Attrition-Proof Your Service Desk
The ‘big resignation’ hit service desks in a big way. The vast majority of service desks have lost some percentage of employees to attrition over the last six months. Many have lost multiple employees and are struggling to support their employees. When a service desk employee leaves, there is an immediate loss of bandwidth that impacts the functioning of the service desk. There are other ways in which attrition is hitting the service desks, such as:
- An employee walks away with knowledge
Existing service desk employees acquire knowledge over time that is unique to their service desk. When they walk – this knowledge walks right out of the door with them – and it takes time for the new service desk employee to learn/figure out this knowledge. To make matters worse, a lot of this knowledge is often not documented.
- Long-term plans are disrupted
Working on a project or other planned priorities? The moment when attrition hits your service desk, you will forget about projects or priorities. All hands-on deck and managing tickets/SLA become the priority, and other planned tasks and priorities take a back seat. This is not good for the long-term improvement of the service desk.
- Hiring new talent is difficult and expensive
Each new hire is more expensive than the last one you had. On top of it, most of the talent pool available today would prefer to work from home – which some companies might not be OK with. This reduces your choices when it comes to hiring, given the scarcity of talent right now.
Many service desk leaders realize that they need a strategy to handle the attrition-related impacts. Allowing attrition and resource-related issues to impact service delivery every three months is not a sustainable model and reflects poorly on the leadership. Here is a step-by-step guide to what you can do to better prepare your service desk for attrition and any other resource-related issues in the future.
Your five-step plan to attrition proof your service desk
- Data analysis
Data is a friend of every service desk manager. However, the kind of data analysis involved here is different from day-to-day ticket analysis, agent productivity analysis or SLA analysis. The focus is on classifying different kinds of ticket resolutions. Here is what you need to know:
- What percentage of issues can be resolved by providing an answer? (Knowledge automation)
- What percentage of issues can be resolved by automating small tasks? (Task automation, typically using integrations)
- What kind of incident or service request takes the longest amount of time?
- What kind of users raise the most tickets and why?
- What percentage of time does your L0/L1 spend on attending phone calls, creating tickets or chasing employees to get more information about their tickets?
- What percentage of tickets are rerouted?
If you do not know precise answers to these questions, you must dig a little deeper and find out. Answers to these questions will allow you to know right away – what your next steps should be to attrition-proof your service desk.
2. Select the right technology
Armed with data analysis from step 1, you might have a good understanding at this stage of what you need to automate. This is a time to look hard at your current technology or service desk solution and see if that can help you. Most traditional service desk solutions are ‘ticket trackers’, silo-ed and agent-focused. Maybe these will not be able to help you achieve your self-service and automation goals. Look for AI-powered technologies in the market.
Here are the kind of questions to ask yourself as you evaluate these technologies:
- What kind of issues can this system handle? What kind of automation does this system provide?
- Knowledge automation
- Task automation
- Process automation
- Desktop automation
- How easy is it to automate?
- How do employees access this solution? Is it available on collaborative platforms like MS Teams or Slack?
- What is my ROI?
- Does it use conversational AI?
- How is the employee experience?
- Does it have an AI-powered humankind approach?
- Does it have a smart routing of tickets?
- Does it offer out-of-the-box solutions so that your effort is minimal, given that you are already dealing with attrition?
Match the product's capabilities with your short-term and long-term automation needs. Select a product that offers a matching solution with the right ROI.
3. Create a roadmap
Automation is a journey. You will not achieve all the automation on day one. Create a plan to detail what kind of automation you want to create within the next three months, the next six months and beyond. For example, knowledge automation is the easiest to create – and will help you with attrition issues right away. Set goals about what percentage of issue resolution should be automated – 15% in three months, 30% in six months, etc. Once you have a roadmap based on your data analysis and technology partner – all that is left now is implementation.
4. Work to create internal buy-in
There are multiple stakeholders in any service desk environment, and it is important to get a proper buy-in from all of these. These stakeholders might include:
- Your CIO or CTO (Senior technology leadership)
- Your CFO
- Most prolific users (or power users as we call them)
- Your service desk employees
You need to have discussions and make presentations to all of these stakeholders to articulate the following clearly:
- What are you proposing to do, and why?
- How long will it take, and what will be the outcome at the end of it?
- What effort is needed to go into it, and what is the expected role of all stakeholders?
5. Create a service desk of the future
Now you are on your way to creating a service desk of the future for your enterprise. It goes without saying that implementation should be managed well, and change management related to new initiatives needs to be well-managed. One of the critical aspects missed in the implementation is the perception management of end-users and others.
We suggest two things for this based on our experience in implementing an AI-based service desk:
- Have a communication strategy
Send videos and interesting emails to communicate with end-users about the changes. A good communication strategy will make a lot of difference in your success.
- Small initial success
We should focus on creating small successes early in the game during implementation. Creating small wins will get everyone excited about the initiative and help you get the right support going forward.
Rezolve.ai helps our clients create a service desk with a high level of ‘auto-resolution’ rates coupled with a high employee experience. An automated service desk where L0/L1 tasks are already handled by AI is in a much better situation to handle attrition or budget cuts than a traditional service desk. Your road ahead can continue to be bumpy – or you can get attrition proof your service desk by moving towards a new service delivery model based on AI and automation.