Rethinking Support: The Virtual Concierge Desk


One of the recent trends in support has been the virtual concierge desk: a walk-up experience for external customers or end-users in a corporate environment. When offered using state-of-the-art technology, people register for service and see a board with their current place in line or a number along with expected wait times. They can register on a portal for internal support and receive a notification to walk over to the concierge desk for their turn, working while they wait.

With so many people working remotely, doesn’t it make sense to translate this to a virtual experience?

Modernizing Support

The virtual concierge desk or walk-up center is becoming more popular, and it offers an excellent experience for people to receive fast support for common computer issues. When teamed with a locker approach, it changes the experience of the service desk. Instead of waiting on the phone and getting a ticket logged for anything more than simple support, people can stop in, laptop or device in hand, and receive near-immediate service. For hardware issues, technology supports the ability to swap out the broken item at the concierge desk or log a ticket and perform the swap using a locker near the concierge desk. While this is great for an office presence that is large enough to justify the expense, it doesn’t work as well for spread-out campuses or for remote workers. They are left with calling the service desk or logging a support ticket and waiting for a callback. In other words, they get the legacy experience, even though it’s relatively simple to move to a virtual concierge desk. In fact, this solution is less expensive to provide as it’s nothing more than a service desk with a different support model.

The Virtual Concierge Desk

Now that service management tools have applications that support the concierge desk using their capabilities for telephone-based support is a simple proposition. These tools typically offer the following services:

  • Ability to set up multiple concierge desk locations
    • Getting creative these can allow location-based support or can be used to support different skills like laptops, application support, mobile device support, and so forth.
  • The ability for a customer to log a ticket and gain a spot in line and get notified a few minutes before their turn is coming
  • Ability to leverage telephone or chat support for the actual support session

So how a virtual concierge desk different than traditional support at a service desk? For one thing it’s an improved customer/employee experience for several reasons:

  • The portal used to register can also offer immediate online support for the issue based on predictive intelligence or known errors with knowledge articles. This shift-left is automatic and can help reduce the number of direct customer contacts.
  • The customer/employee doesn’t need to wait on a phone line. They can continue to work or do anything they wish as they’ll receive a text a few minutes before their turn. This advance notice enables them to go about their day until it’s time for support.
  • As their issue has been logged, it can be directed to the correct support center or a person with the right skill set, shortening resolution time and streamlining their support experience.
  • In the worst case, if a hardware replacement is needed, they can select from overnight delivery or pick up in a locker, depending on whether they are planning to come to the office.

The Business Value of a Modernized New Service Desk

This support arrangement may not totally replace legacy service desk operations, as people may not be able to get to the portal for all support, but it will undoubtedly supplement it by making more experienced people available on an appointment basis. There are two ways this saves money for an organization:

  • It’s more scalable than traditional service desk support: It enables the volume to be spread over a period of time, making it possible to offer improved support to a more significant number of people. 
  • In addition to offering a better customer experience, it also lowers their time spent getting support, making them more productive.

This model also offers a great way to incent service desk staff and lead to greater satisfaction. More experienced and capable analysts can support the concierge function where a higher skill set is needed while new staff can start on the front-line phones and grow into the specialist’s role. This provides both a training mechanism and growth capability from service desk level 1 to level 2 support and further up the chain from there, enabling organizations to find and groom new staff through their service desk operation.

So, get started transforming support today! Implement the application offered through your service management tool, configure your virtual concierge centers, reorganize staff into the appropriate centers and publicize your new virtual concierge experience!

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Phyllis Drucker

Phyllis Drucker

Phyllis is an innovative and focused professional with more than 20 years of experience in Business/IT Strategy, Enterprise service management, governance, customer service and support, ITSM tool implementation, HR automation and team building. After more than 20 years in the support industry, she is taking her thought leadership out to the community by focusing on writing and speaking. In addition to her activities as a blogger, she's a published author and her book “Service Management Online: Creating a Successful Service Request Catalog” is available through TSO. She's also an experienced international speaker, having delivered keynotes and conference breakout sessions since her first speaking engagement in 1997. You can follow Phyllis on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter or visit her website