The Definitive Guide on using Profiles in IT Service Desk

Reading time 25 minutes, written by Helena Lindberg

What is the definitive guide on using profiles in IT service desk?

This guide uncovers how to utilize behavioral user profiles when running Service Desk in IT Service Management, so how to use profiles in Service Desk. It gives you insight on what creates value or frustrates your employees and helps you design and develop your services accordingly. There is a bit of reading (approx. 25 min) so if you prefer you can also download the guide as PDF from here.

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HappySignals Guide to IT Profiles

What’s the difference between Profiles and Personas?

Profiles or Personas are both a way to describe and group customers based on their behavior and motives. Personas are a semi-fictional representation of customers, often containing assumptions. Personas are usually based on market research and survey data with little interaction with the customer, whereas profiles rely on real customer conversations and interactions. When research is done in interaction with the customer, the assumptions (or hypothesis) about customer behavior and motives can be validated or invalidated into customer profiles.

Why are profiles relevant to IT Service Desks?

The more you understand your customer the better decisions you can make when developing services for them. To get this customer understanding, companies often benchmark to other companies in the same industry. But we have discovered that the behavioural model with IT problems is actually quite similar regardless of the industry. The biggest differentiators in user behaviour and value creation come from culture and the behavioural IT profiles. 

IT profiles gives the Service Desk a good understanding on how specific groups of customers should be addressed, what are their main pain points and what creates the most value for them. This knowledge can be utilized in direct customer service interactions, but also in making investment decisions between different service channels, processes and products etc. 

In HappyToday podcast, Sami and Pasi talk about the usage of IT Support Profiles in Service Management

HappySignals IT Support Profiles

HappySignals behavioural IT-profiles are based on dozens of one to one interviews and 20 group interviews with end-users in different roles and different organisations. All in all more than 500 people were interviewed and two main factors impacting the user experience and behavior the most were recognized and documented by our psychologist.

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1. The Competence, which indicates how capable the user is in fixing the IT problem himself or all in all talking about the IT related issues.

“Calling to the Service Desk can be very stressful for someone with very little IT knowledge; some callers feel intimidated because they fear they may have done something wrong or because they feel people would judge them due to their lack of experience with IT tools. Other callers may find it difficult to understand instructions, especially if given in other than their native language.  At the other end of the spectrum are the users who are highly competent; users that have probably already done everything they can to fix the problem or simply avoided fixing it for as long as possible. These users may even be able to fix it themselves but don’t have the rights for it.” 

 

2. The Attitude, which indicates users willingness to solve the problem on their own.

“Attitude describes whether a user wants to fix the issue themselves or simply have someone else take care of it. There are several things that influence a users attitude. Some users are interested to learn, others don’t have much time at hand or the criticality of the problem forces their hand.”

 

When these two behavioural drivers crossed paths we got four behavioural user types, the HappySignals IT Profiles: Doer, Trier, Prioritiser and Supported.

"Attitude describes whether a user wants to fix the issue themselves or simply have someone else take care of it"

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IT Profiles explained

HappySignals IT Behavioural Profiles are divided into four: Doers, Prioritisers, Triers and Supported.

Doers are capable of solving problems themselves by utilizing self-help tools, often helps also colleagues.

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Doers are eager and also capable to solve IT related problems themselves. They Google solutions before contacting IT support. People often ask Doers for help. Doers are happy to help but might end up using up too much of their work time for this. Sometimes Doers try to teach others to solve problems themselves, but often it is quicker to just fix the issue.

 

What they value

  • Keeping all users informed on new tools and best practices - lessen the amount of people asking for help from Doers
  • The sense of achievement that follows a solved problem - a channel for sharing the solutions
  • Culture of asking & sharing in the organization – encouraging users to share solutions and providing tools for that
  • Clearly communicated responsibilities - people would find the right experts and not ask everything from Doers (only questions about Doers real expertise areas)
  • Professional and knowledgeable IT services – Direct contact to second level support
  • Using IT language and terminology
  • Status tracking for tickets

What frustrates them

  • Doers might know more than 1st Level Service Desk and, as such, can get frustrated.
  • Doers like fixing things themselves and they have already tried to solve the problem before contacting the help desk - so first level remote access causes them frustration
  • Acting as unofficial ICT-support in some areas where they are not totally competent.
  • Doers are often advised not to use time to support others but concentrate on their own work. This causes Doers stress.
  • For fluent English speaking Doers the Help Desk’s English isn’t always on the same level

