IT Managed Services Blog

The Difference Between First Contact Resolution and Level 1 Resolution

Posted by TJ Mitchell on June 20, 2017 2:03:00 PM CDT

When establishing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for new clients, this question occasionally arises: What's the difference between First Contact Resolution and Level 1 Resolution?

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Tags: SLAs, Level 1 Resolution, First Contact Resolution, FCR

Try Before You Buy Service Desk Test Calls

Posted by TJ Mitchell on June 8, 2017 1:52:00 PM CDT

As any consumer will tell you, the best way to remove buyer’s remorse from the purchasing process is to offer a money back guarantee. This typically applies to retail transactions that take place either on line or in the store for any durable good that’s less than an ideal fit or not quite as advertised. The concept works well with products, but it’s less frequently offered with services where the commitment can have far reaching, long term consequences. But imagine if you could have a trial period with a service desk outsourcing solution and gauge the quality of the agents supporting your environment before you buy. Since they’re the ones who will be on the front lines communicating with the end users every day, it makes sense for them to give an advance preview of what that support experience is going to be like.  Potential clients shouldn’t have to make such a broad leap of faith before selecting a service desk vendor which is why test calls may be the ideal proof of concept.

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Tags: service desk test calls

What’s So Sleazy about Inbound Sales?

Posted by TJ Mitchell on June 1, 2017 2:05:00 PM CDT

One of the reasons most people are reluctant to move into sales is they consider it nothing short of selling one’s soul, submitting to the dark side of human nature. I’m no psychiatrist, but perhaps there’s an irrational fear of appearing like a sleazy and disingenuous pariah who blights the corporate landscape through deception and greed. It’s a genuine concern and somewhat steeped in tradition. Indeed, the classic view of the role is a dishonest pressure seller who foists on unsuspecting buyers a product or service that they don’t really need, interrupting their busy day with a lot of fast talk, a lot of hooey. With inbound sales, the pitch is slightly different.

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Tags: inbound sales

Service Desk Outsourcing Ticket Ownership Communication

Posted by TJ Mitchell on May 11, 2017 2:05:00 PM CDT

A core goal of any service desk outsourcing solution is to maximize First Contact Resolution (FCR). Service Level Agreements are established to hold the vendor accountable to hitting those numbers and getting end users fully operational ASAP. To achieve those target metrics, Level 1 service desk agents must be fully trained on the client’s IT environment and unique processes. In addition, agents must have access to the necessary systems to perform their troubleshooting tasks. To support FCR, operational review meetings are conducted regularly to identify gaps in access, training, or documentation and bring more incident categories into the realm of the remotely resolvable. That being said, there are a number of contact types that remain outside of the Level 1 agent’s control to resolve and must be escalated to another group. They often require the following:

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Tags: service desk communication

Problem Management: Identifying Problems and Alerting Clients Quickly

Posted by TJ Mitchell on May 2, 2017 2:25:00 PM CDT

As the first point of contact with every IT related issue, the service desk is best equipped to check the pulse of what the end user population is experiencing and detect larger problems that may be leading to the incidents they are reporting.  Operationally, the symptoms of problems are like raindrops. If enough are concentrated in one area and build in frequency, a flood of calls is on the way. It’s important to get ahead of the problem management process and stem the tide of end user downtime and rising service desk costs to address major technical hiccups. As with any problem, the first step is recognizing that you have one. Here’s how:

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Tags: problem management

How Expensive is a Cheap Help Desk Outsourcing Solution?

Posted by TJ Mitchell on April 25, 2017 2:03:00 PM CDT

Though the above question can easily be construed as rhetorical, any organization that has ever leaned heavily towards the lowest cost provider when evaluating help desk vendors, has likely lived with the consequences of buying low. It’s no question that the quoted monthly price looks attractive, but what many companies fail to consider are the internal costs of picking up the slack for a subpar solution until it’s too late. In many cases, the client IT staff find themselves resolving more incidents that have been unnecessarily escalated or managing help desk agents in lieu of vendor management or doing their own reporting and trend analysis. Those “soft costs” often go overlooked, because they aren’t tracked as well as vendor activity and therefore don’t figure into the bottom line of running the solution. The reality is that organizations that compete primarily on price are forced to cut corners to enable those savings.  Below are some common areas (i.e. frequent offenders) where low price providers cut back and pass those costs on to their clients.

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Tags: help desk pricing

Service Desk Communication: Top 5 Operational Topics Worth Mentioning

Posted by TJ Mitchell on April 11, 2017 2:05:00 PM CDT

Maintaining a fully function service desk requires teamwork driven by consistent, candid, and proactive communication. Actionable information must be frequently relayed to staff with the relevant skills and willingness to contribute to the solution. Otherwise, when operational issues are kept on a “need to know” basis, unwelcome repercussions tend to follow over the long term. Agent supervision is the primary component of any service desk solution’s success, but for the organization to thrive crucial information must be disseminated conscientiously and promptly. Like spokes on a wheel, that one-on-one communication must connect to a hub whether that be via weekly meetings, group emails, or a Skype for Business collaborative session. Of course it’s important to separate the trivial from issues that have major impacts on clients so below is a best of five list of topics worth mentioning at the service desk.

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Tags: service desk communication

SMART Objectives: Service Level Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding

Posted by TJ Mitchell on April 6, 2017 2:15:00 PM CDT

For many service desk outsourcing organizations, maintaining client satisfaction is all done by the numbers. Establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) objectives and leveraging the people, processes, and technology to deliver on those objectives is the perpetual operational mantra of the service desk team. Before those objectives are put in place, it’s important to thoroughly document the scope of services and determine an achievable level of commitment.  An important distinction is whether or not Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) are appropriate for the client.

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Tags: Service Level Agreements, Memorandum of Understanding

Service Desk Client Satisfaction and Account Management

Posted by TJ Mitchell on March 21, 2017 2:24:00 PM CDT

What is the role of a service desk account manager?

The account manager serves as the client liaison and advocate and works closely with service desk management to exchange information, communicate client perceptions, relay requests for process changes, and ultimately address client concerns in order to promote satisfaction. While satisfaction and perception can both be subjective terms that are difficult to quantify, they are very much real and visceral and simply cannot be ignored. Read More

Tags: service desk, client relationship building, client satisfaction survey

Impacts of Aggressive ASA Requirements on Service Desk Staffing Costs

Posted by TJ Mitchell on March 9, 2017 2:05:00 PM CST

“Thank you for calling the service desk. What’s your emergency?” OK, so maybe the traditional 911 operator greeting could be construed as sarcastic if spoken by an agent responding to an Outlook plugin issue, but it does put the level of urgency into perspective when comparing lightning fast response times for relatively minor inconveniences with those of a four alarm fire. At the service desk, faster isn’t always better. For this reason a CIO or manager will often consider the financial consequences before setting an overly aggressive Average Speed of Answer (ASA) target, particularly the less efficient use of resources to deliver on that metric. Certainly, a five second ASA is achievable and certainly any interruption in fully functioning IT assets can feel like eons to the end user awaiting live agent support, but staffing for that target on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis can drive up costs unnecessarily when compared to more realistic, industry standard SLAs. While monthly reporting and analytics may vary from one organization to another, an overwhelming majority of IT support issues, barring ones that pertain to urgent patient care for medical practitioners, are not life or death. On the other end of the spectrum, interruptions in any employee’s course of work also come with a real cost that cannot be taken lightly. That’s why most organizations compare the costs and strike a balance before setting an ASA too high or too low.

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Tags: service desk staffing

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