The IT service desk is an important function within an organization, serving as the face of IT and controlling nearly all the communications between IT and the rest of the business. It’s a real hub of activity and at the center of it all is the requirement to provide a top level of support to customers. Sometimes, however, in the frenzied madness of resolving incidents, escalations, and unexpected system downtime, prioritizing the customer experience can get left behind.
If your organization’s IT service desk is struggling with: low customer satisfaction – or even customer experience (CX) – scores, a high number of complaints, and disengaged end users, then please read my list below which offers five tips that will help your IT service desk to exceed its customers’ expectations.
It sounds obvious, right?
When talking about delivering great customer service on the service desk it always feels a little obvious to mention the topic of listening. However, it’s incredibly important to do this because it’s often the simplest of ideas that get forgotten about in the strive to be better.
Your end users will always have something to say, particularly when something isn’t working for them, so listen to what they’re telling you. You can listen to your customers in various ways, for instance by:
Plus, don’t forget to listen out for what your customers aren’t saying too. Or which customers aren’t saying anything (which includes the employees who never use the service desk). This can then be used as a launchpad for further, more focused, conversations.
And don’t assume that your customers don’t know what they’re talking about because they don’t work in IT. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes, from the outside, can be just what you need to highlight something that everyone else is missing. For example, just because a process is working well from within the IT department doesn’t mean that it’s working as well for your end users. If they don’t like it, you’ll need to look at making it work for everyone. After all, that’s why you’re there remember – to serve and satisfy your customers.
Open communication is vitally important when it comes to exceeding your customers’ expectations. If you don’t communicate regularly, then your customers will probably feel left in the dark. Of course, there’s a fine line between not communicating enough and communicating too much and it will take a little practice, along with feedback, but that’s okay.
Possible communication opportunities and methods include:
Effective communication will save a lot of time and heartache, both for your customers and IT service desk staff.
It can be common for an IT service desk to find itself with one agent who outshines all the others. While there’s essentially nothing wrong with this, it can be easy for all of the difficult queries to be directed to this agent (who can quickly resolve most of the issues thrown their way). This leaves the rest of the service desk team handling the more basic issues and queries and not learning how to tackle the more complex tickets.
What happens then when your star agent isn’t available to help or goes on leave, has a sick day, or, worst of all, leaves the service desk altogether? Will there still be an equivalent level of support and, in the case of leaving, does all that knowledge go with them?
To prevent this:
The aim is to provide a consistent level of support. And providing consistent support means that it shouldn’t matter which agent answers the phone, or picks up a ticket, because they all provide the same level of service.
Think about your own experiences as a customer. Do you prefer it when the organization you’re dealing with is honest and tells you about what’s going on? Or would you rather they just pretend that everything is okay and “string you along”? Of course, it’s the former and it’s no different with the customers of the IT service desk.
Being transparent and honest isn’t a difficult task but it’s often neglected. Here are some examples of what you can do to make a difference:
Nine times out of ten, if you’re honest with your customers about the situation you’re in they’ll understand. They might not love it, but they’ll certainly respect you for telling it like it is – which will help to improve your customer relationships.
One of the best ways to exceed the expectations of your customer base is to provide them with a proactive support experience – i.e. do what they want (and expect) you to do without them needing to ask and they’ll love you for it.
Proactive support is all about being alert and engaged, for example:
In a world where we can access what we want, when we want, the IT service desk is challenged to keep up – but it can be done. For true proactive support, you’ll most likely need the help of other IT service management (ITSM) areas, such as problem management and your continual service improvement (CSI) – or “continual improvement” as it’s now called in ITIL 4 – personnel.
Becoming an IT service desk that exceeds customer expectations is not an overnight trip, it’s a long journey where trial and error are part of the process. The key is finding out what your customer base wants and working out how your organization can best give it to them.
This article was originally published in Toolbox.