By ITIL® from Experience©
When the Service Desk exhausted its ability to resolve an incident or is unable to fulfill a service request they typically assign it to another IT group or a supplier. ITIL® refers to these assignment as a functional1 escalation2.
It is common for recipients of functional escalations to complain about the quality they are receiving from the Service Desk. Typically the grumble is that:
- Key information is missing
- Troubleshooting was not done properly
- The incident resolution was obvious
- This is simple; everyone should know how to do this.
At a software company, the 3rd level technical support referred to the “garbage” and the "degree of crap" coming from the Service Desk.
Unfortunately, many Service Desks are staffed with entry level, junior people starting their IT career. Of course their knowledge cannot be compared to a technical specialist with decades of experience with a specialization in a particular field of IT (e.g. network, servers, app development).
Quality issues can be addressed by implementing Quality Assurance3 or Quality Control4 methods. Quality Assurance refers to procedures in place to ensure that process activities are performed to the expected level of quality (i.e. during the production process). On the other hand, Quality Control are methods to detect problems in the outputs.
The following can be done to improve the quality of functional escalations of the Service Desk.
|Quality Assurance||Quality Control|
||New Employee orientation/onboarding|
Another approach is to engage the IT specialist team(s) who complains the most to create and review knowledge articles and checklists mentioned above. The message is, “help us improve" by: a) giving the Service Desk something to follow, b) if they do not give anything to do, they will get everything assigned to them. However, the deal is that if the Service Desk staff does not follow what was given to them, they need to escalate the issues to the Service Desk management and they will have a talk with the culprits.
None of these methods is a silver bullet in itself. Several methods should be used simultaneously to improve the quality of the Service Desk escalations. Lastly, try to avoid creating additional layers or tiers in the service desk organization. This unnecessarily increases resolution time and depletes skills at the front line resulting in more escalations.
Seeing an increase in the First Call Resolution metric, a reduction in the number of hierarchical6 escalations and a reduction of complaints by co-workers around the water cooler are indicators that these methods are working.
Last updated on: 2016-12-09
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Copyright 2016 - ITIL® from Experience© - D.Matte