Escalation management is used everywhere in IT Service Management and is also part of ITIL recommendations for organisations. Escalation processes can ensure that unresolved problems don’t hang around and issues are dealt with promptly.
In many cases, organisations to have customers’ telephone calls picked up within a specific number of rings (e.g. 3-10). The decision you make on the value set is dependent on the resources that you have available. However, the expected pick-up time should be clearly communicated to customers and Users. The provision of self-help technologies and electronic Customer registration will greatly assist in freeing up telephone lines and resources to handle critical Incidents. However, this contact point is a key influence on the customer’s perception of your service. Therefore getting the correct balance is critical to managing Customer satisfaction.
The time spent handling a Customer Incident on the telephone is dependant on available resources and their skill levels. Careful judgment is to determine when to pass the Incident to second-line support or transfer it to another area in the support department. It is essential that the main support number(s) are kept available as much as possible, especially in the case of major service failure when other customers will be calling in. Unless you have an advanced telephone system that informs you of queued calls, setting a staff talk time’ maximum is advisable to ensure that all customers Incidents are handled promptly and confidence is not lost.
In an ideal world, SLA defines the business need. However, when a customer calls with a serious problem, they are only concerned with resolving the issue as quickly as possible. The customers may be under pressure to get an important quotation out or may themselves have a customer waiting. At this point, discretion and understanding are required. It is important that each customer’s individual situation is assessed and addressed, as this will ultimately define the customer perception of your service. If a customer demands an action beyond the control of the Service Desk, the Service Desk staff should politely refer them to the duty Service Manager.
Even in the best-supported operations, services breaches will occur: another Incident requires urgent attention, the staff is off sick, spare parts are not available, you are unable to diagnose the problem. What is then important is to successfully manage the service breach, by the escalation of the problem management team, where appropriate. It was also acceptable to have an ‘agreed service breach’ where the customer has been informed of the probability of the breach and has agreed that this situation is acceptable. Key points to managing an agreed service breach.
It is often the case that a service breach occurs because the Customers is unavailable to get further information about a known Incident, or because the customer’s location is not accessible. In this case, it is necessary to document clearly that work could not progress because of this situation and how much SLA elapsed time was lost.
Recording Service breach details
Recording service breach details are critical to understanding whether or not existing SLAs are practical. If an IT operation keeps preaching them or equally, consistently overachieves it targets, clearly the SLAs need to be reviewed and the area(s) causing the variation need to be identified. It is equally essential to report on agreed and customer-initiated service breaches. From a business perspective, the SLA has either been achieved or it has not.
Defining full-time staffing levels is very difficult without a definitive way to predict the demand for service. The number of staff employed on the Service Desk is dependent on the needs of the business and is base on a range of important criteria, including:
All these items should e carefully considered before making any decision on staffing levels. This should be also be reflected in the levels of documentation required. Remember that the better the service, the more the business will use it.
Staff turnover considerations
Traditionally, first-line customer interaction functions have high staff turnover. This turnover. This should be taken into account when reviewing the required resources and the training required to get staff up to speed and productive.
The ‘Super User’
To keep the deal with some of these staffing constraints, in some organizations it is common to use ‘expert’ Customers to deal with first line support problems and queries (commonly known as Super or Expert Users). This is typically in specific application areas, or geographically locations, where there is insufficient justification for full-time support staff. In this case, the User can be a valuable resource if used is properly coordinated, with:
with all request entered into the main Service Desk tool, valuable usage details can be provided to the local management to ensure that resource is focused on the correct areas and not misused.
From the above consideration, it is clear that a careful study of the workload mix is necessary to define the required staff levels, skill types and the associated costs. Such an analysis should include:
Aligning customer perception and satisfaction are critical to the of any support operation. It is the customer’s perception that, in the end, defines whether the Service Zendesk is meeting their needs, rather than availability statistics or transaction rates. Satisfaction surveys are an excellent method of monitoring Customer perception and expectation and can be used a powerful marketing tool. However several key points should be addressed to ensure success.
How often surveys are taken is a business decision, based on the rate of change within your organisation and other business drivers. To monitor satisfaction on a daily basis at the source, your request closure process should be used for a detailed customer satisfaction response on specific applications, customer or services. To improve the speed of data capture and reduce the resource needed to analyze survey data, the usage of electronically based surveys should be considered.
It is important to define clearly the target audience for any surveys and the scope of the questions. For example, the questions you would ask of an accounts clerk in relation to the stability of the service provided would be different from those you would ask of an accounts director. from the clerks perspective, their partner was unavailable ‘several’ times during the month, whereas the accounts director was only concerned that, at month end, he or she was unable to produce customer bills on time, which resulted in a financial loss.
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