IT help desk, then service desk and IT service management (ITSM), tools have been popular for three decades, and as ITSM has evolved as a discipline, so have the tools. The ITIL best practice framework has helped this evolution, with ITSM tools modelled on the most commonly adopted of ITIL’s 26 ITSM processes. And consequently, many IT professionals equate ITSM tools merely to process enablement, which of course the tools do – offering capabilities such as multiple end-user access and communication channels, workflow and automation, governance, data management, and operational and service level reporting. With the associated improvements in availability, operational efficiency, and the overall quality of IT services.
But is this process enablement still enough?
This might seem an odd question to ask, especially with so many people equating ITSM tools, and ITSM per se, merely to the incident, problem, change, etc. management processes. Through which things get provided, fixed, or changed efficiently, in line with service level targets, and availability is maintained. So what’s my point? Hold on, I’m getting there…
Consumerisation, i.e. employees bringing their personal life experiences and expectations into the workplace, is raising the stakes for corporate service providers, such as IT, in terms of how they deal with employee requests for services, help, information, or changes. And it’s a challenge that requires more than just improved process efficiency.
ITSM tools have already adapted to the pressures of consumerisation but there’s still a way to go
Self-service, knowledge management, chat, and other support capabilities that have flourished in consumer-world support have already been brought into ITSM tools. It’s all good stuff; but as any good externally facing customer service/support team will tell you, sadly it’s not enough.
Instead, while customers appreciate having a choice of access and communication channels, and the efficiency of contact, they want to be treated as customers not numbers (whether that be their customer, ticket, or asset number). They want more than just an easy experience; they want an experience that’s built around them. It might be that they want to feel valued (as a customer) or, in the case of handling an issue, they want the person helping them to appreciate their situation.
Get ready for the customer experience juggernaut hurtling towards corporate IT
Suppliers in the consumer-world are increasingly aiming to offer a great “customer experience” to help win and retain customers. It’s all about how the offered experiences meet the customers’ expectations.
If you work in the external customer support space, your help desk tool provider will not only be experts in enabling customer service operations, they will also provide advice on improving the customer experience to customers. And, as employees bring their consumer-based expectations into the workplace, corporate IT departments will look to their ITSM tool providers, and industry events, for help.
Thus looking forward at the required evolution of ITSM and IT support, the increased end-user expectations of corporate IT departments will translate into increased expectations of ITSM tools and the vendors who provide them. Process enablement will no longer be enough, and both the tools and their vendors will need to rise above the processes to help customers improve their customer experience.