Running an IT service desk can feel like an exercise in crisis management at the best of times. So, dealing with the day job plus a global pandemic is no one’s idea of fun. But we are where we are. So, let’s have a look at our ten tips below to lift your IT service desk to the top of its game during these difficult times and to help your IT department to keep going until things start getting more real.
1. Look after your IT support people
Your people are yours everything. Keep them safe, make sure that they’ve got the equipment they need, and remind them to take regular breaks. Try to keep a sense of normalcy by having team meetings and catch-ups.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the COVID-19 crisis (aside from the virus itself) is the toll it will take on the mental health of people. So, do everything in your power to check in with your team members and ensure that everyone is OK.
It’s very easy when times are tough to focus on results and to forget about the people delivering them.
2. Make sure you’re communicating effectively
Having people refreshed is critical in a time of crisis. Contact your key business stakeholders and let them know which people and what IT support areas you’re prioritizing and why. Let people know that you’ll get to them – which nothing is going to be lost, ignored, or forgotten about. It’s just that if someone is vulnerable and struggling with the connectivity they’ll be prioritized over most other tickets.
If you can, use automation to do some of the heavy lifting for you. For example, push alerts such that people are automatically notified should the status of their incident or request change, so they don’t have to chase your desk for an update.
3. Check equipment levels
Ensure that your colleagues – particularly the now remote ones – have the equipment needed to do their day jobs. Have a process in place for achieving equipment for new hires or for people that need to replace missing or broken equipment.
An alternative to home deliveries could be the use of smart lockers whereby customers can collect equipment from a central, secure location while practicing social distancing, of course, in the context of COVID-19.
4. Up your game when providing remote support
Fixing issues remotely is a skill in itself. No matter how technical you are, if you are remotely supporting customers, you will need to match people’s skills.
So, practice active listening, ask questions, and recognize that the person on the other end of the phone is just someone who is a human being, not another queue or ticket to fix.
5. You may need to change the way you allocate work
Most IT service management (ITSM) best methods will talk about prioritizing issues and requests based on priority and impact. Which is great in speculation, but may require to be settled during a crisis?
Therefore, review their work allocation and prioritization methods to ensure that they are appropriate for the purpose in light of COVID-19 isolate measurements. That is, whoever is seen after the first to deal with sensitive or connectivity issues?
Everything else can be solved in good time. But, before you do anything else, look at people working on frontline services or someone working with the elderly, the weak, or the scared. I promise you that the Service Level Agreement (SLA) does not matter that it is right.
6. Decide what to focus on next
Okay, so you’ve worked with unsafe and absolutely essential stuff. Now is the time to start using that priority matrix again.
If an event has one or two priority, it usually means that there is a possibility of a major event. So try to fix them as soon as possible. Check-ins with their service delivery managers and support teams to ensure workload are still manageable and none are performers.
If you use event management and monitoring tools, try to find some time to review any automatic alerts. It is very easy for a file server to run out of capacity or miss a maintenance restart. Therefore, keep an eye on any alerts related to important services.
7. Use self-help and self-service to make things better for everyone
Chances are your event queue is absolutely ridiculous at the moment. Reduce the pressure on your IT service desk by posting self-help materials on your IT service desk or intranet.
The more you can empower your business associates, the more time your IT support team must fix everything else. If you can automate things like account lockout and password reset, do so that your support people can do more challenging tasks issues.
8. Be flexible
Most IT departments generally do not provide support for personal devices. But the reality of COVID-19 is that people need to be able to work from home. In some areas, lockdown and shelter-in-place regulations came under the effect of very little warning, resulting in many people being stranded without equipment.
Employees may have left their laptops in the office and holding their devices is a bit challenging at the moment, to say the least. Therefore, pay attention to who you can work with. If you are a business associate who has their own laptop or tablet, then Office 365 (other personal productivity suites are available). Also get people to install Skype, GoToMeeting, Zoom etc. on their devices, so that it is easy for them to keep in touch with their colleagues and others.
9. Keep sharing knowledge
Try to ensure that everyone on the team has the same basic level of understanding, especially if you are working differently now. Ensure that everyone at the IT service desk can handle IT support basics. for example:
• Password reset and unlocking accounts (if not automated)
• Supporting your organization’s preferred video conferencing software
• Dealing with network connectivity issues
• Resolving common email issues
• How to deal with proxy settings in web browser
• Clear print queues.
10. Keep going
At the moment it is tough really hard. But somehow it will eventually get better. So, keep going, one person at a time, one issue at a time. Keep achieving small achievements of work and we will all reach there. You got it, we promise.