Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar A HOW-TO GUIDE

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1 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar A HOW-TO GUIDE

2 Table of Contents Overview...3 Getting face to face: an innovative approach...4 Getting support...5 Gaining access to an expert...5 Providing a support model foundation...6 Building a face-to-face culture...6 Is the concierge model right for you?...7 Why are you thinking about a concierge experience?...7 Industry driver...7 Improvement or remediation...8 Strategic growth...8 Is there anything wrong with your current support model?...9 Do you have effective IT service management processes in place?...10 What services and customers will the service support?...11 What skills do you need?...12 Will your concierge bar be able to access the resources it needs?...13 Will your corporate culture support a concierge-style customer experience?...13 Is this the right approach for you?...14 Introducing concierge support to your IT service management customers...15 Establish a project...16 Define the scope...16 Define your objectives...17 IT service management processes, the service desk, and the Concierge Bar...18 IT service management processes...18 The service desk (or help desk)...18 The Concierge Bar...19 Ready to take the next step?...21

3 Overview A number of technology retailers have shown that geeks can be friendly and fun in a face-to-face support environment; proving that IT people really can understand and help users when things go wrong. As organizations start to embrace the consumerization of IT, many are starting to ask whether they should use the same first-line support model as deployed in some of the more forward thinking retail stores. Why not indeed? > > Cost? > > Availability of support staff (who are expensive and should therefore be working on higher value tasks)? > > Geographically distributed users? > > Abuse by people who swamp the staff with minor how to questions? This guide looks for answers to those questions, and proposes an approach similar in-person support facility within an IT Service Management environment. Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 3

4 Getting face to face: an innovative approach More and more retailers are opening in-store technical support units, designed to support hardware and software products. These bars are more modern versions of a customer service desk, where technical specialists replace customer service reps, and the interactions with customers are more human, accessible, and modern. The support staff are specially trained technical support representatives who can handle the wide variety of questions and technical issues that customers bring into the store. The value proposition of many technology vendors is increasingly based on how customers will use and experience products and services. This is more than how the products and services look and feel it is about how customers interact with them and put them to use. The in-store support facility is an extension of this value proposition. The visible support being provided plays a very important marketing role, as well. For prospects browsing new products, it strengthens the perspective that the company stands behind their products. For existing or returning customers, it strengthens the confidence in their investment and gives them a chance to look at accessories and even replacements for the product they have already purchased. It s clear that the in-store customer experience is providing a great deal more than a convenient support channel for customers. Could this reinforcement of loyalty and value through face-to-face interaction apply equally to IT teams? 4 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

5 Getting face to face: an innovative approach Getting support As helpful and as social as in-person support is, however, it is not just a matter of walking in and getting served the solution of your choice. Rather, it is a carefully staffed and managed support unit. Time with an expert has to be scheduled. This can be done online or at the store. Each scheduling request is queued based on the nature of the issue, the availability of the appropriate person, and in some cases, the availability of parts at the store. That being said, it is rare to be turned away for an appointment. Most retailers seem to have a very good idea of the profile and number of common support issues. When it is necessary to schedule into the future, the company is usually able to do so with a very good understanding of what will be needed onsite by the time the customer comes in and how long it will take to get there. Scheduling depends on thorough training, an understanding of what type of expert is needed to attend to each issue, and integration into the company s supply chain. Gaining access to an expert Chris Dancy provides a detailed description and examples of how location-enabled tools enhance a customer s support experience in his blog Location, Location, Location... Just because an in-store customer experience is offered does not mean that experts are available to everyone at all times. In fact, the focus on the customer s experience means that support has to happen within the customer s context. Experts are usually available by phone, but if the customer needs or wants to visit in person, a session can be scheduled. The customer can find the nearest office, schedule and update an appointment, and even pay for any service they need. In this model, location is very important. Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 5

