3 Critical Reasons IT Service Desk Employee Retention Matters to Enterprise CIOs

Keep in mind that service desk retention rate is directly tied to end user cost-of-service.

When examining outsourced technical support service desk offerings, it's important to find out about the organization’s employee retention rate before you sign a contract.

This is a huge issue in the industry today, with research showing that industry averages in service desk employee turnover are nearly 40 percent*. At Logicalis, ours was under 5 percent for the last two quarters, and has been around 15 percent year over year.

Why do customers care? Because knowledgeable, long-term service desk employees can answer calls significantly faster, with more authority and resolve more incidents at the first level, rather than escalating to more expensive talent; this means real bottom-line cost savings for customers who use employee retention as one of their key service desk selection criteria.

3 Reasons Service Desk Employee Retention Matters

  1. Consistency in Response: When users call their company’s technical support service desk, they become accustomed to the way in which their calls are answered and handled, and they like that consistency – in fact, they depend on it.  Users want their calls answered in a specific way, in a certain amount of time, and they want an assurance that the person answering that call is knowledgeable and confident in their response.  What they don’t want is “just another friendly voice” or a message taker ready to forward them on to someone else.

    When people have a technical issue, it prevents them from doing their jobs effectively, and that creates a certain level of discomfort.  Knowing that they have a knowledgeable agent on the line who can speedily resolve their issue with confidence and consistency builds trust.  Service desks that are able to keep trained agents at the ready are able to establish that kind of rapport, giving clients the confidence they need to trust the help desk with their most critical technical needs.
  2. Familiarity with the Customer’s Environment: IT service desk agents who remain on staff long-term become much more than just a voice on the phone to their clients; they become a trusted advisor.  No two computing environments are the same, and agents that have a history of working with a specific set of clients get to know those clients’ computing environments over time.

    Any service desk can hire someone that knows Windows, Office or email, but to have someone inside a service desk that knows how email behaves in a particular customer’s computing environment is both unique and valuable.
  3. Long-Term Access to the Knowledge Base: No matter how much training a service desk conducts to prepare agents for the issues they may encounter, there are times when the agent has to refer to technical documents or manuals to craft a solution that will work for a specific customer.  Once they’ve learned that fix, though, repeating it with the same client becomes virtually automatic; it’s second nature to long-term reps.  Not having to rely on documentation to resolve problems means faster resolutions, and ultimately, lower costs and greater satisfaction for the customer.  Many service desks see their first-level agents as low-cost commodities, and they simply expect a high rate of turnover.

    The most successful service desks, however, see first-level agents as their most valuable asset because they are the face of that IT organization.  Service desks that offer a true career path for their employees are able to retain their talent long-term, which means, even if the agent has moved into a new position, that knowledge remains inside the organization as a reference point.  Even if an agent leaves a particular department, if they’ve moved up within the organization, they’re still available as a resource or to train new agents, all of which results in a more personal, intimate experience for the customer’s users and establishes a level of trust on the client’s part that is critical to a successful long-term service desk relationship.

Learn how Logicalis can help you improve your Service Desk. 

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*Source: Help Desk Institute:  “Metric of the Month: Annual Agent Turnover”