For many organizations the move to remote support for all, or most analysts, is a new way of working – going from a centralized service desk to working from their homes. Most organisations have had to make this move to some degree or another, but as the dust of the initial rush starts to settle, we are left wondering, “is this the best way to do this?” In this blog, we will take a look at some of the best practices to focus your support team on, as they transition to the new normal of working remote.
1. Good Service is Still Important, if Not More
A big part of what we do in IT service management is provide a good service in a friendly and thoughtful manner. This does not change when we move to a remote location. Our customers still expect us to be professional, polite and go the extra mile when needed.
It is very easy to get comfortable when working from home and slip in to the relaxed lifestyle of going to work in our track pants or pyjamas but, regardless of our dress code, our service levels and professionalism towards our work should not waiver. Keeping an eye on customer feedback and satisfaction metrics is important to ensuring the level of service that you and your team provides does not drop off with the new working arrangements.
Ensure analysts are aware that customer satisfaction is the #1 priority and allow enough time for support calls to be answered, and resolved, with plenty of time for analysts to take the opportunity to go the extra mile for the customer.
2. Knowledge Management
Maintaining knowledge base articles has always been an important part of any good ITIL practice but is often not granted the time and effort that is required to do it correctly, and in-depth enough to be useful to analysts. It is easier to get help from a colleague in the service desk room who “knows this stuff back-to-front”. As we move to a remote workforce, these opportunities to connect with the right person at the right time becomes more difficult. Especially if support hours are extended or split to cover end user’s new work/life balance approach to work.
This is where a Knowledge Management solution can come in to its own. Spend time and effort in getting a workable knowledge management system up and running, and assign task to each staff member to write up as much knowledge as they can on their field of excellence.
3. Right Tools for the Right Job
With the new challenges of remote working, it can be difficult to maintain control over what tools analysts use to get the job done and can often lead to breaches in security or general bad admin practices being used.
Ensure that you and your team are using a consistent and approved set of tools for the job role they have. If possible, combine as many administrative tasks into a single support application to ensure you only have to administer and control a single application. This enables analysts to get their job done quickly and easily, without having to install myriad applications any time they need to rebuild or move workstations.
4. Task-Based Working
Along with the location of where customers are working, when they are working is also changing dramatically.
As users are not traveling to get to the office, they often start earlier. Many daily tasks, such as the school run or gym classes, occur at a given time each day. There will be more reliable and predictable peaks and troughs in workload for support analysts. In addition, as end users have more flexibility in when they work, support hours may need to move from a 9 am-5 pm model to a 6 am-12 midnight timeframe.
This can be addressed by task based working. Tracking not the time spent on calls and support cases but rather the cases resolved in a given day. Setting up alerts and notifications for high priority cases can allow analysts to work at different times that their work/life balance will work with and still be available when they are needed, and even clean up some of the lower priority cases at any time of the day or night that suits them.
Working remote is an abrupt shift for many organizations and it is crucial for the IT service support team to adapt to this new normal so they can support business continuity when issues arise. Providing top tier customer service, having a knowledge base to reference, a centralized admin task support application and task based working that relies on prioritizing high risk cases are 4 main best practices to ensure business operations are optimized out of the office.