6 Providing a support model foundation As social and experience-based as interacting with an in-store expert may be, it is part of the company s support strategy. It is very often a core building block for a broader support package, i.e. the company s extended care and warranty service. Regardless of what product or service a customer has purchased, scheduling with the in-store facility is part of the support experience. Customers have several options to get assistance, two of which involved experts in the store or over the phone. The same strategy should hold true for any organization. First, support staff must understand the customer s context. They must then focus on how to enhance the customer experience of the technology. In this way, they will become central to a company s ability to achieve its strategy and its branding objectives. Building a face-to-face culture As with everything else discussed above, the face-to face support culture is focused on extending the value of customer experience through support. Instead of emphasizing classic customer service techniques to ensure customer satisfaction, the focus is on creating an empathic link with each customer. From body language to choice of words to emphasis on the positive experience of the product, the expert underlines the reasons the customer made the investment. Even in the face of severe incidents, the support staff will keep moving the focus from the incident to the positive experience the customer will be experiencing once again. Every detail is calculated to convey a specific experience to the customer. It is not just about creating a better service desk or better customer service. 6 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

7 Is the concierge model right for you? This carefully thought-out concept has been refined and adjusted to suit changing market dynamics in technology retail. It is successful and sexy, but that doesn t guarantee that it will work for every organization. Why are you thinking about a concierge experience? There are three main reasons why organizations think about offering this type of service: Industry driver The concept has clearly been successful for technology retailers, and a number of other organizations are starting to take the same approach. Whitepapers and anecdotes indicate some good results and a sense of excitement in customers and technical support staff. This alone, however, is not a good enough reason to make the investment. Technology vendors had a specific retail situation combined with clearly articulated objectives. As the situation and objectives have evolved, so has the offering. If you are about to implement a similar capability because it seems to be working well for others, stop and think. Whether you like it or not, implementing an appointment driven, face-to-face service is going to change the way your organization works. If you haven t anticipated those changes, there is no way you can be prepared for them and some of them may actually make you worse off than you are today. Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 7

8 Improvement or remediation One of the most common reasons for implementing anything in IT is that, frankly, things could always be better. Part of this is because IT is still an emerging industry. There is only so much we can do with what we have and when a new idea or trend emerges, it s bound to have some positive impact for us. The main question is whether the improvements outweigh the investment that we have to make. In addition, some IT organizations still have basic issues with IT service management. For these organizations, incident, problem, and change management still do not work effectively and, as a result, customers perceive IT as being reactive and not fully aligned to the organization s objectives. A concierge experience will only work if the organization is prepared to invest in changes to culture and behavior, as well as in changes to their existing service management processes. Strategic growth Some organizations see the addition of a face-to-face customer experience as a component of some bigger change. For example: One IT organization is changing the way it works with its customers at every level. Its aim is to integrate IT innovation into every business process. To do this, IT needs to be visible in every business unit. To that end, this organization has implemented business relationship and service portfolio management processes. As part of these processes, every IT initiative has to be quantified in terms of business value, and all IT departments must know exactly how they contribute to business value. In line with these processes, the new concierge-style customer experience becomes a visible interface with IT s customers. It also plays a strategic role. Each new technology introduces changes in how users work, and users often need a little more than a call to the help desk. This is also a great way to speed up the adoption rate of new technologies, allowing the company s innovation rate to increase. This approach means that the new facility has a specific set of objectives and is staffed by people with a specific range of skills it is not simply a different type of help desk. Knowing their specific strategy and objectives was key to setting up exactly the right type of service. Actions: Define why you want to implement a face-to-face concierge experience. Your reasons will likely be across all three categories, but one is likely to be the strongest driver. If your primary driver is industry related You should do a thorough analysis of how effective your current support model really is. Only move ahead if there is a valid improvement or remediation reason. It is unlikely you have a cohesive strategy; otherwise, that would have been your primary driver. Perhaps you should start thinking about developing a service strategy instead of adding another new service. If your primary driver is improvement or remediation Offering in-person support is only part of your solution. You have additional issues that need to be assessed and improved first (such as people, communication, processes, or tools). Introducing a concierge approach might be a good rallying point to do so, but it should not be done in a vacuum. If your primary driver is strategic You should clearly articulate the role that an in-person customer support facility plays in meeting the strategy, and how its contribution will be measured. You should also itemize the potential ways in which a new facility may detract from your strategy, and identify ways to prevent them. 8 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

