Defining Quality Assurance for Your Service Desk

April 17, 2019

Service desks continually strive to improve the quality of service that they deliver to their customers, but what exactly do we mean by quality and how can we measure and improve the quality of the service that we provide?

It is important to understand the common definitions of quality and identify those that are most pertinent to us on the service desk. This allows you to look at how you can improve the quality of service that you deliver to your customers through quality assurance and quality checks.

Quality underpins everything that the service desk does.  Ultimately, we want to deliver a quality product and service to our customers. Challenges arise when we must quantify what we mean by quality and how we measure if we are delivering a quality service.  A large component of understanding quality is checking, assessing and auditing to ensure that the outputs from our service desk (closing incidents, communication with customers, overall quality of service) are being delivered.

We might all have different definitions of what constitutes a quality service, but the end goal should always be to deliver the level of service that we want and strive for to our customers.

Definitions of Quality

There are numerous definitions of quality.  Some concentrate on the number of defects (or more precisely the lack of them) in products and services.  ISO 9000 defines quality as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.  Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation asserts that, “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in.  It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.”

We may find that both definitions are useful when we are thinking about the quality of services that service desks provide. Customers do not care, or perhaps do not appreciate, the methodologies and work behind the scenes, or what it takes to deliver services.  We know that they do care about the quality of the service.  While customer may be blind to how we get there,  they do care about the outcome.

Delivering quality service should be modus operandi for any service desk that wants to be successful.  Without quality services you cannot expect to receive positive customer experiences.  It is important to understand that quality services are not something that happen instantaneously, but instead are the product of years of hard work and dedication.

Services evolve over time in response to a myriad factors including, but not limited to, customer expectations and needs, technology, budget, competencies of staff and customers, acquiring knowledge and better ways of working, and the changing demands on the service desk.  Taking this into consideration, quality services are those that meet and exceed customer expectations and are designed to satisfy business objectives. They will be services that customers find useful, and that ultimately allow them to be productive and get back up and running quickly.  These are the types of things the SDI standards look for when talking about quality services.

How to Measure Quality

So how do we deliver a quality service to our customers?

One of the key ways to do this is to check and audit your service desk to understand what level of service they are delivering.  Components of quality include adherence to process, customer service skills, communication skills, speed and effectiveness, and many other aspects that impact the quality of the service delivered to customers.

When you are looking at the quality of incident management, there are two crucial components, call monitoring and ticket/email monitoring.

95-100

Outstanding

85-94

Good

84-75

Below Average

<74%

Fail


Build Your QA Team 

In order to effectively implement quality assurance for your service desk,  you need to build it team that is accountable to ensuring the standards you have set are kept.  At IT By Design, we have built a Quality Assurance Team.   

A member of our team is assigned to monitor tickets and calls with a specific goal for the number of calls and tickets that should be monitored on a weekly basis.   Their manger, in our case the service desk manager,  audits their work on a consistent basis with clearly defined goals.   QA scores are then able to be reflected on each engineer's scorecard as part of their KPIs.  

Below is a copy of our process document for building a strong Quality Assurance Program:

QA Program


I've included a portion of our Service Desk Ticket Quality SOP.   We have taken this and turned it into a spreadsheet with scoring that allows us to measure and quantify the quality of our service desk team.    This allows us to easily identify where our strength and weaknesses lie allowing up to fill gaps and increase both the quality of our service and the profits to our organization.  

 Download Service Desk Ticket Quality SOP 

My team and I will be leading a coaching session on how to implement this during our upcoming event Build IT 

To learn more about our education based event please visit itbd.net/buildit 

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