Empowering Employees in a Support Environment

Service DeskRecently, I ran across a fantastic article by David Marquet, former commander of the USS Santa Fe. If you’re in a position of leadership, particularly in an IT support environment, do yourself a favor and set aside 10 minutes of your day to read it.

Reading this article got me thinking about how employees in a support environment are empowered to solve problems. And I mean actually solve problems, not merely take information and forward it to another tier for resolution. How do you know when your staff have the proper tools, training, and access? How do you know when the assignment of these role-based responsibilities is translating into positive change for the customer?

In a service provider’s organization, it’s helpful to understand the tasks your service desk are asked to accomplish. If you desire to reduce the number of contacts required to resolve an issue, perhaps you should consider the role of the service desk with respect to their access. Are there items currently assigned to a higher tier that can be resolved by a service desk staff member, either through training or by automation of the task? If you desire to improve customer satisfaction rates for the service desk as an entity, perhaps you might look at what limitations, policies, or other barriers might be in place. Are these preventing the service desk from tailoring itself to the needs of customers?

This is not to say that we, as service managers and owners, should not balance these things against IT and operational concerns. As part of a CSI process, an IT service provider should be looking at these things on a regular basis with an eye toward changing whenever necessary or appropriate.