How much good user feedback is lost by the Service Desk?

I'm a good citizen of the internet communities I inhabit. If something is not useful to me or could be improved, then I generally use the written contact mechanism to let them know. I'm a smart guy and tech-savvy so my messages are - I hope - pretty clear and to the point (if a bit abrasive - it's just the Antipodean in me). But I don't have a good success rate with them.

Too often, some operative gets the request who is one of those mindless front-line low-budget call-grinders. If it isn't one of the six basic things they know how to fix, they're stymied. One of the following happens:

  • It is ignored
  • They ask dumb questions back at me
  • They ask me to do a whole lot of info capture and analysis for them
  • They give me one of the standard responses they know that seems closest to what they vaguely understand me to be saying
  • They promise to get back to me but never do
  • If I'm very lucky they escalate to someone who knows more - this is rare

Now I'm not asking for a service or a restoration of service. I'm offering a suggestion for an improvement or enhancement. I am providing value not seeking it. So if the response is to ask me to do more work than I already have, my response is to move on. If the response shows they don't understand or - worse - don't care, then I might try one more iteration before I move on. this example isn't exactly what I am talking about because something was actually broken, but I was trying very hard to solve an underlying problem for them not just fix my incident, and it still illustrates much of what I'm getting at.

I'd say the majority of the suggestions I offer to online helpdesks fall one way or another on stony ground. This must be a tremedous hidden cost of low-cost Service Desks.

Or is it? For the organisations that are more receptive to my suggestions, how many then proceed to lose them or too-hard them further down the process?

Is this a big issue? How do we get Level 1 to recognise value when they see it?


Lose Service Desk feedback at your peril!

We all agree Service Desk feedback is vital to shape future service improvements that give the business better IT. Well managed operations and well trained frontliners both pick it up and use it effectively. If you're not, take the time to stand back and see where it's going wrong - it'll be a management process or skills issue - and get it fixed. You could pay one of those consultants out there to do it, but it really ain't rocket science!


over-service the userbase

Francois points out over in the Real ITSM group on LinkedIn that they still haven't fixed the issue in the example I cited above.

This is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon. One assumes they have access to best practice. But they are based on a least-cost model. They consciously choose to have budget support. Too much effort invested would destroy profitability - they must not over-service the userbase.

So it is easy to say "you must do it better or you lose stuff" but they, like so many online service providers, take a conscious business decision not to do it better...

This one from Amazon themselves:

At [link] I get a summary report that includes Link-types summary. The conversion percentages are meaningless.
The conversion percentage for each link type totals to the conversion percentage of all types. They shouldn't.
Say i had 1000 clicks total, and 50 were converted, 5% overall.
Say 100 of those clickes were Enhanced Display and 10 were converted. Your report would tell me a conversion rate for Enhanced Display of 10/1000 = 1% which is crap. the rate is 10/100 = 10%. I need to know how Enhanced Display is perfromaing as a category. "Oooh 10% of them convert, I should use more of those".
Thank you for writing to the Associates Program.
I'm very sorry, but I was unable to determine the exact type of assistance you need from the content of your message.
Are you looking at the Link-Type Report Summary numbers only? [hasn't looked at the link supplied]
When I review the details Report for February 24 here is what I see:
I did condense this so only the numbers that are included in the math are shown.
The summary Report is showing for the month not just the default one day so these number don't match. I hope this answers your concerns.
If not, please use the link below to contact us again with some additional information. Please send us this information by using the secure form at the following specialized link to assure we receive your message:
We look forward to hearing back from you, and thank you for writing to the Associates Program.
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:
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Back to the question about getting level 1 to see the value

First thing, as an FYI, I posted the visitor comment about building the appropriate model. This is a further thought on that post.

Not to offend anyone working on a Help / Service Desk, but realistically, you have to think about the role level 1 is expected to play. The planning horizon for a level 1 individual is operational. They see the world in minutes, hours and days.
Their job is to log the incident, look for a fix, and move on. It is managements job to look into what the data is telling us.
This ties into the definition of an incident, logging service requests and thinking about the role you want the Service Desk to play for your organization.

In working with clients, I have tried to emphasize the benefits of logging and using the customer feedback. Amazingly, the strongest resistors are typically the Service Desk Managers. I have had people say "But logging feedback will screw up the metrics" Focus on first call resolution and time to fix instead of value proposition.

Its a learning curve not every one wants to follow; links to why making the Service Desk Manager = Incident Manager does not always work. Also as mentioned, drives an expansion of the definition of Incident. IMO its why they expanded the definition in the V3 library.

Last point, Incident Data provides management with the front line pulse about what is going on in the environment. Not using this input to assist in making decisiosn and exercising discretion is blinding yourself as a manager to what is going on. The CSI book talks about packaging the data... That means you have to follow the data > information > knowledge cycle.

As a manager, ask the Service Desk to provide reports about what is working well and not so well. Drive home the importance of customer feedback and how you plan to use it. Then involve your peers in IT and business; ask them what kind of information they need. Show them the results. It will elevate the value of the Service Desk in your organization.

Loss of Customer Feedback

We are facing a similar dilemma in our office. We handle incidents and problems fairly well but our tools are built around them. When faced with customer feedback that results in a departure from the prescribed workflow then the details get lost. Not all of the required departments interface with us via our ticketing system so we end up relying on Excel sheets and e-mails to try and track these. Then things get lost, no one knows what to do, and if a change happens because of one of these suggestions no one can recall where the requirement came from to provide feedback.

Need to build the appropriate model

I have dealt with this on a regular basis when reengineering Service Desks. The easiest way to fix it is to build a tab in the tool for Customer Feedback. Then escalate any entries to a CRM function within the organization.

One group I went with even had sub categories, Positive, Negative and Neutral. The CRM team loved it becuase they were able to intervene with upset customers. If you are trying to fix this, go talk to the sales / account managers within your organization. Once they realize the potential, in my expereince, they typically insist that they get this feedback.

One other point, providing this data escalates the value of the Service Desk in the eyes of the business and IT peers.

Last thought, vendors I have worked with datamine this kind of information to identify where gaps exist in support. It helps target solutions; and if they are providing the contract, helps supppress issues.

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