There are a number of challenges faced by IT Service Management (ITSM) professionals in the operational space but, broadly speaking, the ITIL Practitioner can be used to address three key areas: measurement; communication; and education.
Metrics are often a challenging area for ITSM professionals and, in particular, support teams. Frequently, teams are measured on the wrong thing and the KPIs in place simply don’t reflect what they do or value they add.
Often, this problem stems from the fact that those who created the measures do not fully understand the value of services to customers and the role that IT support teams perform within an organization. This goes back to the age old problem: if you target the wrong thing, you get the wrong results.
ITIL Practitioner tackles the issue of measurement within its core competencies by supporting ITSM professionals in developing the right metrics. Within the guidance, there’s advice on making sure you’re measuring against customer experience and how each part of the business can ensure it’s contributing at the “coal face” of a company.
Internal communication is the next major issue for many ITSM professionals and, in particular, the irony that customer-facing operational staff – those on the service desk who have a key role in customer communications – are often the last to know key internal information.
A lack of dialogue between people on the front line and those in senior management for example, means that operational teams are often on the back foot which has a profoundly negative effect on customer service. From the outside, the customer doesn’t know or care whether someone works in development or operations; to them, you’re (rightly) all the same and if there’s no dialogue between teams the support operation can look disjointed, unprofessional and incompetent.
To improve communications within businesses, ITIL Practitioner gives help and guidance on making sure the right messages get to the right people and come from the right person. It goes back to Rudyard Kipling’s "six honest serving men”: who, how, when, what, where and why.
The message and its delivery are really key for ensuring credibility amongst support professionals. For example, a strategic message should be from a director, whereas something more day-to-day should be from a line manager. ITIL Practitioner challenges and asks questions of ITSM professionals to help them develop a robust approach to communications.
Education is the final challenge faced by many ITSM businesses and centres on giving teams the right tools and skills to do their job.
In some organizations, training is viewed as an add-on or nice to have, but a lack of it can really exacerbate lack of communications.
As training is often an afterthought, it is delivered at the wrong time and with the wrong level of detail, people often feel unprepared and under-skilled. As well as being demoralising for the employee, this lack of training and knowledge is damaging from a customer point of view. The customer expects their contact to be able to fix something or at least know someone who can. If they can’t deliver it creates a distinct lack of trust.
Within ITIL Practitioner, training is tackled as part of the organizational change management section and – while only part of the guidance – it gives businesses a great structure from which to work. The guidance challenges companies to consider training from an organizational, team and individual perspective and ensure it’s consistent and timely in its delivery. It also explores whether general awareness at all levels is better than specialist knowledge.
Through this structured approach, businesses can create a robust training plan that empowers the employee and delivers excellent customer service.
See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.
Read Barry Corless' AXELOS Blog Post, CX = BRM + SLM?
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