Andy the Ant at the gym

Build “Muscle Memory” for your Service Desk

The other day at Starbucks, the shift leader was explaining her methodology to a barista trainee.  She described

The other day at Starbucks, the shift leader was explaining her methodology to a barista trainee.  She described how she set up the espresso bar exactly so – with flavorings in precisely the same place on the left, chocolate sprinkles on top of the machine, just to the right, and various spoons and jugs all in their place on the right counter.

Her goal was to be able to prepare the next mocha or latte quickly and efficiently, without having to think about where to reach for her tools.  She told the trainee she reached for each implement with “muscle memory”, saving time and wasting little effort.  The shift lead was taking time to coach the junior barista so that he could serve Starbucks customers with the same speed and precision.

Muscle memory, or motor learning, involves committing a specific action to memory through continuous repetition.  Over time, the task can be performed without conscious effort.  We experience this phenomenon every day when we drive, text (not at the same time…), or play the piano.

So, how does this relate to your Service Desk?

Although not necessarily physical in nature, common, repeatable tasks in service delivery should be performed with “muscle memory” as well.  The result is increased speed and less non-value-add effort in service delivery.

To be clear, we’re not advocating robotic drone-like service to your customers – just the opposite.  Increasing the efficiency and accuracy of transactional tasks – like setting up a service ticket – frees up the technician to focus on actually solving the customer’s request.

You can build muscle memory in your Service Desk team too:

Train them to take the same ordered steps for setting up each service ticket

Make sure they know what to enter for each parameter on the ticket

Establish well defined, intuitive service ticket categories that lead to speedier assignment for resolution

Make key job aids – for example, call answer scripts, ticket routing matrix, guidelines for tickets requiring approval – easily accessible

Improved efficiency on the Service Desk doesn’t happen overnight.  You need to define the process you want your team to follow, provide them with the tools, and then continually coach them on consistent and efficient intake of customer service calls.

Are you building “muscle memory” in your Service Desk?


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