It’s impossible for an IT professional to go anywhere without hearing about the social media paradigm transforming the help desk function. Help desk software providers are rushing to augment their platforms with tools and technologies integrating social features and functions. The more advanced solutions not only embed Facebook/Twitter integration, but actually make these social platforms the center point of the solution (or in some cases at least provide the option for this). One could argue that social integration, like Facebook and Twitter, are probably more ideal for external customer (CRM) support.
After all, consumers are all about these platforms, so it makes tremendous sense to embed customer support where the customer likes to frequent. For internal help desk support, how much does social integration really help? Well, there are corporate social platforms now (like Yammer) where embedded help desk support would make life much easier for employees, especially if the network is successfully deployed and used to centralize other key processes and communications. One of the more common employee gripes is the confusion and difficulty in reaching the help desk and getting timely support. Putting support where the user lives — in the middle of their social experience – could go a long way to improve the end user experience.
The below reprinted article discusses the social media paradigm further, and how it benefits both end users and the help desk itself. Enjoy.
Guest blog: Social media and the service desk – a powerful combination
Chris Rixon, principal solutions manager, BMC Software, writes for CBR on how the service desk can use social media to improve IT support.
Social media is the pervasive technology of the 21st century and increasingly people are turning to it as the default source of information.
Whether they are trying to figure out how to solve a technical problem with a PC or looking for opinions on the best bars, the question will often be put forward through a social media channel.
This growing preference to seek information and guidance through social collaboration has clear implications for the IT service desk. With this perspective in mind, let’s consider how the IT service desk, together with social media, can optimise the customer experience of IT and support.
Focus on the IT service desk has grown as organisations look to align the IT user experience with the consumer interfaces with which they are most familiar. To do this they are providing interfaces that are accessible, intuitive and similar to other interactions end users have come to expect in their daily lives.
When IT service management tools are combined with social media they can help to improve the IT support experience by facilitating a rapid, efficient and customer-centric service.
The alliance of social media and the service desk
Social media tools used within an organisation allow a greater number of support specialists to be alerted to a problem, to contribute to the solution and to be educated about the solution for future use.
For example, with BMC’s Remedyforce, agents working on a help desk ticket can turn to Chatter, a collaboration tool created by SalesForce.com to see if others are currently working on similar issues.
Chatter is an integrated social media platform for proactive team collaboration and is embedded within the help desk tool. The agent can look for posts by other agents who are dealing with similar problems. The agent can then recognise related incidents and assign similar occurrences to a single agent or group of agents who are already working on the problem, and therefore improve efficiency.
Related incidents can be tied together and the agent can do a root cause analysis of these related incidents. Moreover, the agent can create broadcasts within the social media tool that communicate messages to both IT staff and employees companywide regarding service outages or other IT events.
As with other social media applications, you can “follow” certain topics — other people, incidents, changes and even critical business services and assets. This allows you to be instantly alerted to any change in status for each topic followed.
Gauging the effectiveness of social media for the help desk
New service delivery models for IT service management, such as software as a service (SaaS) as well as emerging communications channels for support that include social media, will require changes in the way you traditionally measure the effectiveness of your services. That’s why you should re-examine your service metrics as you begin to rely more heavily on SaaS, social media and a more services-oriented approach to IT delivery.
If social media is to be used as a corporate support tool it may be useful to monitor how employees are using it to solve problems and how social media impacts staff and end-user satisfaction.
Some of the metrics to consider include the average speed to resolve problems, the reduction in e-mail volume related to problem solving and the increase in collaboration among agents and teams. In some cases, organisations might wish to measure the use and effectiveness of social media in addition to measuring its overall effect on IT service management performance.
Indications from early adopters of social collaboration technology in the context of the IT service desk are revealing some real and tangible benefits to this approach. When used as part of a larger help desk solution, social media can increase first-call resolution, reduce the mean time to resolution, significantly lower unplanned downtime and increase call deflection.
If the saying is true that “two heads are better than one,” imagine harnessing the collective brain power of your entire IT help desk staff. Therein lies the power of social media. As part of your help desk solution, social media has the potential to greatly lower costs and increase productivity and efficiency — and most importantly, improve end-user satisfaction. >> View original story here