9 Is the concierge model right for you? Is there anything wrong with your current support model? This question is here for two reasons. First, if there is nothing wrong with your current support model, you have to think twice about making major changes. This does not mean such innovation is wrong. However, it will require changes to your current support model and to your culture not to mention a potential increase in cost. Second, if there is something wrong, implementing a new focal point for customers may only make the issues more visible, rather than solving them. So what does the approach add to an already effective support model? Potentially: > > Reduction in onsite visits (since the customer often comes to you instead) > > Predictable workloads (customers have to schedule time and describe what they need) > > Predictable support times (calls are handled in parallel, not in serial, meaning that customers need not sit at their desk to wait for the single technician doing four prior onsite calls) > > Better ability to handle calls that require some type of user training > > Resources that the technician needs to solve the call are close at hand What problems does a concierge approach not solve (unless you do some additional work)? > > Lack of service culture > > Negative attitudes between customers and IT > > Technicians that cannot communicate well with customers > > Ineffective incident management (if it doesn t work now, it will be worse with a face-to-face model because your customer will see firsthand how ineffective it is) > > Inability to define the impact of an incident > > Inability to stop an incident from recurring Actions: Itemize the things that are wrong with your current support model or things that you want to improve. Then ask yourself these three questions: > > Can you fix these issues without introducing a new in person facility? If so, get working on them immediately, and come back to the idea when you have a viable support model. > > How will a concierge model fix your current issues? Be specific. Intuition is not a good enough basis on which to make the decision. If you cannot say how you plan to tangibly fix the problems, a shiny new facility will not fix them. > > How much change is this going to take? Don t only think in terms of money or structure. Also, think about people s culture and mindset. Does your organization have the appetite for this amount of change? Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 9

10 Do you have effective IT service management processes in place? Even though your in-person support staff interfaces directly with users, they are still a second-line support unit. Users still have to schedule time with an expert, and they have to describe why they need that appointment, so that the expert is ready. If the representative needs to escalate to a thirdlevel engineer or supplier, they will need to use some form of incident management to do so. In addition, users may attempt to flood the facility with calls as the word gets around about the level of service. Effective incident management procedures will help to perform triage on these calls and to prioritize them. In short, both the service desk and your new concierge facility are part of the overall approach to incident management and request fulfillment. The processes must be clearly defined and the role that each plays in the processes should be clear. Finally, because much of the work done by the concierge staff will fall into the category of standard change, some of their activities will require a change to a controlled item. If this is the case, they will need to interact with change management, as well. Actions: Locate your organization s incident management, change management, and request fulfillment processes. If these processes do not exist You will need to spend time defining them first. Introducing a concierge service is not a replacement for incident management or any other IT service management processes. It is critical that you include these processes in your implementation plan, if not before. If you have these processes in place You should identify exactly where and how the new service will play a role, and how it will interface with the service desk and other technical support groups. You need not get too detailed at this stage, as your implementation will focus on this later. However, it is important to do the exercise to ensure that there are established processes within which the facility will operate. 10 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

