The Evolution of the Service Desk: A Q&A with Zachary Brand

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Almost everyone is familiar with the basic process of a service desk, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Behind every technical support request is a team of skilled professionals who are prepared to help you with your technical issues. These experts are not only there to accurately solve the problems you are facing but to listen to your problems with empathy and finesse. 

Zachary Brand is one of the talented minds behind the service desk at Crossfuze. As the director of connected solutions, Brand works to provide a seamless delivery of an exceptional service desk experience by knowing what dials to turn and levers to pull based on his years of experience identifying what is working and what isn’t. With over a decade of experience in business and IT leadership, working with dozens of organizations to run their service desk successfully, he knows what he’s doing. 

We sat down with him to talk about the evolution of the service desk and what changes he expects are on the way. Keep reading to learn more. 

 

Q) What demands have you seen the service desk experience over the past year? How has the service desk changed to address the influx of calls that have come in due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A) The pandemic has definitely presented new challenges. Mostly, it’s been a challenge to keep up with the pace of requests we get every day as everyone has shifted to working remotely. Everyone was used to doing their work in their office, and then they had to find a way to be productive at home. Not only did this require more calls, but each call was also longer. 

It was all hands on deck. The whole team was involved in making sure we continued to provide the best user experience possible, and as a whole, from what our clients said as well as our own employees, we were successful in doing so. We explored new ways to provide support and expand the capacity of the service desk, not only with one-on-one calls but also self-service and chat. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and the struggle to adapt to a new work environment has helped us identify more areas to streamline the customer experience.

 

Q) How have you seen the service desk model change since you first started working in IT leadership? 

A) Over the years, I’ve focused on the end user’s experience as much as possible. Of course, we want to provide as many options for the customer as possible outside of call support. With greater chat capabilities, for example, it’s possible for customers to reach out to us whenever they need to, even if it’s in the middle of a meeting. Chat offers a fast, reliable, and low-disruption way to get help when needed.

In the past, the industry taught agents to focus on handling the technical side of the request more so than the human side. Today, as service desk practitioners, we take into account both and view them as equally important to ensure a great experience overall. To help us do so and keep us focused on constant improvement, we have streamlined the experience by providing comprehensive training to our customers and internal team. By incorporating the values of The Effortless Experience into how we manage and train for the service desk, we have been able to make improvements in how our team manages everything. We consistently use surveys and data to implement the best practices we can and ensure we treat users as human beings, not just tickets in the queue.

 

Q) What components of training do you suggest other service desks look at in order to drive home an exceptional user experience?

A) You can train on technical components as much as you want, but the success of a service desk comes down to the user’s experience. We invest time into training our agents on our customers’ business, culture, and employees so they know who is most likely to be on the other end of the line. Because we foster this understanding of our clients, we are able to provide much better service to ensure a seamless experience for every customer.

It’s about bringing the human side into the process and prioritizing the empathy needed to give great customer service. Not only do we focus on that in training, but it’s something we actively search for while hiring and recruiting.

 

Q) How do you predict the service desk model will change in the future?

A) I’ve already noticed a few shifts in how service desks will operate in the future, especially in terms of technology. With things like machine learning and AI gaining more traction, I think service desks will adapt to provide more opportunities for self-service and greater automation of manual tasks. Customers will likely have access to more information through training videos and tools, which they can use to solve issues more efficiently. 

On the other hand, the human element of technology will always be important, even as technology advances to provide more comprehensive solutions. Providing that human touch is really the differentiating factor between sufficient and excellent service. Moving forward, it is essential to consider how we can maintain that empathy and humanity to best support our customers. 

To dive deeper into this discussion with Zach, reach out at LetsTalk@crossfuze.com

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