Happiness Score™ tells us

  • Doers usually represent the majority of employees - 59% in 2019
  • Doers prefer self service channels such as portal
  • Doers are the most critical IT profile when scoring IT service performance - Happiness Score™ +65
  • Doers perceive losing time on average 3h 11min per ticket
  • Doers value being informed about the support process and pay attention to lack of skills and attitude

Prioritiser is familiar with IT but does not want to use own time with IT issues, expects service desk to do it

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Prioritisers often have the competence to solve IT issues but they are not willing to use their own time. Prioritisers see dealing with IT issues as not part of their job. They only want to know how long solving it takes and if there are any workarounds. Prioritisers are on a schedule. They value fast service and prefer solving issues during session. Prioritisers might also put-off solving the problem or find workarounds if they see contacting support as too time consuming.
 

What they value

  • Quick and prompt help – chooses self help if it really is the easiest way 
  • The problem is solved with minimal participation – 'Someone should do it for me' attitude 
  • Possibility to take care of more than one problem at a time 
  • Easy to find and choose channel for help 
  • Direct contact to 2nd Level assistance – solving problem during session
  • Status updates

What frustrates them

  • Unscheduled demand for users participation for solving the ticket: Service Desk calls at inconvenient times or remote control takes a long time,
  • If support agent re-does things that prioritiser has already been advised to try. 
  • Explaining the issue several times

Happiness Score™ tells us

  • Prioritisers represent average 22 % of employees in an organisation (2019)
  • Prioritisers prefer channels where they can solve the issue during the session such as on the phone
  • Prioritisers are the second happiest IT profile when scoring IT service performance (Happiness Score™ +74 in 2019)
  • Prioritisers perceive losing least time (2h 36min) per IT issue 
  • Prioritisers value being informed of the progress of solving an IT incident and pay attention to lack of skills or attitude

Trier tries to fix IT issues themselves but usually can’t, prefers personal help and wants to learn from it.

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Triers are willing to try to solve IT issues themselves but are usually not capable. They want to learn, but might not want to admit that they don’t know how to fix something. They often rely on only one or two colleagues they know and trust and are not eager to contact new people. Triers might also think they do know how solve the problem even if they can’t. In this case Triers won´t contact support but just start to try everything, ask someone close by, go to Youtube and often invest a bit too much time on the issue before contacting support. 

What they value

  • Clear and easy self-help instructions
  • Sharing blogs/tips/updates on current common problems
  • Clear instructions on who to contact when IT support is needed
  • Knowing the IT personnel
  • Personal help that enables them to learn

Bottlenecks

  • Triers do not have the patience to search for instructions, especially if they exist in several locations 
  • Triers are not familiar with IT language and terminology
  • Triers might not want to admit they are not competent in IT issues
  • Triers might come to wrong conclusions when trying to solve issues themselves and confuse the helper with misleading theories

Happiness Score™ tells us

  • Triers represent the minority of employees – 7 % in 2019
  • Triers prefer channels where they can prepare their answers such as email and portal
  • Triers are the second most critical IT profile when scoring IT service performance (Happiness Score™ is +71 in 2019)
  • Triers perceive losing most time (4h 20min) per IT issue when compared to other profiles
  • Triers have difficulties knowing where to start when having an IT issue. They value proactive IT service.

Supported is not comfortable with computers, not willing to read instructions or learn to use self-services

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Supported are not competent in solving IT issues and also not willing to try it on their own. Supported might avoid contacting official IT support because they are embarrassed to admit they are not familiar with IT. They just hope someone could help them out so they could get back to work. When finding help they favor familiar people and onsite service if available. Supported rarely use self help channels since they have difficulties understanding the instructions and are not really interested in learning about the solution.

