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10 Common Mistakes in Service Management (and how we can avoid them)

As most Service Desk professionals know, working at a Service Desk is not easy. In fact, it can be extremely difficult. Most Analysts have to deal with an excessive workload already, while managing incoming customers’ requests and trying to keep up with deadlines and SLAs. Unless a well-established and proven process is in place, making mistakes is just unavoidable – and only human.


Here’s a list of ten common mistakes in Service Management:

1.     Making quick assumptions. When the clock is ticking and the customer is demanding a rapid solution, jumping into conclusions might seem a good idea. Well, it’s not. A quick assumption might be wrong and result to additional time for closing the request; plus, a dissatisfied customer.


2.     Not collecting all the facts. There are pieces of information which are absolutely crucial for handling a request effectively; and they won’t always be the obvious ones. That’s why it is important to collect all the facts from the customer, even if they don’t seem relevant at the beginning.


3.     Being supplied with inaccurate or incomplete information. The customers usually provide a description of the incident, as they perceive it. In most cases, though, the customers are not experts; it’s up to the Analyst to guide the customer with the correct set of questions and make sure the information collected is accurate and adequate.


4.     Not properly evaluating or reproducing the situation. Focusing on the tree might stop you from seeing the forest. Step up and have an overview of the incident – and check whether it is becoming a problem.


5.     Accepting pressure to deliver now. Either from customers or from the business, the front-line staff are under pressure to provide a solution as soon as possible. As we all appreciate, though, not all incidents can be resolved immediately; and this is hardly the Analyst’s fault. Accepting pressure to deliver fast can lead to more mistakes - and more unhappy customers.


6.     Agreeing a timeframe without understanding the problem. Nor the potential impact and risks. Nor the resources required. Before raising the customers’ expectations (and risk further disappointment), we need to make sure we have a clear understanding of the case and what’s involved.


7.     Not escalating a request early enough. There’s a point where a request has to be escalated; either because it requires the involvement of a specialist, or because it suggests that the scale of the problem is bigger than initially estimated; or just because the customer has an attitude that requires your manager’s assistance to address. Make sure you escalate things when you feel you need help, even if it might seem very early in the process.


8.     Trying to fix things beyond our skill set. Not everyone is an expert in everything; most of us have specific skill sets. Trying to fix things beyond our skill set will probably result to delays and wasting of productive time.


9.     Not involving the right people. While not everyone is an expert in everything, there will be members in the team that are real specialists in particular fields. These valuable resources should be used when required to help accelerate responding to requests. After all, that’s what experts are for!


10.            Not keeping the customer informed. Customers want to know that someone is working on their case. They need to rest assured that their request was not misplaced, forgotten or ignored. Even if the team is working on the incident, unless the customer is being properly and promptly informed, they might get frustrated.


These common mistakes can be avoided, with the right tools and processes in place. This is what a comprehensive ITSM solution, like Marval MSM, does.

Marval MSM offers a proven process for managing incidents and sophisticated features, such as:

  • Web Self-Service for low impact requests
  • A clear workflow
  • Access to all previous interactions
  • Rapid suggestions for managing the incident
  • IT Service Catalogue
  • SLM breach management to highlight and take action on pending breaches
  • Email and business rules engine - for specialist assignment, classification and escalation
  • Knowledge Management System
  • Automated updates for the customer
  • Provision for customers to query the progress of their requests


So Analysts can take off the pressure and ensure that requests will be handled according to the corporate process and within the pre-agreed service level agreements. And the Service Desk Manager can be confident that customers have the right expectations, their teams are fully engaged and motivated; and they all are in the process of embracing the new culture that will take the organisation one step ahead.

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