Friday, 27 August 2010

ServiceDeskPhobia: one-idiot-fits-all

Today I had the unpleasant experience that my company's email server was down - all morning and well into the after lunch dip even. So, after a few tries, I sighed and picked up the phone to call the Service Desk

I used to have quite severe arachnophobia; a quarter of an inch of spider within two feet of me was enough to make me move a few extra feet; usually horizontally, sometimes even vertically; and the distance travelled by me had an exponential relationship with the size of the spider (I once managed 3 floors in less than 1 second - at least it felt like that)
But, fortunately, since I went through all the stages of thinking, finding, feeling and knowing that this was rather silly (without much of a result), I made it through the final stage of actually believing so. Now, I love spiders just like other similar sized creatures

The thing I fear most now, is Fear of Calling the Service Desk: ServiceDeskPhobia

Our Service Desk has been outsourced. First to India, but the English was so inaudible that that was relatively quickly undone. Now, it's located in Poland, and people are trained to speak Dutch.
Now, I recognise an effort when I see one, and I know how hard it is to speak a foreign language fluently (I speak 6 languages, of which only English -and Dutch- really fluently), but it's not like I'm talking to a native Dutchman or -woman. The English is similar: we both have to speak slow, repeat (parts of) sentences multiple times, use other words to say the same, etcetera

However, next to all the barriers present (audio-only, complete anonimity for both, language, and the fact that the ServiceDesk is now supposed to handle an even larger part of our company), a really annoying barrier got introduced: the assumption that all the people who call, are idiots.
If you've called a ServiceDesk a few times in your life, you'll recognise being dragged through the Help Script from the very, very start ("Is the cable plugged in? Are you sure? Have you checked it?")

I can handle a lot. But I won't let them finish the First Help Script Sentence, preferably not even start it.
I understand that you can't expect all the people who call the Service Desk, to be expert - they wouldn't be making that call if they were
But to assume them to be complete idiots is the other end of the scale. And I believe that there is no scale

Why is the question not asked? Why not? It is a simple question, and it would make everyone's life easier and more pleasant.
"How would you rate your experience regarding the use of this functionality under normal circumstances?"

One easy question, a whole world of difference. People feel acknowledged, respected and addressed at their level. Service Desk people won't have to ask a lot of "silly questions", customers won't have to give a lot of "silly answers". It would save time on both sides, and time is money, and in this case also Utter Frustration

It seems like Service Desks have become so "cheap" since we outsourced them out-of-sight-out-of-heart, that the one-idiot-fits-all approach became justified. Well, it isn't, wasn't, never will be, and never should have been.
Please roll back that one-idiot-fits-all approach, and introduce The Question. Thanks

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