11 Is the concierge model right for you? What services and customers will the service support? Actions: Define the services to be supported and the tasks to be undertaken. The success of your concierge bar lies not only in the services it provides, but also in the services it does not provide. For example, concierge experts typically do not handle product queries and simple how to questions. Also, it is common to create specialized capabilities when the demand is high. A service desk is designed and equipped to deal with diversity. It can support any customer, with any service, at any location. It handles all calls to IT and provides first-line support. If it cannot resolve the incident or fulfill the request, it coordinates the activities required to do so and keeps the customer informed. Concierge staff, on the other hand, are more specialized. They support customers in a specific geographic location, for a specific group of services, and they will only perform specific tasks. Your concierge staff are not your first-line support group. They aim to complete the activity that has been assigned to them usually in the physical presence of the customer. If your concierge experts are unable to resolve the issue, they will explain this to the customer, set an expected follow-up time, and continue to work on it in the back office. In some cases, they may need to escalate to another technical team. The owner of the call through all this is the service desk. The service desk will continue to provide first-level support for all IT services. Incidents, queries, service requests, and standard changes are well suited to the service desk or to self help and this will not change with the introduction of face-toface support. This is partly because it is more convenient for users and IT staff to be able to deal with this type of call quickly without having to get up and go to a physical location. It is also more expensive to have all first-line technical staff be trained to an advanced level. The characteristics of the ideal service for a concierge to support include: > > Complex initialization, installation, or set-up is required for the user to access the service. > > Some training is required to help the user get up and running or access specific functionality (but not a replacement for formal training where necessary). What percentage of users of these services will not have access to the facility, and will you be able to provide an acceptable alternative? If not, will you be able to manage their expectations? At a high level, define the relationship between the service desk and your concierge-bar staff. How will you differentiate between the two? How will they interface with one another? What processes will they use? The answers to these questions will help determine if you need a new face-to-face facility or whether you need to modify the processes followed by your service desk. Consider whether adding video conferencing for certain types of service or for certain types of user would be more appropriate. > > Repairs or fixes are fairly standard and can be performed while the user waits. > > Supported services are clearly identifiable by users. Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 11

12 There is no typical customer for this kind of capability. Customers have only one thing in common their physical location. So while the concierge staff must have excellent technical skills (for their specializations), they must have even better interpersonal skills to work with the diversity of their customer base. IT managers must be prepared for the trade-off that such an approach brings. While service levels improve, the reach of the organization reduces. Customers who work from remote locations will not have the same level of support as those near the facility, even if they need it. This may result in a perception of first-class and secondclass users if the situation is not correctly marketed and managed. Actions: List the skills you need to staff your team. Make sure you cover the technologies and services you will expect your concierge staff cover, as well as the interpersonal skills they need to have. Just listing interpersonal skills is not enough. There are a variety of skills that fit into this category and you need to be sure that you have the right combination for your organization. What skills do you need? Then ask these questions: > > Do you already have the skills in your organization? A concierge expert has a rare combination of technical specialization and interpersonal skills. In fact, they represent a type of personality even more than a combination of skills. Even so, they still need specialized training and support. They are rare and costly resources. Specific skills or abilities include the ability to: > > Troubleshoot and resolve incidents in front of a customer, while maintaining a positive and reassuring attitude. > > Link the actions they are performing to the business priorities of the user they are assisting and to communicate in those terms with the user. > > Communicate in a professional manner without becoming familiar or condescending. A user walks away feeling that they have been treated seriously and respectfully, and that they have learned something valuable. > > Remain cool under pressure. Even when they don t know what to do, they remain in control. They are able to juggle conflicting priorities without making a user feel that their appointment is less important. > > Demonstrate their specialized expertise. They are the top specialists in their field. They may think of themselves as generalists, but that is only true to the extent that they can handle almost anything within their area of expertise. They should not be expected to become generalists. Further, if turnover in your IT organization is high, you will likely see similar trends among your concierge-bar staff. If you are thinking of making this new service a motivator by adding to career options, think carefully: > > Can you train existing staff to the level of proficiency that you need? If not, are you prepared to invest in external skills? > > How will you ensure that the existing technical staff is not demotivated while you invest in, and positively market, the new service? > > You will not be magically removing any of the factors that currently contribute to staff turnover you need to deal with those separately. > > This may not be an appropriate position for high-performing technical staff. How many of your exceptional technicians have the personality and presence to be primarily customer facing? And how many of them want to be there in the first place? 12 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

