Selling the Service Desk Model

You know you have a good thing in Jira Service Desk. You suspect that it could be a great tool for teams across your organization. But you’ve found it difficult to convince the Big Fish that things need to change. Here are some suggestions for addressing the objections that might be holding your organization back.

“We Don’t Need a Service Desk - We Use Email"

The truth is, email is rather limiting as a tool for handling service requests. Some of the problems include:

  • Handling tasks by email does not preserve the work that’s been done for easy retrieval and reuse. You have reinvent the process every time.
  • Email doesn’t provide an easy mechanism for measuring the frequency of a given task or the amount of time needed to carry it out.
  • There’s no easy way to check the status of multi-step, multi-person processes. You end up sending more email to ask about the status of the first email.
  • Processes that are carried out by a single person via email may not be documented. When that person is absent from the organization or leaves completely, their knowledge of what was done and why it was done that way leaves with them. Email is not a safe place to store your institutional memory.

Those are all good reasons for not using email as a way to handle business processes, but there’s an even bigger problem.  Because of the volume we receive, email has become wildly distracting and inefficient.  Consider these stats from Atlasslian:

Sixteen minutes to get back on track every time you’re interrupted by an incoming email? That’s not how you want employees spending their time!

“Not Everyone Wants an IT Solution”

Leadership and heads of other business teams might reasonably question whether or not a solution developed for IT would be appropriate for their services. HR might point out that people don’t behave as predictably or consistently as lines of code.  Legal might question whether or not a tech tool would have fields for their specialized data.

Making the case for extending the service desk model to non-tech teams comes down to remembering why service desks were created in the first place - to deliver better, faster service.  Regardless of whether they serve internal and external customers, teams across your organization are providing service. Teams like HR, Marketing, Finance, and Operations receive and respond to dozens of requests every day.  While the idea of using “tickets” or a “help desk” may strike some of those folks as foreign, or perhaps uncomfortably impersonal, the idea of being able to provide better service will strike a chord.  Make it clear that the tool you’re offering will facilitate better customer support.

The other big advantage of using a service desk is access to analytics. It’s hard to capture processes that are buried in email inboxes or scattered across individual spreadsheets. How many leave requests were received last quarter? How much staff time was needed to respond to those request? Being able to answer those kinds of questions allows your teams to demonstrate value. It empowers team leaders to forecast the demand for services and allocate resources accordingly.  It shines a light on which processes are most commonly used, and therefore need to be optimized for efficiency.  Once again, a service desk offers teams a way to provide better service.

Then There’s the Cost

Considering the functionality, Jira Service Desk is amazingly affordable. But to really understand the benefit to your bottom line, you have to consider the cost of not using a service desk model. Remember all that time being wasted by using email? That’s time your organization is paying for. It’s pretty silly when you think about it. Why would an organization hire highly qualified staff, with specialized knowledge and expertise only to have them spend their time digging through email? Why not use a service desk to streamline those repeated processes so your specialists can focus on higher value work?

There will always be resistance to change, but if you can gently bring your organization’s leadership around, you’ll be seen as the hero who made every team’s work easier and improved service across the organization.