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What’s On The Menu? How An IT Catalogue Helps Serve Your Customers With Better Service

By Hassan Elahi, Support Analyst, Marval

Would you go to a restaurant and order something that is not listed on the menu? Probably not. Would you use a Shopping Catalogue and try to order items that are not included in the wonderfully illustrated pages? Definitely not. Customers who enter a business, any business, have specific expectations which are defined by the list of products, or services, the business has chosen to provide. And yes, successful businesses customise or amend their portfolio to match the customers’ evolving requirements or needs, but still their offering is pre-defined and available for customers to see at any given time. Both employees and customers are very clear about what is on offer.

When it comes to IT Service, customers can have any kind of needs and requests, and varied expectations. That’s why the Service Desk has to provide an IT Service Catalogue; a pre-defined list of services which are available, which the Service Desk has the resources to provide; and be clear about prioritisation, time and cost of any available services.

From the customer’s point of view, the Service Catalogue is a great reference point. Customers can check the catalogue, see whether the service they are after is included, how they can claim it and how much time (and money) they would have to spend to get that service. So, when they contact the Service Desk, their expectations are already set; they know what to expect (and when to expect it).

For Support Analysts, a Service Catalogue is a great tool to improve different metrics, like performance, effectiveness and customer communication. Support Analysts are not the grumpy, sulky operatives you may think we are (at least, most of the time!). Most of us are friendly and collaborative people who would be happy to accommodate any request that comes our way. And I mean, any request. So, when a customer calls or steps in with their request, we may as well step in to assist, without checking a) whether this service is actually something we should be dealing with, b) whether this service should be prioritised against other pending tasks, c) whether this service would actually have an increased cost. A Service Catalogue helps us have a clear view of the services we should be delivering and prioritise the right things, delivering better service for everyone (not just the customer who just stepped in!). Furthermore, the Service Catalogue helps us provide a documented response to our customers, regarding the prioritisation of the requested service; a response that is more likely to be understood and well-received.

And of course, there are many good reasons for the business to have an IT Service Catalogue. It helps reduce operational costs, by offering standardised services. It helps define whether more skilled Analysts are required and in what areas. It provides a clearer view on the cost per service (and per resource). It helps the organisation offer reliable, consistent services that match the customers’ expectations. It improves overall customer satisfaction.

ITSM tools usually enable Service Desks to design, customise and deliver a Service Catalogue. Great ITSM tools, like Marval MSM, go a bit further, helping Service Desks align their operations with specific, measurable business objectives, like minimising waste of time and resources, reducing cost and improving performance. They help nurture the right culture and reinstate that a great service is actually a consistently exquisite service, even when we have a full plate. Or rather, particularly then.

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