13 Is the concierge model right for you? Will your concierge bar be able to access the resources it needs? Part of a successful, in-person approach is to be able to repair or replace supported devices quickly. If a user makes an appointment to have a device repaired, and the appointment is confirmed, it looks really bad if the expert is unable to make the repair. It looks even worse when they have to wait and watch while the same expert tries to find the spare part, only to tell the user that they have to come back in a week while it gets ordered. If a higher skilled technical resource is needed to assist the concierge staff, they should be alerted beforehand so that they are ready to join in a call or physical visit, if necessary. This means that the service depends on effective integration with the organization s supply chain, inventory control, and incident management procedures and tools. Actions: Define the resources that your concierge staff are likely to need to fulfill their objectives. At this stage, these may not be fully understood, but a short list of potential resources will quickly tell you whether or not processes and tools are well-integrated in your organization. On its own, this does not tell you whether the approach is right for your organization, but it will indicate the level of effort needed to prepare for one. This may or may not be feasible within your current organizational climate. Will your corporate culture support a concierge-style customer experience? Intuition tells us that anything that leads to a positive customer experience should be good. Sometimes, however, intuition in this area can be misleading. There are a number of potential cultural obstacles. These depend on each organization s specific cultural dynamics, but could include: > > Will users feel comfortable speaking to technical staff face to face? > > How will other IT staff feel when the facility gets so much positive attention (especially if they perceive they have put a lot of effort into building a positive user experience in the past)? > > Does the IT organization show an understanding for business priorities in other groups, processes, or initiatives? In other words, is the image consistent with the image of IT as being business focused and user friendly? If not it will be seen as windowdressing. It may well be used, but might also contrast the lack of involvement by other parts of IT Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 13

14 Is this the right approach for you? A concierge-style customer experience goes far beyond the physical location and technical support that we see in a retail store. If you invest in this approach, it is a commitment to build an integrated support model based on culture, strategy, technology, processes, and the way IT delivers value to the business. Working through the above action items will result in a thorough assessment of whether making the investment is right for you. The good news is that once you have completed this exercise, you will either have a clear understanding of the role, scope, and objectives of your new service or you will be able to make a compelling business case for not investing in one. 14 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

15 Introducing concierge support to your IT service management customers Once you have completed your assessment and identified that your organization would benefit from a new face-to-face facility for IT service, the job of planning and implementation begins. BMC has introduced the concept of a Concierge Bar service a capability inspired by the approach taken by the approach taken by technology retailers but optimized for the demands of IT service management teams. The guidance given here is intended to be adapted to your needs. The sequence of the steps is not prescriptive. Some activities will be performed in parallel or in sequence depending on your resource availability and other factors. However, it is recommended that you do not skip any steps, as they are all critical. Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 15

16 Establish a project Maybe this goes without saying, but experience has shown that too many good ideas fail due to lack of structure. This is a major initiative. It will impact your support model, your relationship with your users and customers, and your strategy. Your project should reflect the importance of the Concierge Bar service. It really doesn t matter which project management methodology you use, but use one and ensure that everyone sticks to it. The major steps that will be included in the project are described below. Define the scope It is not the purpose of this guide to discuss how services should be defined. This is covered comprehensively in the ITIL Service Strategy publication the essence of which is captured in our free ebook: However, defining the services that are supported by (and sometimes delivered by) a Concierge Bar is critical to its success. Just as important is defining which services will not be supported (or delivered). These services might be included in a Concierge Bar Service Catalog. First, it is important to understand the difference between supporting and delivering a service, and why the difference is important. > > Supporting a service simply means that the Concierge Bar acts as a broker to assist a user. For example, providing access to an application may look like a service in its own right, but the Concierge Bar is not responsible for the application it simply acts as a broker between the service itself and the user. As such, the Concierge Bar has to operate within the boundaries and policies defined by the owner of the service. There needs to be a clear and documented understanding of the role of the Concierge Bar, and at what point it needs to hand the issue over to the service owner for further action. > > Delivering a service means that the service itself is contained within the Concierge Bar. For example, if the Concierge Bar configures and delivers a mobile device, it actually delivers the service. The user does not expect to be passed to anyone else to obtain their device or to get it configured. 16 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

