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Web form or phone call?

Every service desk reaches a point where it has to start considering: how do we want our customers to contact us? Should they call us, visit us personally, or contact us through a Self Service Desk? Two experts discuss the increased digital communication and the effect it has on personal interaction: Now Im working for a company which is mostly digitized, and its really quiet.


Deciding whether customers should visit you personally, call you or email the service desk is better known as the principle of face-call-click or click-call-face. The first type is based on personal contact with the service desk; the second is geared towards digital communication. Facilities specialist Jang Mee Bosman and TOPdesk consultant Kevin Bruin have also noticed that more and more organizations are opting for digital calls. Face-call-click or click-call-face why should a service desk make the decision? Jang Mee explains. Customers often dont mind how they log calls, as long as their problems get resolved. That is why service organizations should decide for themselves whether or not they want to work digitally. The most important aspect of helping

customers is the availability of the service desk, anticipating their needs and giving feedback on calls. Reporting incidents digitally could also be the solution for your service desk. Customers no longer have to bear in mind the opening hours of the service desk, because they can log their own calls. Furthermore, they can always refer to a specific call and say, Listen, I made this call two weeks ago, but there has still been no progress. Moving towards digital communication is not only useful for customers; it can also save service desk employees a lot of time. They can deal with calls at any given moment due to the correct registration of calls, and the overview of customer problems enables them to work preventively: Bulbs are replaced before they burn out.

That sounds great. So digital registration is the way to go? Before you take the digital plunge, there are a couple of things to consider. Introducing an online platform like the Self Service Desk often means taking a completely different approach. If you force customers to log everything digitally, you might alienate certain people who will in turn see this as bad service. The end doesnt always justify the means, explains Kevin.




An approach that might work is to stimulate your customers to use the Self Service Desk in a positive way. Introduce them to the idea by distributing flyers, hanging posters in the coffee corner, placing footers in emails and so forth. It is important that you stress the advantages for the customers clearly. For example, being able to make a call at any moment of the day and the improved feedback are key selling points. Jang Mee agrees. Customers are often prepared to make the extra effort if they understand the benefits of digital calls and if making a call is only three or four clicks away. The process should definitely not be too complex, or else theyll give up. Most people would rather call or visit the office than fill out a form. Forms can be really useful for simple calls about cleaning or broken bulbs, but often enough a problem is too complex to handle in such a way, explains Jang Mee. Due to the complexity of IT calls, going digital can often prove tricky. You need enough information to resolve the call, but often the customers IT knowledge is too limited to explain the nature of the problem. The IT specialist then has to call the customer to find out what the problem is, replies Kevin. Requests, on the other hand, are

easily automated. The data in these requests is often standard and easy to put in a form which you can publish on the internet. The information is then applied to the tool and a set duration is linked to it. Not much can go wrong and it is easier than copy-pasting from Word documents, Kevin explains.

in the first place is the personal side of the job; now they have to turn down their colleagues and tell them to log their requests digitally. This might take quite a bit of getting used to. Is visiting the service desk a thing of the past? Jang Mee: The introduction of email and PDA has stimulated the use of digital and telephone contact. One of my clients exclusively uses digital communication and only has to visit customers for keys. Its really quiet there. Kevin: Everyone seems to know each other in smaller organizations, thus incidents will be registered personally. I also prefer to visit system management if I have a problem with my computer.


Jang Mee Bosman

Wont digitization interfere with personal interaction? It most likely will, comments Jang Mee. But it could also work to your advantage as customers wont come running to you as soon as their rubbish bin needs to be emptied. Although they prefer picking up the phone or addressing a facilities employee in the lift, customers will have to get used to the change. The service desk employees themselves also have to make a switch, especially facilities employees. One of the reasons they started working in facilities

Jang Mee Bosman is the general manager of Fmission and advises other organizations in the area of MIS and helps them to select, implement and optimize these systems. Kevin Bruin is a consultant at TOPdesk and specializes in the introduction of the Self Service Desk and the communication that surrounds it.