How to rethink your ITSM service design process

Service management never stagnates. It’s always changing with the development of new technologies that make IT service management (ITSM) organizations run more smoothly.

But it's easy to forget the reason for all of this development in IT's efforts to do more with less. These advances are meant to benefit the people you serve: those at the heart of the organization.

IT professionals recognize the need to be more people-oriented while focusing a bit less on key performance indicators (KPIs). That same thinking can extend to the way you approach service design.

But you first need to understand that process and define your ITSM service design. Here's how.

The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Service Management 2018

Define your ITSM service design with the four P's

Service design shapes and tailors your business to fit your customers’ needs, so if you want your service to shine, you must consider the overall service delivery experience. What does your service desk offer that keeps customers coming back? Your users don’t pay for services rendered, but branding is extremely important to your overall effort. It’s essential to delivering good-quality service and should be a major part of how the desk's work is presented.

To do that, it's helpful to consider the 4 P's of service design:

  • People. People are responsible for providing IT services, but the end users are, obviously, people too. When designing service delivery processes, account for both: those who manage the service desk, and those who enjoy the services provided by the desk.
  • Products. These are the services and technology used to deliver and support the services you deliver. The better the products, the better the customer experience. And remember that sometimes less is more: More software isn't always the best answer. Ultimately, simplicity with regard to product use may be your best way forward.
  • Processes. Process support and management of the services being offered to meet customers’ expectations mean much of this, as discussed in the point above, is about creating simplicity, for both the internal service team and the users of the service.
  • Partners. When designing services for your users, consider your vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers as well. Your partners are needed to support your services, and they are becoming more central to service delivery.

In your service design mix, you need portions of each of the P's. Don't get bound up in processes and forget about people. A more customer-focused service desk puts more emphasis on both the people who use the service desk and those who provide those services.

Take a people-first design approach

So how do you design your services with a people-first mindset? Here are some quick tips.

Enable the workforce

This idea is just another take on Forrester’s concept of employee experience. Service management is about improving workflow and allowing users the ability to work where they want, when they want, and with their preferred apps and devices.

Develop a self-service portal

Provide customers with tools they can use to solve their problems, such as an updated knowledge base and FAQs, and you will save everyone valuable time as you help them solve their own problems. If you don’t have a self-service portal, now’s the time to move forward. If you already have one, make sure it’s optimized.

Manage your KPIs

Try to run a maximum of eight reports that you use frequently, rather than a bunch that you can’t keep track of. In this way you'll make your KPIs easier to manage, and you can focus on the customer. Make sure your KPIs are tracking the right things and that they are linked to your desired customer experience and to your SLAs.

When you set up your KPIs, make sure they are SMART:

  • Specific. A measure must be specific enough so as not to clutter your metrics with data that's not relevant to the situation, yet influences the outcome.
  • Measurable. Use only concrete information with no margin for errors or doubts.
  • Achievable. Set achievable goals. Working with extremely strict metrics that always stay in the red will discourage your team.
  • Relevant. Metrics in green are beautiful, but they must be valuable to the business. Make sure you are evaluating relevant points for the company.
  • Timely. Determine deadlines for evaluating your progress. If your KPI is always red, evaluate how you’re going to fix the problem. If your KPI is always green, it's time to further improve your team's performance.

Map out the customer experience

Map out customer journeys by creating stereotypical personas. This is an effective way to establish the proper touch points your customers might encounter. Doing so provides you with the opportunity to experience your service from the perspective of the customer, so you can make more informed decisions about systematic improvements. Before you begin, however, decide what you want your customer to experience and make sure you are living up to this ideal through customer mapping. Customer mapping continues to be a vital part of improving the customer experience.

Decide what processes you want to use

Examine the most efficient processes to use, and plan ahead. Consider how to meet your goals and get strategic about how you are going to achieve results. Ask yourself how you going to log a ticket, for example. Are your processes high-performing, and do they function when in use by the people who will be using them? If you have a self-service portal, do people know about it? Questions such as these will help you understand your processes better so you can make effective improvements.

Train your department in the new customer experience

Ultimately, the most important ingredient for customer-focused service delivery is your team. Give them incentives to contribute to the service desk culture. Great customer service must be rewarded with things such as team dinners, new tech gadgets, and outings such as zip-lining and other fun team-building activities. Such incentives are a great way to create a culture that focuses on excellent customer service.

How to get started

A good ITSM service design is built around the intersection of your people, products, processes, and partners. To get started, map out the customer journey, determine what processes you want to use, and then train your department on those processes.