 

What they value

  • On-site help - Easily reachable support person
  • Help from familiar channels and familiar people - loves personal service or at least knowing who is helping them
  • Screen sharing or video recording the problem, reposting tickets - not having to explain the problem verbally
  • Patient assistance – good relationship with someone at support who knows their work and reoccurring problems
  • Service with simple, common language
  • Ease of finding the service channel, possibly have it/them somewhere visible when working

Challenges they have

  • If possible, supported tries to avoid solving the IT issues altogether
  • Raising a ticket and describing the problem is difficult for Supported since they do not understand what went wrong with the software/app/equipment 
  • Does not understand instructions with IT language
  • Challenges with understanding IT language or English drives Supported to solve the issues locally 
  • Explaining the issue several times frustrates Supported

Happiness Score™ tells us

  • Supported represent average 14 % of employees in an organisation (2019)
  • Supported prefer channels where they don´t have to read instructions such as phone. 
  • Supported are the happiest IT profile when scoring IT service performance (Happiness Score™ +76 in 2019)
  • Supported perceive losing on average 3h 22min per IT issue 
  • Supported have difficulties knowing where to start solving IT problems and understanding instructions.

The top factors behind service experience

Updated October 2019

According to HappySignals benchmark data the most important factor affecting the service experience (in positive or negative) for all IT profiles is clearly the speed of service.
 
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Second most significant factors in creating positive experiences are service personnel attitude and skills. By talking to end-user in the right way, based on their IT Profile, could thus have major impact on the perceived quality of service.
 
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Negative experiences on the other hand are often due to not getting your ticket solved and having to explain your case several times.

Using IT Profiles

As you have just learned from our profile descriptions, there is much potential to use IT Support Profiles in everyday Service Desk work. Here are some of the use cases our customers have been successful with.

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Use Case: Personalize communications

How you speak, chat or communicate with your colleagues, employees or end-users is the first thing that profiles allow you to personalise. With Doers and Prioritisers you can use IT lingo and speak very directly on what they have already done and what should be done next, it’s more a co-operation with the person in the other end than Service Desk Agent trying to solve the problem blindly. On the other hand Supported and Triers really appreciate you taking your time and speaking calmly and in plain language.

Let’s take a simple example, an employee calls with a laptop issue.

Script for Doers and Prioritisers:

“Hi, so I’m sure you already restarted your computer and have checked the updates etc. Let’s see what the log tells us, so can you please go to…”

Script for Triers and Supported:

“Hi, don’t worry, we’ll get this sorted. First we’ll try the old fashioned way of shutting down everything and unplugging all cables. So can you click the Start menu and select shutdown…”

Best practices would be to make a quick cheat sheet for Agents, 3 things to do and 3 things to avoid with each profile. This way you are not making the topic too difficult for your Service Desk, but rather remind them on how to talk to the person on the other end.

"Make a quick cheat sheet for Agents, 3 things to do and 3 things to avoid with each profile"

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Use Case: Understand the channel they prefer

  • Learn from the data

  • Promote channels for profiles

  • Fine tune the language you use in each channel

HappySignals Channel Analytics helps you understand how different channels work. We can also drill-down into this data using profiles.

Using Profiles with ServiceNow or other ITSM tool

Use Case: ChatBot (Virtual Agent) can talk differently to different employees

As shown in the use case: Personalize communication, using this same approach with your Virtual Agent allows you to automate personalization. Creating different workflows by using the Profile.

Example: Virtual Agent in ServiceNow provides links to Knowledge Bases for Doers and suggests ways to start a discussion with a Live Agent for Supported.

Using Profiles for IT Development

Understanding what your end-users prefer, how they behave and motivates them is priceless for any IT development project. Even more important is using these as high level drives for your whole IT Strategy and Digital Transformation initiatives.

Use Case: IT Strategy can be tied into IT Profiles

When you understand who your end-users are, you can make better decisions on trendy things like consumerization of IT. Why would you drive Bring-Your-Own-Device policy if most of your end-users are in profile, Supported and don’t care or need fancy devices, but rather simple things that just work. On the otherhand if your company is full of millennials and Doer profile employees, then BYOD could be crucial for their employee experience and productivity.

Having the profile data continuously up to date, you can use it with the kick-off of all your IT projects and offset the research cost from individual projects. This allows you also to tie the success of your IT project into employee experience and productivity.

Goal of your IT project could look like:

  • Let’s make Doers more productive in our ERP

  • Let’s make it easier for Supported to have consumer level simplicity

 

Watch our HappyToday Podcast episode on Profiles for more use cases

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