Is Your Service Catalog A Turkey?

Thought Leadership for
IT Service Management Professionals

Is Your Service Catalog A Turkey?

Posted by Don Casson

Tue, Nov 29, 2016

Thanks to our close relationships with major Fortune 1000 companies, all of us at Evergreen Systems have learned a thing or two about what a great Service Catalog looks like and what it takes to provide world-class IT Service Catalog management.

Delivering innovative IT solutions is more critical than ever for remaining customer-centric, and everything we do at Evergreen starts with that knowledge. If you’ve been feeling like your customers aren’t having their needs met by your Service Catalog, keep reading for an overview of some IT Service Catalog best practices we’ve picked up over the years.

Service “Cycle of Life”

Creating an ideal service relationship with your clients depends upon a thorough understanding of the Service “cycle of life.” This cycle describes the symbiotic relationship between the customer, the provider and the manager:

  • Customer Focused — Customer Experience. We believe the customer requirements should take precedence over IT needs.
  • Provider Focused — Execution Effectiveness. This means we must build services that are good for the providers too, or they won’t use them.
  • Manager Focused — Governance and Accountability. Design management’s needs in from the start, including transparency and consistency.

With that, let’s get into some of the major customer keys for developing a world-class IT Service Catalog.

1st Customer Key: Design for User Experience

The user experience needs to take precedence in everything you do. When customers come to you for support, they should be greeted by a process that’s simple, beautiful, complete, predictive and industry-leading. No matter how great your product might be, it’s meaningless if customers have a hard time getting in touch with you or troubleshooting their issues.

2nd Customer Key: Design for Self-Service

One of the principal beauties of modern technology is that each of us can do more work with less effort. This is especially true in customer service, where clients want and expect to be able to receive assistance quickly and effortlessly — and, ideally, without much human contact.

Need proof? 92% of customers prefer online support, and an impressive 91% would prefer to use a single online knowledge base. The trouble is, most customers these days are dissatisfied with the Service Portals out there — leading to a situation where only about 37% of customers even try to get their problems solved online.

3rd Customer Key: Continuous Improvement

That brings us to the third customer key: continuous improvement. That’s a little abstract, so let’s make it more concrete and suggest you imagine what your Service Catalog would look like if it were just 10% better. You might start by building a few simple (but high-value) self-service interactions to target the most frequent requests you receive from your customers.

Three Customer Challenge Areas

Meeting the challenges posed by the modern customer and traditional IT practices consists mainly of three key areas:

  • Start with the customer — This is critical. If you’re not thinking like a customer, you’re only doing half the work. Try out your Service Portal and Catalog yourself. Can you find everything a customer might need in a pinch? Are there any aspects of the process that feel obtuse or unwieldy?
  • Don’t hide from feedback — You should never shy away from customer feedback. Instead, your job is to make it even easier for your customer to provide.
  • Don’t make the customer do IT’s work — This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s always worth repeating: your customers don’t want to do extra work, and they certainly don’t want to do the work of your paid employees. Make request forms intelligent, branching tree based so we don’t ask customers for information that isn’t relevant.  Also, even if it takes a little more work on our part, don’t ask the customer for information we already have or can get. 

Naturally, these customer-facing challenges are joined by other provider challenges, such as resisting “rifle-shot” services and recognizing that not every service is worthwhile. To help meet these challenges, keep in mind the three major service provider keys:

  • 1st Provider Key: Practice Balanced Design — Give the customer what they want to get what we (IT) need.
  • 2nd Provider Key: Make Good Services Build Decisions — This means taking a look at the value of what you’re doing vs. the cost / risk of building a specific Service. Is it worthwhile?   
  • 3rd Provider Key: Build Modular Services — A modular approach to IT and customer service is best. By building reusable Service modules, they can stand alone or combine to become part of a new type of Service. Building modular Services improves ease of management and consistency of quality.

Next Steps to Take

Most IT projects out there go unnoticed and don’t provide real value. But at Evergreen Systems, we do things differently by focusing on “customer in” rather than “IT out.” The end result is a beautiful customer experience that delivers real-world value by reducing bottlenecks, eliminating or reducing some of the work traditionally assigned to IT teams, and generally improving the customer experience across the board.

If you’d like to learn more, consider enrolling in our one-day Private Service Workshop or requesting a demo of our Self-Service Catalog and Portal for yourself to see what we offer. We’ll help you build out a modular and adaptive IT service catalog template to round out your online offerings and make sure your customers feel valued.

We’ll help you seek out new opportunities to automate some of your IT work and free up resources for use elsewhere. To learn more about our ServiceNow platform and our training opportunities, visit our website or give us a call today at 571-229-5408.


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