Companies spend a fortune engaging with and getting to know their customers but how much do companies and, more specifically, IT teams invest in getting to know their customers (internal users of IT)? In this digital age where we expect technology to work with minimal instructions, it is then critical that IT teams and CIOs understand how their customers want to interact with them, not only for service management but from an IT and technology delivery perspective as well. How you engage with your customers and change based on their feedback, drives continual improvements in your services and solutions and will directly impact your customers’ experiences and whether they decide to involve IT or go around them. Employees’ expectations of what IT does for them continues to increase and that includes how IT provides its service management capability from the system itself to the processes that are followed, and the quality of the service provided. So how does IT start to offer great service to its users? In this digital age, we expect technology to just work with minimal instructions.
It’s all about your customers
First of all, actually start engaging with your customers, get to know them, understand how they work and how they use technology in their jobs and what bugs them. It is important to design an IT support experience that will be multi-channelled, intuitive and clear for users to engage with. Work almost needs to imitate life, where users need a consumer level experience that can be mobile with support channels that are available to them in their consumer lives. That might, for example, involve implementing a live chat service on your IT portal to enable faster contact with the support teams or integrating the IT service desk with a knowledge base to provide customers with possible solutions to their issues before even reporting them to IT. Ultimately, taking a CX approach becomes the priority for IT teams, because their users just want the same experience(or better) than they receive in the consumer world by using the support channels and device of their choice.
In this digital age, we expect technology to just work with minimal instructions
For IT teams it can be hard to know if you are meeting your customers’expectations in terms of support that is provided. I don’t just mean the support users get when requests are raised to IT, but it’s more about supporting your users in general. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day your customers are just people who are just like those of us who work in IT – they have good days and bad, with their own set of challenges and problems, so aren’t immune to the stresses and strains of working life. This is where taking a customer first approach will ultimately help your users, as you will have already started to get to know them and how they work and use technology. So, meeting your customers’ expectations can be tough but you have to start somewhere. For me, that might involve gathering feedback on the support process, not only at the end but throughout the whole experience to understand where your support processes may be falling short. As a CIO I constantly ask myself if I were a customer of my IT team would I be happy with the systems, and responsiveness of support and service I get but “If I were a customer of my IT teams would I be happy with the systems, and responsiveness of support I get?"
Letting the technology do the work
Now let's talk tech for a moment and use a few buzz words, but seriously this is where you put automation, bots and self-service to good use to allow your IT teams to be more efficient and focused on truly adding value to the company. No team wants to sweat the small stuff, and that goes for the IT team and users alike. For example, you can look to automate the service request process from gaining approval through to assigning to one of the support team and even integrating into your procurement partner once the request has been approved. You could take this one step further and look to automate frequently requested services such as password resets or software installation and even AI driven knowledge management. That said, automation is only as good as the business outcomes it achieves. I wouldn’t advise adding unnecessary complexity if the improved outcome is not there. By taking care of the easily repeatable processes, it will leave IT able to focus on providing great levels of service to its customers on the areas that matter.“No team wants to sweat the small stuff, and that goes for the IT team and users alike.”
What are you waiting for?
Get to know your customers, give them a clear and intuitive way of engaging with IT on all levels using a multi-channel approach. Ultimately, people will choose what’s easiest for them in a different situation and they’ll use what is most familiar to them from their consumer lives. This applies to support channels, devices, applications and technology in general. So, get out there CIOs and encourage your teams to do the same, get to know your users and measure the customer experience throughout the IT support journey so you get to know if you are actually meeting your customers’ expectations and then adjust accordingly. But, whatever you do, make dealing with IT and technology intuitive and easy to use.