcare industry clients, for example, the overarching consideration with any new technology evaluation is how it will impact data security. For global design firms, the Team Lead can assess and give input on third-party tools that work best in a Mac environment and what languages are offered.  In a support context, the sheer volume of end user incidents handled and resolved gives the service desk team ample perspective from which to anticipate and avoid adverse impacts or functional limitations of new technology. In addition, with increased longevity, the service desk develops more precision in identifying root causes and improved reporting analysis. Primary statistics to review include SLA performance, incidents created, aging (open incidents), and closure performance as handled by the Level 1 team. Service desk management reviews other crucial data such as the number contacts for the month, the group breakdown of productivity for both the service desk and the client’s IT staff, and finally the SCIM (System Component Item Module) that tracks the root cause of problems by classifying each predefined type. Whether reviewing real-time ticket data on a granular level or poring over a 50-page monthly reporting package, the more service desk team leads review and interpret the cause and effect correlations pertaining to incident and problem management, the more adept they become at recommending or executing the appropriate remediation.

3. Increased agent proficiency

As service desk agents familiarize themselves with a new client’s proprietary applications, scheduled and unscheduled server impacts, and procedures as well as the employees they support, their subsequent comfort level is born out in their KPIs. In fact, Average Handle Time typically drops 20 – 30% after the first 90 days of a new service desk implementation. While it never gets down to 0 seconds, call avoidance strategies aside, it tends to dip incrementally as support continues. At the same time, end-user confidence and satisfaction scores increase because they get to know each agent by name and view each as a helpful operational extension of their internal IT groups. Also, the longer an agent supports an account, the more likely they are to participate in additional training. Especially if it involves troubleshooting common or unforeseen integration problems associated with a new O/S or application rollout, agents have a seat in the virtual classroom often run by the Team Lead or client SME. Usually captured in video format, training sessions are typically disseminated to remote agents when they’re off shift in order to ramp up skills as needed. Most service desk outsourcing companies recommend an ongoing training strategy and absorb those costs because it’s in their best interest to deliver continual service improvements and retain satisfied clients.

So long as every opportunity to increase resolution rates if not prevent unnecessary contacts altogether is under review, service desk outsourcing ROI will continue to gain traction and yield those operational dividends over time. Improved efficiency and proficiency lead to improved SLAs, fewer end-user interruptions, and lower IT costs over the life of the solution. Along with fully functional, happy end users come many happy returns of the day, the month, the year, and beyond.