What is a Service Request?
A Service Request is a process for your Help Desk customers to request system access, information or a standard low-risk change to be fulfilled. Let’s break that down a little more. First, customers requesting access to an application, file system or website is a service request. For example, if a customer needs access to a specific financial directory, they will contact the Help Desk to have this request fulfilled. Secondly, customers will call the Help Desk for basic or technical information. This information includes the “how do I” questions, technology-related tips, and general instructions. Finally, customers call the Help Desk for a standard change which is low risk and common request for service. These standard changes include for example installing software, upgrading hardware, and ordering accessories.
The Difference Between Service Requests and Incidents
A service request is different than an incident. As stated above, a service request is when a customer needs access, information or a standard change. On the other hand, an incident can be described as something is broken and the customer needs it fixed. Or a more technical definition for an incident is an event not part of the standard operation of the service causing an interruption to the quality of the service.
Ticket open duration is also a difference between a service request and an incident. For an incident ticket when something is broken, a priority level is associated with driving resolution. The higher the priority, the quicker it must be resolved. A service request in the process of being completed may be dependent on external variables such as parts in stock, equipment being ordered, shipping duration as examples. However, all the logistics to fulfill the request can be mapped out and given an expected time for the service to be delivered. For that reason, the service request fulfillment process is critical to understand.
Service Request Fulfillment
Service request fulfillment is the process to provision IT Services to the customer. The IT service fulfillment process must be defined so repeatable steps are used by the Help Desk agents and other IT staff. This will ensure customers receive the services they asked for. To ensure high customer satisfaction, the fulfillment process is monitored until completion. Requests are tracked from beginning to end to ensure the services are provisioned in a timely manner. Provisioning time frames are governed by Service Level Agreements (SLA). These SLAs are agreed to by IT and the customers so both parties have the same expectations. SLAs are underpinned by Operational Level Agreements (OLA). An OLAs are agreements It has with vendors supplying parts and services used to fulfill the customer’s service request.
Service Level Agreements
A service level agreement is a contract between the service provider and the customer. SLAs define the IT services to be provided by IT to their customers. It also states the time frame the IT service is to be provisioned. Also, it identifies how to measure the effectiveness of the IT service fulfillment and how to report on it. If the service provider fails to meet the provisioning expectations, it details how it should be reported. Once reported, an SLA defines the response format and time frame the service provider is held to respond. It also defines the consequences the service provider could face in failure to deliver to expectations.
In ITIL a service catalog is a listing of IT services available for the customer to request. At many companies, you will find the service catalog as part of the corporate intranet website. A service catalog is an electronic one-stop shop for customers to find IT services. The service catalog will include information about the IT service. This information may include a description of the service, how to order the service and the expected time the service will be delivered. Service catalogs have become very advanced. Many service catalogs will have backend workflow engines. A catalog workflow engine will handle the sequence of approval and provisioning steps through which a service request passes from initiation to completion.
Service Request Best Practices
IT services requested by your customers are common and frequent. The work of provisioning those IT services is highly repeatable. Due to this fact, systematically removing motion waste and fulfillment inefficiencies can improve the speed of delivery and the IT service quality delivered. To set up an effective and customer-focused service request fulfillment process you must focus on some key issues. These key issues or best practices will ensure your fulfillment process meets customer expectations.
You should start building your request fulfillment processes by focusing on the services most frequently requested. Start by looking at your Help Desk ticketing system. The benefit to starting with the requests with the most volume is you have a lot of history delivering these services. Furthermore, you will receive the biggest benefit in improving the efficiency of high-volume requests. Every request for service needs to have a corresponding ticket created and correctly categorized. Running reports on ticket categories and volumes can provide great data on which services to start on.
In addition, focus on the customer experience. Your list of IT services available must be understood by the customer. In your list, use terms to describe the service in which the customers can understand. When building your service catalog, the IT service descriptions should not be written for IT staff but for a general user. Remove excessive technical jargon and make sure the IT services listed are reviewed by customer focus groups.
Other service requests best practices considerations are to ensure to centralize your service requests and use an automated process. Your Help Desk should be the single point of contact for all requested services. This may also include administrative, facility and other type requests. By having a single point of contact for your customers, there will not be any confusion on where to go to initiate and check the status of requests. Furthermore, ensure FAQs are available for your customers to find answers to their questions.
The request fulfillment process should also be as automated as possible. Consider building a service catalog with a back-end workflow system. One of the major benefits of having an IT service catalog is your customers become more self-sufficient. If customers are able to navigate a service catalog and request services on their own, it will free up IT resources for other activities.