Don’t silo your MSP business help-desk operation into nothing more than a reactive fire-fighting operation when it could be the vanguard of a business-growth army. Help-desk operations are typically relegated to the oft-perceived lowly task of dealing with resource-sapping problems. Chained to simple ticketing tools, help-desk engineers toil away in a bid to answer users’ pleas for help, respond to trouble, and maintain the goodwill of businesses that have invested hard-earned money in solid expectations.
Though supporting customers in this way has undoubted value, consigning the activity to a simple reactive practice is failing to capitalise on the significant opportunity afforded by leveraging this facet of your business. By turning your help desk into a proactive service operation, your MSP business can truly flourish.
Here are some key components involved in migrating from help desk to service operation:
Managers and engineers in your help desk may well understand both your products and services and users/clients better than anyone else. However, you want the best people in your service operation. Engineer an approach that cultivates the resource. Use their feedback to carve a solid service operation, using the right tools.
Generally, the people drive the technology (i.e., determine what the right toolset is and apply it the right way). The next key in the service-desk puzzle is making sure you have the right technology, both now and in the future.
The task of finding the best service desk solution to upgrade from a simple ticketing tool may well benefit from outside help. Leverage the power of ITIL best practices to develop IT Service Management policies that will drive the implementation of compliant service-management tools
Make it easier for service desk staff to focus on delivering what only humans can do properly. Integrate your principles and standards into your technology. This relieves workers of the burden of ensuring they’re on-track and releases that invaluable, finite resource that is a top-notch human skill.
Your service operation needs to embody company mission/principles, service principles, and service standards. In this way, implementing a service operation also supports effective shaping and communication of these principles throughout the enterprise. Of course, if your organisation is wanting in these areas, your attempt at a service operation will reflect that weakness.
Make sure you are getting feedback, both from formal technological processes/reporting and from informal processes. Cultivate an atmosphere and culture in which staff can provide their input. After all, they are the ‘front-line’ troops in the battle to build your business and solidify your market position. They may be spotting opportunities to shape existing and future offerings. Formally recognising their contribution can further strengthen the service operation.
Don’t be afraid to capitalise on the power of professional training. Industry trainers have their fingers on the pulse of everything from the state of service desk strategies and technologies to sentiment amongst human resources and, likely, your industry overall. Like a guest conductor lends a fresh objective ear and new ways of ‘seeing’ to an orchestra, an outside trainer can help keep your ship on-course and off the rocks.
Training also ensures your service managers and operators have the needed mastery of the technology at their disposal. It helps to avoid squandering investment in technology caused by failing to make full use of the power of your service applications.
Don’t Shrink From the Challenge
Migration from help desk to service operation can be a daunting prospect. The potential benefits from a successful and elegant migration are huge and the penalty for failing to move with the times could be harsh. Attack the challenge with eyes open and you can avoid your MSP business languishing in the help-desk desert.