Not so long ago something changed in the IT service management industry – technical skills became secondary to customer service skills. Prior to this, dealing with IT was a challenging business and there was little to no focus on the customer – a fellow human. IT was siloed off and there was a considerable cultural gap between them and the business. The service desk had not yet become the SERVICE desk.
This all changed – led by changes in customer expectations – and customer service became the most important skill a service desk analyst could have.
Now, I think we’re going through another shift, this time, led by technology. Automation and integration are moving service desk analysts further and further away from the day-to-day tasks they would have worked on previously. The work analysts now have to do is an evolved form of customer service,they are facilitators of the service desk.
I’m not the only one who has observed this adaptation. When auditing in Romania, Adrian Magniteu, Ovidiu Spinean, David Wright and I talked over dinner about analysts transforming into the ‘concierge’ of IT – keeping a watchful eye over customer interactions and monitoring the progress of their issues across the IT organisation.
Some service desks have already made this transition with analysts taking on many of the responsibilities normally associated with a business relationship or account manager. They have a group of clients each and support their interactions with the service desk through self-service and self-help technologies. They actively engage with the business to ensure they are providing the right services and products to meet their customer’s needs. I call this individual Service Desk Analyst 2.0.
If we take a closer look at self-service and self-help, we can see customers bypassing traditional communication channels and even resolving their own issues – all under the watchful eye of the service desk. Service Desk Analyst 2.0 will be invaluable in this environment as they push the knowledge and information customers need and ensure the self-service delivery model is effective – jumping in to provide human-to-human support when necessary.
Automation has reduced the burden of repetitive tasks – often at the forefront of the service desk innovations – are increasingly moving towards this level of support. We can now see fully integrated peer-to-peer support technologies placing the service desk in the role of support facilitator. After all, it stands to reason that customers who use the technology every day are a source of expertise for other colleagues. This has been the case for a long time – consider the role of the colleague who is titled, whether they like it or not, the Microsoft expert.
Other innovations include leveraging the abundance of data to intelligently select support content this is relevant for an individual customer. In the same way, Amazon pushes relevant products to customers the service desk can push knowledge articles that will help a customer resolve a specific issue.
For analysts this environment calls for new skills; as customer service doesn’t quite cut it any more. Being polite on the phone is one thing but now analysts need project management and business relationship skills. They need to ensure that the customer experience remains seamless once the interaction has moved past the technology.
Of course, at this stage, this is mere speculation driven by conversations with service desk professionals. I hope to be conducting some research to get some tangible proof of this adaptation shortly.