Many IT managers wonder if social media can replace an IT service desk. While social media outlets offer new ways to connect with customers and users, they can also hurt IT productivity and reduce customer satisfaction. Let’s take a look at social media outlets in IT support.
IT leaders are keen to reduce costs, and self-service based on social media sounds like a panacea.
Unmanaged crowd-sourcing of support and using social media to connect IT technical staff directly to users may be a bad idea. Providing a user multiple “answers” to a problem can extend outage time and reduce productivity of those who are answering.
Allowing users to “ping” the IT team for an answer is also a bad idea, due not only to lack of information capture (and loss of organizational learning) but also to interruption and potentially incorrect actions taken.
Social media is probably not going to replace your existing IT service desk, and if unmanaged, social media-based support can become a detriment.
Social media outlets provide new ways of gathering and sharing information from powerful peer-to-peer relationships. Anyone seeking information has a dramatically larger number of potential responses and responders. This has both positive and negative potential.
Allowing users to contact members of IT staff outside of the single point of contact (SPOC) provided by the service desk function can interrupt IT project schedules, result in misrouted and lost incident records (tickets), and can result in decreased business productivity.
The entire point of a SPOC is to capture, build, and share knowledge and solutions for the express purpose of quickly restoring service to users. Research shows that implementing a SPOC improves both business and IT productivity, so any social media solution must “fit” into the SPOC concept.
Using social media properly—that is, as an optional alternative along the lines of email and managed by a SPOC function—can improve productivity and increase customer satisfaction. Social media outlets continue to grow in popularity and proper usage, should you decide to incorporate them, is critical to your success.