Organizations are inundated with best practices, some simple and some complex. Some of these best practices require major investments in training and are time consuming. Sometimes, organizations get lost in the complexity of these best practices and stop believing in making improvements. At the source, improving is all about knowing about who your service consumers are, what you are expected to do for them, and how best to do it. One more aspect a service provider should ensure to cover, is knowing that it provides its services in an optimal way, and if it is not the optimal then define how best to improve.

Before even looking at how to improve any service offering an organization has, there is a need for the organization to have a strategy, to know how to best design the service offering, to know how to best deliver the services and to maintain them over time.

Once an organization has its service offering operational, it is all about knowing how well it is doing and that means the organization had planned not only to deliver and support the right services, but had also planned how to monitor the performance. Then it is a matter of addressing the weak areas in a logical manner and in line with resource availability.

In service management, a critical support area where effectiveness and efficiency can be achieved is the service desk, one of the first contact for users to the service provider. This is also an area that if designed well, can really optimize the service offering. This is an area where many organizations struggle to optimize. There is one practice that exists in software development called “shift left”. “Shift left” emerged as a new way to improve the quality of applications by moving testing cycles closer to development activities instead of the traditional approach of handing testing off to a dedicated quality assurance team
at the end of the development process. This has proven to reduce the number of defects found in production, saved resources for organizations, and improved performance.

If you think your service desk needs improvements , applying the “Shift left” practice could be a good
option for you to consider.

This idea of diagnosing and solving problems at the front-end of the process rather than waiting for a major incident to occur mimics the findings that led to the “Shift left” revolution in software development. The goal of optimizing the service desk incident management process by applying the “Shift left” practice is to enable and empower less technically experienced resources to solve more issues earlier in the incident life-cycle and generally moving interaction points closer to your customer to reduce escalations, improve first-time fix rate, reduce cost of service, and improve customer experience.

An example of the “Shift left” practice applied to improving the service desk is to build some core diagnostic questions into your user self-help portal.

This goes even further then just enabling your technical service desk personnel to do more, but it pushes it to the users to apply fixes themselves. When embarking on a “Shift left” program, you must ensure that you align workflows, roles and responsibilities, as well as your performance system for how these support resources are being supported and rewarded, including having proper metrics.

Here are some basic best practices that is recommended to initiate your thinking process for improving your service desk using the “Shift left” practice. You should consider the steps described below if you want to be successful. Some of the listed steps can be delegated to the service desk but not all should. There are specific cases such as security, privacy or other restrictions that may prevent an organization from delegating tasks that are currently performed by other support groups to the service desk, these tasks must be assessed carefully before it is delegated.

1. Know what to measure, gather and analyze the data
2. Select high value targets where improvement can be gained first
3. Empower the service desk employees with proper policies, training and tools
4. Establish the required escalation triggers
5. Test your new operational model before making it operational
6. Keep measuring performance
7. Scale your improvements based on the performance results

At Fifalde, this is what we do every day. We have experienced specialists that help organizations to go through these optimization processes of discovering, assessing, analyzing and defining what could be done in better ways, plan the improvements, implement and validate success. We do this for service
organizations with respect to any part of their service offering.

We also believe that we can help but that any organization should have the means to help itself, that means having proper resources, processes, tools, and partnerships. For this reason, we also train our clients on how to do it by themselves, making the whole improvement process more sustainable for the clients.