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Service Desk Management - Customer/user satisfaction surveys

As well as tracking the 'hard' measures of the Service Desk's performance (via the metrics described above), it is also important to assess 'soft' measures - such as how well the customers and users feel their calls have been answered, whether they feel the Service Desk operator was courteous and professional, whether they instilled confidence in the user.

This type of measure is best obtained from the users themselves. This can be done as part of a wider customer/user satisfaction survey covering all of IT or can be specifically targeted at the Service Desk issues alone.

One effective way of achieving the latter is through a call-back telephone survey, where an independent Service Desk Operator or Supervisor rings back a small percentage of users shortly after their incident has been resolved, to ask the specific questions needed.

Care should be taken to keep the number of questions to a minimum (five to six at the most) so that the users will have the time to cooperate. Also survey questions should be designed so that the user or customer knows what area or subject questions are about and which incident or service they are referring to. The Service Desk must act on low satisfaction levels and any feedback received.

To allow adequate comparisons, the same percentage of calls should be selected in each period and they should be rigorously carried out despite any other time pressures.

Surveys are a complex and specialized area, requiring a good understanding of statistics and survey techniques. This publication will not attempt to provide an overview of all of these, but a summary of some of the more widely used techniques and tools is listed:

Technique/Tool Advantages Disadvantages
After-call survey
Callers are asked to remain on the phone after the call and then asked to rate the service they were provided
  • High response rate since the caller is already on the phone
  • Caller is surveyed immediately after the call so their experience is recent
  • People may feel pressured into taking the survey, resulting in a negative service experience
  • The surveyor is seen as part of the Service Desk being surveyed, which may discourage open answers
Outbound telephone survey
Customers and users who have previously used the Service Desk are contacted some time after their experience with the Service Desk
  • Higher response rate since the caller is interviewed directly
  • Specific categories of user or customer can be targeted for feedback (e.g. people who requested a specific service, or people experienced a disruption to a particular service)
  • This method could be seen as intrusive, if the call disrupts the user or customer from their work
  • The survey is conducted some time after the user or customer used the Service Desk, so their perception may have changed
Personal interviews
Customers and users are interviewed personally by the person doing the survey. This is especially effective for customers or users who use the Service Desk extensively or who have had a very negative experience
  • The interviewer is able to observe non-verbal signals as well as listening to what the user or customer is saying
  • Users and customers feel a greater degree of personal attention and a sense that their answers are being taken seriously
  • Interviews are timeconsuming for both the interviewer and the respondent
  • Users and customers could turn the interviews into complaint sessions
Group interviews
Customers and users are interviewed in small groups. This is good for gathering general impressions and for determining whether there is a need to change certain aspects of the Service Desk, e.g. service hours or location
  • A larger number of users and customers can be interviewed
  • Questions are more generic and therefore more consistent between interviews
  • People may not express themselves freely in front of their peers or managers
  • Peopleís opinions can easily be changed by others in the group during the interview
Postal/e-mail surveys
Survey questionnaires are mailed to a target set of customers and users. They are asked to return their responses by e/mail
  • Specific or all customers or users can be targeted
  • Postal surveys can be anonymous, allowing people to express themselves more freely
  • E-mail surveys are not anonymous, but can be created using automated forms that make it convenient and easy for the user to reply and increase the likelihood it will be completed
  • Postal surveys are labour intensive to process
  • The percentage of people responding to postal surveys tends to be small
  • Misinterpretation of a question could affect the result
Online surveys
Questionnaires are posted on a website and users and customers encouraged via e-mail or links from a popular site to participate in the survey
  • The potential audience of these surveys is fairly large
  • Respondents can complete the questionnaire in their own time
  • The links on popular websites are good reminders without being intrusive
The percentage of respondents cannot be predicted

Other ITIL Processes

In order to have a good understanding of ITIL and the importance of configuration management, we first define what ITIL is: ITIL is literally a collection of documentation.

This documentation can help IT organizations implement the best practices. The documentation grows and grows as more successful techniques are documented and guidelines established for what can make others successful. The latest ITIL resources are published by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

Integrated service delivery refers to the need for Configuration Management, Change Management, Incident Management, Problem Management and Release Management processes that are linked together in a meaningful manner. For example, the process of releasing components to the live environment (the domain of Release Management) is also an issue for Configuration Management and Change Management whilst the Service Desk is primarily responsible for liaison between IT providers and the Users of services. This section highlights the links and the principal relationships between all the Service Management and other infrastructure management processes.

ITIL processes fall under Operational Layer or Tactical Layer, as follows:

Operational Layer: Configuration Management - Service Desk Management - Incident & Problem Management - Change Management - Release Management
Tactical Layer: Service Level Management - Availability Management - Capacity Management - Continuity Management - Financial Management