Theoretically, in ITIL, there are two roles in the service desk. The first one is for accountability – service desk manager and then the person responsible for carrying out activities – service desk agent. But, in reality, it is not possible to run service desk operations using the two roles. We need a hierarchy, a functional one rather than a hierarchical one.

Prerequisite Reading : Introduction to Service Desk

According to me, these are the following minimum roles that a service desk must have :

1. Service desk agents – Service desk agents are the bottom dwellers of this function. They make or break the service desk. Their basic function is to answer calls or respond to web requests or respond to any other trigger that can hit the service desk. They are the first people a user talks to. Service desk agents can be further sub divided depending on the area of incidents, requests and coordination activities.

2. Team leads – Supervisors working at ground level who can overlook the operations. The functions could include watching over the SLA, call flow rate, monitoring calls, coming up with shift rosters and other related activities.

3. L2 agents – L2 agents are basically subject matter experts in the service desk. They are technically very sound, and are not on the front lines. They pick up functional escalations and resolve incidents when a service desk agent is unable to.

4. Service desk managers – The service desk manager is the main person manning the entire service desk. He is accountable for all the activities that goes inside the service desk. Apart from having an eye on the operations and making informed decisions, he/she needs to look at the resourcing front, account for resources and look for ways to make financial profits, increase efficiency and in some cases, hunt for new business.

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As I mentioned earlier, these are minimum requirements and depending on the scope of work and the competency of agents, the structure could be altered for an efficient and effective service desk management. I have seen some organizations introduce a role between the agent and a team lead called as a shift lead. This role would work in real time, keeping an eye on SLAs, first time resolution rate, abandoned call rates and so on. While, the managerial part of the team lead role stays with the team lead.

Well, if you want to divide the activities of a role and give a different name, there is no harm in it. But, one thing should always be the focus – the management roles are an overhead, the smaller the better. It is better to have a better ratio of agents vs management folks – it directly correlates to work completion. It is always a challenge trying to justify inclusion of additional management resources.

I hope this blurb gave you an insight on the roles of service desk. I would be publishing a RACI matrix soon enough. Let me know if you have further questions on any part of IT service management.

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