17 Introducing concierge support to your IT service management customers Understanding the difference between supporting and delivering a service is important to define the responsibilities and accountabilities of the Concierge Bar, and it also helps to set the correct expectations for the user. Please note, however, that this is a Concierge Bar governance issue, and does not need to be spelled out to the user. In both cases, the Concierge Bar must clearly define, in user terms, what they support or deliver. For example: > > If you need access to system X, get approval from your manager and then schedule an appointment with the Concierge Bar. > > If you have questions about how to use system X, schedule an appointment with the Concierge Bar. > > If system X does not appear to be running, please call the service desk for immediate support. Define your objectives Objectives should clearly state what the aims of the Concierge Bar are. Don t be vague. Objectives, such as improved customer support, mean very little in real terms. What exactly do you aim to do that will improve customer support? Each objective should be tangible enough that it can be turned into a measurement of the Concierge Bar s success. Examples of objectives are: > > Configure access for new users to service X and provide training that will enable them to use the service effectively within one hour. > > Configure mobile devices together with the user to enable them to use the device with their preferences within 20 minutes. > > Perform minor repairs to mobile devices on appointment, within 30 minutes (specify what you mean by minor repairs). Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 17

18 IT service management processes, the service desk, and the Concierge Bar A set of decisions that need to be made and the outcomes implemented have to do with the existing support model. This is divided into three main areas: IT service management processes, the service desk, and the Concierge Bar. IT service management processes The processes in which a Concierge Bar plays a major role are incident management, change management, and request fulfillment. If these processes do not exist, the Concierge Bar may still work, but it will not be as effective. The Concierge Bar is not recommended in environments where these processes do not exist. These processes can be defined as follows: > > Incident management is the process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all incidents. Incident management ensures that normal service operation is restored as quickly as possible and the business impact is minimized. The Concierge Bar might be helping to resolve an incident, or might have to raise an incident to get further action for a user. In both cases, the Concierge Bar will play a role in the organization s incident management process > > Change management is the process responsible for controlling the lifecycle of all changes, enabling beneficial changes to be made with minimum disruption to IT services. The Concierge Bar might have to make changes to controlled items, and these will need to be recorded and tracked. In addition, the Concierge Bar might be asked to implement changes for a specific set of customers (e.g. patches or additional software). In this sense, a Concierge Bar might also be part of the release and deployment management process > > Service request management is the process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all service requests. Many of the services provided by the Concierge Bar are to fulfill a request for service. The actions they perform are designed and tested (often by a separate group) before the Concierge Bar perform them, following the prescribed instructions or standards The service desk (or help desk) The Concierge Bar is not a service desk or help desk. It is not the first line of support for incidents and even requests for an appointment have to follow the prescribed rules for service requests and standard changes. The service desk must continue to be the single point of contact for all incidents and any requests for service not explicitly covered by the Concierge Bar. The service desk can also be used to schedule Concierge Bar appointments, either because that is the chosen method for making appointments or because the incident being described by the user can be solved by an activity performed by the Concierge Bar. In these cases, assignment to the Concierge Bar are handled in the same way as another technical group would handle service requests or incidents with the main difference being the personal consultation with a concierge expert. 18 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

