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Service desk of the future

Enterprise Service Management

A look at the service desk of the future

By Gunnar Oldenhof on July, 2 2020

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Gunnar Oldenhof

Service Management Consultant

Inspired by the Mars rover mission that’s supposed to launch on 20 July 2020, we started thinking about the frontiers of the service desk. Will the service desk as we know it still exist in, say, 2030? Spoiler alert: we think it won’t. The question is: what will it look like instead? Let’s take a look at the service desk of the future.

The service desk as we know it

Before we go forward in time to the service desk of the future, let’s take a brief look at the service desk as we know it. In many cases, service desk employees offer first-line support: they handle incoming calls, provide customers with workarounds to known problems, and answer any other questions a customer might have. Some of these tasks are pretty repetitive. In some organizations, service desk employees use a script or knowledge items to answer standard questions. Questions that require more expertise usually move on to second or third-line support.

Service desks will no longer handle repetitive calls

Although the digital workforce probably won’t take over the service desk any time soon, it will in 2030. Why? Thanks to new and improved technologies such as AI and chatbots, the need for a service desk staffed by people that handle repetitive calls will simply disappear.

In 2030, chatbots, scripts, and other tools will fully take over the relatively simple and repetitive work that some service desk employees now do. Take for instance resetting passwords or assigning user rights. Some service desks still do this manually. But should an employee really handle these simple tasks when a chatbot can do it in a fraction of a second? And why should service desk employees spend their entire day giving customers standard answers from a knowledge item? All this does is create high staff turnover. So why not involve the computer?

Customers are becoming used to being more empowered. Most organizations already have a self-service portal or knowledge base in place where customers can find their own answers. This will go even further at the service desk of the future. If customers can’t find what they need themselves, a chatbot will be ready to help them. The technology is already quite advanced – just imagine what it will be like in 2030.

Customer service will be the #1 job of service desks

Apart from offering first-line support, the service desk also plays a key role in both customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Service desk employees are the face of your organization: customers will often judge a company by their interaction with its service desk. After all, for most customers, the service desk is their first point of contact. The same goes for the employees of an organization.

Because service desk employees handle lots of similar calls on a daily basis, often with the help of standard answers or knowledge items, customer experience and employee experience don’t always get the attention they deserve. More often than not, service desk managers focus more on employee efficiency and targets rather than on providing excellent service.

Already, customer experience and employee experience are becoming increasingly important for most organizations. This won’t change in 2030. In fact, customer experience and employee experience will become even more important for business.

The service desk of the future

So a service desk handling repetitive calls are no longer necessary in 2030 and customer experience and employee experience become even more important. What does this mean for life at the service desk as we know it? And in particular for service desk employees?

We can safely assume that the service desk of the future needs a different type of service desk employee. Calls that can’t be solved by the modern technology are either more complex or more geared towards the human aspect. This means service desk managers have to be creative with how they employ service desk employees. Let’s take a look at the various roles of the service desk in 2030.

Ensuring great CX and EX

In 2030, front office employees no longer simply solve relatively easy calls for IT, FM, or HR. Instead, their role becomes more focused on hospitality, customer experience, and employee experience. Since chatbots and other technology will deal with repetitive tasks, service desks can spend more time and effort on providing excellent service with a smile.

Handling complex calls

Of course, there will always be questions that technology can’t solve. That’s why the service desk of the future needs skilled service staff to solve more complex calls. This may take the form of a skilled service desk or back-office teams.

Serving as a single point of contact

In 2030, customer experience and employee experience will be top priority for most organizations. This means organizations will adopt a fully-fledged Enterprise Service Management (ESM) approach that allows them to provide excellent service.

A single point of contact (SPOC) is crucial for ESM. That’s why the service desk of the future will transform into a SPOC. Thanks to a SPOC, your customer knows that their question or issue will be properly addressed by the appropriate person.

In 2030, every organization will offer a SPOC in some shape or form. Your SPOC and its employees will be the face of your organization. Some organizations adopt a physical service desk as a SPOC, but of course, this isn’t always possible if you have various locations. In such cases, a digital SPOC is also an option.

Facilitating peer-to-peer support

Next to chatbots and other technology, peer-to-peer support will also become increasingly important at the service desk of the future. Already, customers help other customers find answers to their problems.

The service desk of the future will facilitate peer-to-peer support. How? For example by moderating a forum where customers can share knowledge amongst themselves.

How will ESM help you organize an environment that allows office social distancing? >>

Ready for 2030?

Clearly, the service desk of the future will look very different from what we’re used to now. What do you think the fate of the service desk will be in ten years?

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