The initiative to establish a service request catalogue to automate fulfilment of the most commonly requested services and allow customers to log their support requests is a commendable one.
It would meet the objective of reducing the calls to the service desk and therefore eliminate the need to increase the number of service desk personnel.
It might also increase customer satisfaction with IT, as the customer experience would be improved with the provision of self-service facilities.
However, neither outcome was achieved. The calls to the service desk continued to increase and the service request catalogue was barely used.
A Business Relationship Manager (BRM) was engaged to determine why this was. By applying the guiding principle of observe directly, the BRM went to the source – the customer – to find out what was really going on.
It became clear that the service request catalogue was not user-friendly.
It was clear that the service request catalogue had not been designed with the customer experience in mind. The guiding principle of design for experience had not been adopted.
The terminology used within the catalogue did not resonate with the customer, the navigation was over-complex and the categorization of services didn't make sense.
The IT architect who designed the service request catalogue had not engaged the customer and, instead, had designed it solely from a technical perspective.
Following a series of design workshops with the customer base, the service request catalogue was revised. The navigation became intuitive for the customer, the terminology used was more familiar, and the categorization of services made sense from a business perspective.
The desired outcomes of reduced calls to the service desk and increased customer satisfaction with IT were being achieved.
There was still a lot of work to be done as the bad customer experience from the first iteration meant some customers were reluctant to use the revised iteration despite its improved design.
IT had an intensive marketing campaign ahead to undertake to increase use of the service request catalogue, which would have been unnecessary if the guiding principle of design for experience had been employed from the start.
IT would now have to work with all of the critical competencies of the ITIL® practitioner to continue to increase usage and customer satisfaction.
Communication with the customer would be required, explaining why the initial service request catalogue had not met their needs and what action had been taken to rectify the situation.
Metrics and measurements of uptake of the service request catalogue would be required. This would provide objective evidence of uptake and could also be used in communication to demonstrate that usage was increasing. This would encourage more customers to take a second look at the catalogue.
Organizational change management would be needed to identify areas of resistance and to put in place tactics to overcome the resistance, as well as reinforcing the benefits of using the catalogue to those who had already adopted it.
A process of continual service improvement would be applied to the service request catalogue to keep improving the experience for the customer.
IT will need to look at other ITIL Practitioner guiding principles to assist them on the journey ahead.
- Focus on value – one of the most fundamental principles of IT Service Management. It is the customer who determines what is of value to them, not IT
- Collaborate to ensure the right people are involved in the right ways
- Keep it simple – don't make solutions like the service request catalogue overly complex, or they may become unusable
- By being transparent and informing the customer through communications why the first service request catalogue had not achieved the desired outcomes, more customers are likely to start using the catalogue and providing constructive feedback to IT now they believe that they will be heard.
So, what tips does this scenario provided for the IT Service Management (ITSM) professional?
- Don't design anything without customer/business involvement. You need to design for the customer experience
- Make sure all the right people are involved in any improvement initiative in the right way – including the customer. Collaboration is key
- Everything IT does needs to map, directly or indirectly, to value for the customer. Focus on value
- Don't over-engineer solutions – keep it simple. Overly complex work methods rarely maximize outcomes or minimize costs
- To know what is really going on, you need to measure and/or observe it directly. This ensures that decisions are based on information that is as accurate as can be. Going to the source allows a reduction in assumptions, which, if eventually proved unfounded, can be disastrous to timelines, budgets and the quality of results.
See our ITIL Practitioner and ITIL sections for more information.
More AXELOS Blog Posts from Karen Ferris
Observe Directly: how to avoid the "watermelon effect"
ITIL Practitioner: Organizational Change Management
Top 10 reasons why ITSM practitioners should welcome ITIL® Practitioner
Why Organizational Change Management is important for ITSM
See more blogs and animations about the ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles
Why transformational projects go wrong unless you Work Holistically
Them vs us: the importance of Collaboration
ITIL® Practitioner: why it’s always best to Keep It Simple
ITIL® Practitioner - Be Transparent
The past and the present: why it's always important to Start Where You Are
ITIL® Practitioner - Focus on Value