19 Introducing concierge support to your IT service management customers The Concierge Bar plays a role in these incident management processes and would benefit by using the same tools as those used on the service desk. Many software products offer the ability for the service desk to schedule appointments with experts, and some even offer the ability for users to schedule their own appointment through self-help interfaces. The Concierge Bar Procedures Concierge Bar procedures include the following: > > Appointment scheduling and reminders > > Functional escalation from the service desk as part of incident management > > Functional escalation to other technical support groups as part of incident management > > Request fulfillment procedure for each request that they are expected to handle > > Troubleshooting procedures > > Procedures to follow up on completed requests (although this will normally be performed by the service desk if that was the first point of contact) If the staff are not busy helping customers, they will either be updating documentation, training materials, incident or service request records, and knowledge management records or they will be providing training to the service desk or other technical groups regarding something that they have learned about resolving incidents or making changes. They will also have to check or update the inventory levels for spare parts and replacements, and place orders for those components that have dropped below the re-order level. This also depends on the staffing strategy used. If concierge staff are drawn from the service desk or technical group, they will only be at the Concierge Bar for their appointments and will resume their normal duties the rest of the time. Staffing There are two main options for staffing the Concierge Bar. The first is to use dedicated Concierge Bar staff, who schedule the time they need to be available to customers and the time they need to do administrative and support activities (see the section above on Concierge Bar procedures). This model is less flexible, and may result in under-utilized staff, but it offers a more consistent level of service, better performance of administrative activities, and less disruption to the technical departments. The second is to draw or rotate technicians from the appropriate technical department to attend to appointments within their area of expertise. This model is more flexible, but can result in administrative activities being de-prioritized. In addition, it may be disruptive to the work of the technical team if they are continually called away for Concierge Bar appointments. The skills and profile are discussed earlier in this guide in the section titled What skills do you need. In summary, staff must possess a combination of specialized technical skills pertaining to the services offered, as well as excellent interpersonal skills. Training is essential for concierge experts, but it rarely transforms a committed technocrat into a customer service star. Selection of the right people, combined with targeted technical and interpersonal knowledge and skills, is essential. Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar 19

20 Facilities The Concierge Bar facility will probably require the most thought and planning, even though it is covered last in this guide. The following points should be considered: > > Location: This partly depends on the strategy of the Concierge Bar. For most retailers, it is located with high visibility to all customers in the store, and can be a noisy place. This has advantages for the branding message of the company, and sets many customers at ease, since they don t feel like they are the only one being singled out by attention, and the can communicate with other customers about their experiences. However, that will not be appropriate in an internal environment where other staff members are trying to work. Some might consider placing it near the service desk, but this is a high-pressure environment, and it is not necessarily good for users to see the dynamics of the service desk at work. Simply put, the best location (unless you have a different strategy) is one that is accessible and easy to find, but removed from people performing regular work activities. > > Equipment: Tools to perform the services will need to be identified. It is important to decide whether concierge staff own their own tools or whether these will be provided by the organization and what the replacement policies are. Tools might include electronic testing equipment, current meters, etc. There should also be access to the service desk tools, such as incident management, change management, and the scheduling system. Telephones are provided to enable immediate contact with technical experts, although these are often placed in a back office to avoid the user overhearing discussions with confusing or frightening technical detail. > > Furniture: The style and comfort of furniture depends on the customers and nature of service. Most in-store support facilities are furnished like bars. They facilitate quick and effective communication with separation between the customer and expert. This setup not only facilitates one-to-one explaining and teaching, but also allows easier communication between support staff and customers. Other types of facilities consist of couches and lounge chairs where the expert is able to facilitate education sessions while customers use their own devices in comfort. It all depends on the kind of activity being performed and the type of customer or user that comes to the Concierge Bar. > > Environment: The surroundings of the Concierge Bar communicate messages about what is happening there. A quiet, comfortable environment is good for teaching or discussion. A bar is usually a lot more active and noisy, emphasizing the speed of service and the open communication between people dealing with similar issues and similar types of customer. Regardless of the type of layout, a hushed, library-type environment makes communication awkward and resolution more difficult. A concierge bar should be active and encourage communication of the appropriate type. Further, the Concierge Bar should be consistent in décor and comfort with other office spaces. > > Waiting area: It is a good idea to have a few seats available in case an appointment runs late. However, it is not good to have the waiting area too full, thus creating an impression that the Concierge Bar is disorganized or tardy. > > Spares / Replacements: These must be easily accessible, although usually not in clear sight of users. Huge piles of stock items tend to look disorganized and create the impression that there must be something wrong with the items that are being installed. Few items neatly placed make it seem that not much happens in the Concierge Bar. It is preferable to keep stock items and spares the back office, although it might be helpful to place working models in the waiting area and to show users what the expert will be doing. 20 Getting face to face in ITSM: How to build and run a concierge bar

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