5 Questions you should ask to improve your request management

February 28 2017

Your company evolves in a competitive industry, but cannot keep up with the pace of internal demands. Your support team is overwhelmed by a large number of operational queries and this negatively impacts your results, the quality of your services and more importantly, your customers' satisfaction!

That’s not you? Good, but be careful, it can be easier than you think to fall in such a situation. Your internal support and request management is fragile and a little push can bring it in a tailspin.

  • Poor tracking of tickets
  • Undocumented or poorly documented requests; generating non-measurable information
  • An inability to provide performance reports
  • An ineffective communication between stakeholders
  • The Centralization of all incidents to a single resource
  • Poor prioritization of activities

Any one of those issues can lead you to even more precarious situations:

  • You juggle an incredible number of tasks and recurring manual operations, greatly slowing down your request management
  • This brings an important amount of non-completed requests that gradually pile up in your helpdesk system.
  • Your customers are becoming unhappy the longer it takes for their requests to be completed
  • Worse! Your resources use an unfit tool that’s not adapted for the user experience.
  • Even worse! Your resources do not want to know anything more about your software solutions and project. The knowledge transfer concept is not part of their vocabulary and they prefer to work in silos.

Bad request management of your internal demands as illustrated above can have disastrous consequences, going from a lower client satisfaction to an increase in costs and lower revenues. So, how can we solve those issues plaguing your ticket management?

We’ve identified a few practical questions to ask to improve your internal support and avoid to fall in the downwards spirals of bad service.

Where do your tickets come from?

The first thing to do is to do the work upstream. What causes you problems exactly? Determine the number of demands that you receive and identify which ones are the most frequent. After that, compare those demands with your internal capacity to answer those demands. The type of demand varies from industry to industry, so it’s important to do this analysis. You will also have a better idea of where the problems that plague your request management come from.

How is your support service functioning?

Now that you know which demands are causing problems, a little introspection is warranted. Why are those demands the ones that occur the most and/or take more time to solve?

If there’s a palpable issue in within your support team, ask yourself: what’s the pain point? Or: What aspect of our service suffers from inefficiency? It is also recommended to go to the source to find those answers, your clients.

Is the relationship you have with your clients harmonious? I the service you provide fast enough and meeting their expectations? You can even go further by asking the same questions with in mind the expectations from the organisation in general and from the end-users that your serve.

Focus on your demand management processes and try to find where the chokepoints slowing you and the whole process down are.

Can you properly analyze your results?

dashboard view

If you don’t know how to measure your performance, then how will you know if the changes you make will bear fruit?

To help you measure your performance, consider using Service Level Agreements (SLAs). A SLA is a document that defines the level of service between a client and a service provider, defined by measurable metrics. Generally, those metrics cover the service hours and service availability.

 The advantages of SLA are plentiful:

  • Both parties can have a clear vision of their roles and responsibilities,
  • Implement specific objectives to reach, as well as the measures, follow-ups and the quality-reporting.
  • Identify the weak points of a service provider and help launch improvement actions
  • Identify the actions from clients and users that trigger those situations and improve on those situations.
  • The continuous improvement of your service levels.

Ultimately, you’ll have the right picture on the service level that you provide your clients with.

Are you well equipped?

To improve and reach your support objectives, you inevitably need the right tools. There’s plenty of choice and variety of helpdesk and service desk management tools. It is essential to evaluate those products objectively, but also to evaluate them based on your needs. Below are a few elements that could help you improve your support, depending on your needs:

  • Self-Service Portal: A portal where your clients can enter their demands themselves, without having to go through a laborious support process. The self-service portal gives a faster service and an increased satisfaction to the client.
  • Knowledge base:  A database containing walkthroughs and past ticket resolutions.
  • CMDB: The CMDB is a Database containing and where you can manage your assets.
  • Automation tools: The possibilities of automation can help you gain in efficiency.
  • Reporting tools: Tables and Graphs, inside your ticket management tool allow you to better visualize your results, helping you respect ad follow your SLAs.

Have you thought about those tips?

  • Go one step at a time:  In a change process, working in steps is usually the best way to a successful implementation. Otherwise, you risk rushing your support resources and your clients. You won’t know where to focus your efforts. The same goes for the implementation of a new helpdesk tool. Give your team time to adapt to the new tool. Else, they will be stuck with a new tool that they don’t know, they won’t use it properly and maybe not at all, rendering the change inefficient.
  • The Customer Rules, Speak his language: For every inquiry, there is an applicant. However, some companies seem to forget as they focus more on their own processes, methodologies and classifications. Focusing on customers is essential for the proper 
  • conduct of a project and will directly add value to the consumption from your services catalog or the adoption of a self-service portal for your end users.
  • Go elsewhere. Get inspiration: There’s nothing wrong with taking a look at how others are doing things. Other organizations like yours respond to similar requests. Learning from testimonies and ITSM experience in your industry will surely help you move forward and better plan the implantation process.
  • Invest in the Quality of service:  Don’t look at acquiring a new software solution as a cost. See it instead as an investment. With defined objectives, a plan and an orientation towards the client, this cost rapidly becomes a financial lever, that without taking into account the contagious adoption rate that it can create inside your workforce

Create a one-stop service center