The Value of Culture
You can find lots of blogs and articles out there that will discuss what you should expect from your service desk. From resolution rates to types of reports and service levels – all hugely important aspects that you should be able to count on from a quality provider.
But what about the culture? Does that even matter? Absolutely!
An agent who is well-supported, well-trained, and who enjoys their job is going to deliver a stronger client experience. You can hear it in their voice when they answer calls, feel it in the way they understand a client’s concern, and know it by the way they resolve the client’s issue.
Now, how do you develop and maintain this type of culture?
Teach the mission
Success begins with a “WHY.” Ensure your team knows the why behind what they are doing. There is a huge difference between someone hearing “Don’t have long talk times.” and hearing “We make commitments around average handle time so that we can deliver a superior customer experience, allowing us to get to all calls more efficiently and get each user back to work as quickly as possible.”
When you take the time to make sure everyone understands the “why,” you enable a sense of purpose and create a way for everyone to contribute to the mission.
It is so important that service desk agents have a regular check-in with their lead – to see how they are, to offer a word of praise for a great call, or feedback on a more challenging situation. If you are only talking to your agents when there is a “problem” – you’re doing it wrong!
Regular, daily interactions on all aspects of the job allow agents to feel engaged and supported. Engagement shows up in the quality of their work and their overall job satisfaction.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Training and Support
Training can’t just be a two-week exercise that occurs when a new teammate joins; it should be an ongoing process. Training also comes in two parts: technical training and customer training. Technical training is anything that will help the service desk agent learn new skills, pursue a certification, or enable them to continue to build and grow their IT career.
Customer training can cover a variety of topics. Perhaps you have an agent who has a very high-resolution rate, yet also has very high average handle times. Determining the why behind the high average handle times can help you offer more specific training that may remedy the issue.
Some things to consider may simply involve the knowledge base and ease of navigation, or the agent’s level of comfort in using this tool during a call. Determining the sticky point, and offering help goes back to regular communication and can go a long way to reducing frustration for the agent and improving the client experience.
Lastly, as a managed service provider, training agents on a variety of account types will broaden their experience and help diversify their skills.
Create opportunities for your team to engage in a way that encourages them to build camaraderie with teammates and blow off some steam. In the days of Covid and remote working, it can be more challenging than ever to keep teams together and feeling connected.
Offering regular opportunities for virtual social activities is a great way to enable teammates to learn more about each other and have some fun. Setting aside some time to create some fun enhances motivation, increases productivity, and reduces stress.
Make metrics and performance even more meaningful by tying recognition to what enhances performance and drives results. Identify key metrics in your business that motivate your agents while providing a top-notch experience for the client. An example of this would be an established goal for average speed to answer (without sacrificing quality). Reward the achievements frequently.
Both monetary and non-monetary rewards go a long way for recognition. Monetary rewards can be anything from gift cards to extra cash in a paycheck. Non-monetary rewards have an intrinsic motivation impact because it builds self-esteem.
Lastly, don’t save all the joys of recognition for management to give! Allow teammates to highlight other teammates’ contributions and successes. Remember, you’re building a “culture.”
Having an engaged service desk team that is committed to the mission bolsters the entire organization. Users receive improved support from motivated support teams, agents want to provide effective support to complete the mission, and turnover may be reduced as teammates feel supported, appreciated, and engaged in their work.