Countless shared services teams, like help desks, human resources, facilities, and marketing, are supporting employees in medium and large organizations using a general email inbox, and wonder why they struggle to know whether they are providing the service that employees expect. One of the biggest "mind blown" moments I have seen in my consulting work is when I help teams transition from using email inboxes to using Jira Service Desk for taking employee service requests. I have repeatedly heard:
"We finally get the information we need from people without all the back-and-forth."
"For the first time I know how much work we have and whether we are being responsive."
"Now I can actually measure the performance of my team."
"I can make promises to customers about the service-level we will provide, based realistically on data."
"I can more easily communicate to management how we are performing."
It is as if a new world has opened up and managers are set free from constant reaction mode and to a place where they can be more proactive about how they support their organization. It is a very rewarding experience to help teams discover this realization. As a consultant I have strived to help managers understand that with a small investment of time and resources, they can use Jira Service Desk to discover an entirely new way of working, free themselves from inbox hell, and improve service delivery in their organization.
When I talk to teams and begin to learn about how they work, there comes a point at which I begin to educate managers on the few key concepts in Jira Service Desk to help them understand what is possible. I find that once a team understands five simple concepts, the possibilities open up and we can start getting into the details about how to configure Jira Service Desk for their particular needs.
I summarize each of those five concepts below.
Give people forms
The worst thing you can do is tell people in your organization that if they need help, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. This may seem like a simple approach with as little friction as possible for employees, but you will soon find out that the back-and-forth nature of email will become overwhelming. If your team takes requests from employees and those requests require that employee provide you with specific information, then you will receive very few email requests that contain the information you need to help people. Thus, the back-and-forth. This is very common for help desks but can also apply to HR, marketing, and facilities teams.
With Jira Service Desk you can easily create forms tailored to the types of requests you receive from employees. These forms can be as simple or complex as necessary to suite your needs. Forms make it easy for your stakeholders to know what and how to request your help in the most efficient way possible, and it give you a chance to ensure employees provide the information you need to help them. These forms can be placed on your intranet (or website) so they are easy to find and use.
Dividing up the work by logical work types
One major problem using an email inbox to service employee requests is that there is no way to know which emails to work on. There is just a stream of messages, and you can only hope the subject lines are descriptive enough that you know what the request is. What's worse is that as your team stares at the inbox, they tend to cherry-pick the easy ones and leave the difficult requests for others.
Jira Service Desk solves this problem by enabling you to automatically route certain requests to certain queues. These queues can be organized based on topics, by person, by priority, and even by who is sending a request. Yes, you can even create a queue called "Executive team" and route requests from the executive team to a queue that you can prioritize. The point is that queues allow you to organization your work, know what's coming in, and assign team members to work types as necessary.
Know the status of your work at all times
If you have an inbox that your HR team (or any team) uses to respond to employees request; for example, email@example.com, you really don't have a reasonable way to track requests. Unless you count manually, you do not know how long it take to respond to people, how many messages it took to fulfill a request, or even if the request has been resolved. Unless of course you manually search the sent items, read through each one and count.
Who has time for that?
This problem can easily be solved with Jira Service Desk. Requests are time stamped, so you always have a view into the time it takes to complete requests, what requests are completed, when they get resolved, and which requests are outstanding and for how long. Just by scrolling through each queue, you can instantly get a sense for what requests are open, in progress, done, and/or late. I am not even talking about reporting. I am just talking about talking about an in-the-moment view of how your team performance is looking, so you can ask your team, "Why has this request be open for 2 days?"
Make (and keep) promises about service delivery
Now that you have time-stamped requests and organized to route to queues, you can set service level agreements (SLAs) with your stakeholders and hold yourself accountable to those service levels. You can make these SLAs visible inside of your queues so everyone on your team can see what requests are within your SLAs, which ones are at risk, and which ones are over.
Just making the status of SLAs visible raises awareness and rallies your team around keeping those promises because after all, a service level agreement is just a promise you make to your customer.
Reporting and communicating performance
Once you make your promises and start working, someone in your company is going to starting asking you how you are performing against those promises. In Jira Service Desk, you can simply view reports showing how you are performing against your service level agreements. I cannot tell you how relieved I have seen managers who say, "Finally I can just show these few charts and communicate our progress."
But it is not just that, with Jira Service Desk, managers finally have the data to make decisions on resource planning and service levels. Over time, a team will have the data to know how many people it takes to provide a certain level of service based on the number of requests that they receive. Now they can make informed decisions about staffing and service levels. You cannot do this managing stakeholder requests with email.
Become a manager again
Once you understand these five concepts, you cannot help but wonder why you hadn't thought about using Jira Service Desk on your team. I know because I have seen so many teams completely change and improve what they do and managers become managers again.
[Join Live Session] Learn more about Jira Service Desk
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