1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The evolution of the customer service desk, from its origin as a help desk to its current state, is similar to the evolution of the bank branch. Over the years, new technologies have enabled bank branch staff to better serve customers visiting the branch. Terminals empower tellers with immediate access to a variety of applications and databases that span all the bank’s products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, and loans. Perhaps the most significant development, however, is that innovations in processes and technology have eliminated much of the need for customers to visit a business branch, or have any interactions with business personnel.
The service desk was initially viewed as the place to go for technical help. It was the resource for providing assistance in using applications and databases, or to resolve problems. Service desk applications (Originally called help desk applications) emerged to empower service desk technicians. These applications guide technicians through best-practice processes, ensuring the proper handling of incident tickets. They also aggregate service desk performance data, such as response times and first-call resolution rates, permitting the IT staff to monitor and improve service delivery. Customer service desk processes have continually improved to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Service maintains a knowledge base of solutions to known problems, which technicians can easily access. They provide a holistic view of the enterprise infrastructure that shows the infrastructure components (both physical and virtual), their configurations, and their physical and logical relationships. The ability to see users’ computer configurations eliminates the need for users to communicate this information verbally to service desk technicians, saving time and reducing errors. In addition, the ability to see the relationship of users’ systems to other infrastructure components speeds problem identification and correlation. Customer service desk technologies are empowering consumers of IT services. Users now have access to tools that enable them to resolve many problems on their own, without having to contact the service desk. For example, they can reset their passwords on theirs own, eliminating a major source of customer service desk calls.. The evolution of the customer service desk has resulted in a number of service enhancements, yet there is still considerable room for improvement to take it to the level of self-service similar to the online banking experience. Most customer service desks still operate primarily in a reactive mode, responding to issues only after users report them. The service desk is still being inundated with calls, many of which are from users requesting services or simply checking on the status of their requests. These calls distract service desk technicians from resolving issues that are related.