Customer Service Service Management Function Overview

Published: April 25, 2008   |   Updated: October 10, 2008


Customer service is the entry point for users who need to engage IT with their questions and concerns. Although multiple roles and teams are required to interact with and support the Customer Service SMF, the majority of the processes and activities within it are performed by a functional team called the Service Desk.

The Service Desk is a team and, just like any other team, it can be centralized, distributed, or virtual. The team operates as a functional unit that focuses on ensuring that customer service–related activities are carried out with high quality.

The following table lists a number of reasons that users might engage the Service Desk and equates them to the MOF terminology that is used in this guide.

Table 1. Reasons for Contacting the Service Desk and MOF Terminology

Reason for Contacting Service Desk

MOF Term

To request information on using an existing service to which the user already subscribes

Information request

To subscribe to an existing service that is being offered

Service Fulfillment request

To request a new service or feature to meet a new need

New Service request

To report a partial loss, degradation, or total loss of a service or service feature

Incident Resolution request

Customer Service SMF Role Types

The primary team accountability that applies to the Customer Service SMF is the Support Accountability. The role types within that accountability and their primary activities within this SMF are displayed in the following table.

Table 2. Support Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type


Role in This SMF

Customer Service Representative

  • Handles calls as the first contact with the user
  • Registers and categorizes calls
  • Determines supportability and dispatches calls


  • Interacts with customers, including recording, categorizing, classifying, resolving, and closing customer requests

Incident Resolver

  • Diagnoses, investigates, and resolves


  • Resolves incident requests, including troubleshooting, escalating if necessary, and applying a fix or workaround

Incident Coordinator

  • Is responsible for incident from beginning to end
  • Owns quality control


  • Oversees all incident requests

Problem Analyst

  • Investigates and diagnoses


  • Investigates and resolves an underlying problem

Problem Manager

  • Identifies problems from the incident list


  • Determines whether an underlying problem exists

Customer Service Manager

  • Is accountable for goals of Support Desk
  • Covers incidents and problems


  • Oversees customer service

Goals of Customer Service

The primary goal of customer service is to provide a positive experience for users by meeting their IT needs and addressing complaints and issues that arise during the normal course of using an IT service.

The driving vision for the Service Desk is to translate the complexities of IT into a one-stop shop for IT users. The process flow defined in the Customer Service SMF provides the Service Desk with the guidance it needs to achieve its vision in an efficient, cost-effective way. The Service Desk can increase its efficiency and cost effectiveness by initiating and maintaining a self-help portal. Through this portal, the Service Desk can supply frequently requested information, automate common requests such as password resets, and provide step-by-step instructions to resolve common incidents.

Table 3 shows the desired outcomes of the Customer Service SMF goals and lists measures that you can use to gauge how successfully you have achieved these goals.

Table 3. Outcomes and Measures of the Customer Service SMF Goals



Maintain business productivity

  • Restore services or service features to a satisfactory operational state
  • Provide guidance and ”how to” information 

Increase value added by IT

  • Facilitate Service Fulfillment requests
  • Improve user satisfaction

Improve business functionality, competitiveness, and efficiency

  • Assess requests for new services and features for potential fulfillment by existing services
  • Filter out insufficient justification for new services and features

Key Terms

The following table contains definitions of key terms found in this guide.

Table 4. Key Terms



Configuration management system

A set of tools used to manage IT service management data such as changes, releases, known errors, and incidents

Customer Service Representative (CSR)

A front-line contact person on the Service Desk team

Forward Schedule of Change

A record of upcoming approved changes, which may help you understand the impact that already-approved changes might have on any new proposed changes, and vice versa


Failure of a service or component to provide a feature it was designed to deliver

Incident Resolution request

An inquiry to resolve the failure of a service or feature

Information request

An inquiry to gain additional information about an existing service.  This does not include activating new features or providing new services

New Service request

An inquiry to gain a new service or feature


A collection of features and functions that enable a business process

Service Fulfillment request

An inquiry to gain access to additional features or services offered through the IT Service Catalog