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Old 05-12-2011, 4:02 PM
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Obstacles and Opportunities for Service Desks Highlighted by Recent Research

SDI research sponsored by LANDesk reveals increased pressure on service desks in current economic climate

London – 5 December, 2011 – Amidst the impact of broader economic issues and reduced IT budgets, there remains a significant opportunity for service desks to provide value to organisations through measurable results, according to recent research conducted by Service Desk Institute (SDI). In its fifth year, SDI’s Benchmarking Survey sponsored by LANDesk Software, highlights the increased importance of service desk customer service, the value of accurate service desk activity reporting, the rise in social media usage for customer communication and a positive outlook on service desk staffing.

The research reveals that the majority of service desks are unaware of costs associated with the service they provide, as indicated by 74 percent of respondents who do not measure call volumes and 85 percent who do not measure email requests. In contrast, there are an increasing number of service desks that allow users to log calls, which can help reduce the number of overall calls to the service desk, both in terms of reporting incidents and follow up. Additionally, remote support has proven a quick and effective method of IT support used by 85 percent of service desks, and it allows users to log incidents for easy tracking.

“By accurately documenting activity levels, service desks have a real opportunity to highlight the value they’re providing to their organisation on a daily basis through customer engagement and support,” said Nigel Seddon, area director, LANDesk. “This is an area where vendors can educate service desks managers about the best ways to track incoming requests and deal with them in the most efficient manner leveraging all available resources.”

The survey also uncovered that more than 40 percent of service desks use less than half of the functions of their software, pointing to a lack of vendor education as well as the under-use of software that exceeds company needs. This finding underscores the importance of the relationship between service desks and vendors and the need for proper training to ensure products are fully utilised.

Customer feedback surfaced as the main indicator of service desk success in this year’s survey, with email and web surveys remaining the most popular channels for collecting data. Despite the importance of customer feedback, the survey indicated that 17 percent of service desks do not measure customer satisfaction at all, making it difficult to create and implement processes and services that meet customer needs. Also, new to the report this year was the social media category, which revealed that social media is used primarily to communicate to customers rather than for customers to log support calls with the service desk. Although only seven percent of customers log calls through social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, this area is expected to grow significantly in the future.

“As we’ve heard in the past, customer satisfaction is paramount to gauging the success of the service desk and it’s vital that customers have a two-way dialogue with service desk managers,” said Seddon. “In today’s social environment, it’s all about engaging with customers through a variety of technologies from email to Twitter, and then using that feedback to make measurable improvements.”

From a staffing perspective, 37 percent of service desks anticipate that their headcount will actually increase over the next year, compared with just 31 percent in 2009, suggesting that despite the current economic difficulties, companies remain committed to ensuring service desks are adequately staffed.

Throughout 2011, the SDI Benchmarking Survey will also be carried out in Germany, France, APAC and North America.

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