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5 Techniques IT Departments Are Learning from Apple’s Genius Bar

By | November 6, 2013 in Service Desk

Frustration, confusion, and a general disconnect all describe the current relationship between many IT departments and business-side employees. However, the concept of the Enterprise Genius Bar is improving the way help desks operate within companies today.

The Enterprise Genius Bar is essentially an Apple Genius Bar for the workplace. Within the Apple Genius Bar, customers are encouraged to bring their devices in to learn more about how they operate, how to resolve basic issues, and to see what other technology is available. This interaction eliminates the wall that exists between a typical help desk and customers because both parties are face-to-face and the entire experience has a more personal touch.

An Enterprise Genius Bar brings the same model into the workplace. The modernized enterprise help desk has already been successfully implemented by SAP, and many more forward-thinking companies are planning on adapting the concept. Even companies that have not fully adapted the Genius Bar model are at least taking some cues from the idea.

Here are a few Genius Bar inspired improvements and techniques that IT departments are making.

1: Employee education

One of the biggest complaints amongst help desk staff is that too much of their time is spent helping company employees fix basic issues that they should be able to resolve on their own, such as not being able to log in, restoring deleted files from the recycle bin, or slow internet speeds.

Instead of immediately changing an employee password, restoring deleted files remotely, or restarting the router, help desks are realizing that it’s more beneficial to explain to employees why and how these issues arise. Through educating employees on common problems, the amount of service calls is reduced and the often overworked help desk staff can focus on more crucial issues.

2: Providing customer service

Since the IT department is a part of the company (unless the department is outsourced), customer service isn’t a top priority for some technical support members. However, Apple’s approach places a strict focus on providing top notch customer service and CIOs are taking this into consideration.

Some examples of better customer service in IT departments include faster response time to newly opened tickets, updating employees while issues are being resolved, and following up after tickets are closed.

3: Let employees play

The rise of BYOD and the consumerization of IT have both played a role in the variety of mobile devices available for business use. Device manufacturers and app developers are all making products for the tech savvy business person to be more productive and more efficient. With all of these options, employees have to find out what’s the best fit for their position and company.

Instead of relying on retail stores to give this advice, IT departments are taking this task on and letting employees know which products will fit their specific needs. SAP’s Mobile Solutions Center is a perfect example of this. Employees can visit the kiosks in the workplace and get hands on experience with different apps and devices. The experience can be taken even further through the ability to actually rent devices to test them out as well. Renting devices can be done easily as long as you have software to manage mobile devices and a tool to manage software inventory.

4: Be inviting

If you don’t have a technical support issue, there’s no reason to contact the IT department, right? Wrong! As Apple’s Genius Bar has proven, providing a welcoming environment encourages customers (or employees in this case) to come by even if something isn’t necessarily broken.

This has several benefits, the most important of which, is promoting preventative maintenance. All too often, people wait until their devices get a virus or completely stop working to check up on it. This makes repairs more difficult and time consuming.

When employees feel comfortable just stopping by and learning from the support staff, they will be more likely to update their software or get their laptops looked at to make sure they aren’t at risk for any type of malware.

5: Hire well-rounded staff

Just having the technological know-how is no longer sufficient enough for help desk staff. According to Mike Burgio, VP of Managed Services Operations at Inergex, “You can't look for people who are only very good from a technology standpoint. You need people who are also very good from a customer service and personality standpoint.”

CIOs are looking for help desk people who have the ability to talk on the phone, be personable, and generally have a likeable attitude. In addition to this, support staff also has to be able to fix more devices than ever before. Employees are now equipped with a variety of Android, Windows, Apple, and Blackberry devices, which are all built differently. Pre-BYOD, the help desk was limited to only having to fix a few different types of devices, but that has drastically changed within the past decade.

IT departments are evolving to adapt to a more tech savvy workforce. By integrating the practices of the Apple Genius Bar, companies can have a one stop solution for all of their IT support needs.

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Ilan Hertz

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