Good IT Support Costs Less – You can have your cake and eat it too!

Have you ever seen an Ignite talk? I just lost my Ignite virginity giving a talk titled, ‘Good IT Support Less – You can have you cake and eat it too!’ at Service Management 2017.

An Ignite talk follows a strict format – 5 minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds each. And the slides auto-advance. Ignites are really tricky to deliver, but the high tempo, and myriad opportunities to screw up, make them pretty entertaining for the audience. And given you can squeeze ten speakers into an hour, you get a high knowledge return on your time investment. If you get a chance to go along to an Ignite session, I thoroughly recommend it. Anyway…

Over the years, I’ve heard many a CIO tell me feel they have to make a choice between providing a good level of IT support and keeping their costs down. But this isn’t true.

I’ve transcribed my Ignite into this post so you can see why.

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Support SLAs – Can we stop this madness?

Do you produce something like this each month?

You probably do. Most corporate IT support teams have response and resolution targets for each incident priority.

They’re expressed like this, “We aim to resolve 90% of P2s within 4 hours”. Data from ITSM software is used to create a report showing the percentage of tickets that meet those targets. The report is regularly shared with customers (to show them what a great job IT is doing) and once a year a Service Delivery Manager gets together with the business to review the targets. Although neither party would admit it, both are clueless as to what those targets should be.

Can we all agree to stop this madness?

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Customer feedback – are your IT support teams making the most of it?

IT support teams who adopt Net Promoter practices are seeing huge increases in customer satisfaction. For example, 78% of our CIOPulse clients have seen a significant improvement in internal customer satisfaction, with over a third of those enjoying an increase of over 30%.

But in the same way that a thermometer in your ear doesn’t help you get better when you’re sick, a Net Promoter Score won’t help you improve either. One of the most powerful components of Net Promoter is not the metric, but the verbatim feedback gathered as you close customer tickets. Your customers’ answers to the “What did we do well? What could we do better?” question are absolute gold.

If you’re serious about improving internal customer satisfaction, you really should be collecting and making the most of customer feedback. Let me show you how and why…

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How does your IT customer survey capability stack up?

Ken Blanchard, leadership expert and author of ‘The One Minute Manager’ once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. Champion IT support teams actively use customer feedback for coaching and continual service improvement. As a result, they enjoy:

  • Increased staff engagement (research shows that staff who get regular feedback are more engaged, particularly in Gen Ys).
  • More capable support staff (they use feedback to identify individual strengths and weaknesses, and make it an integral part of coaching and performance management).
  • More streamlined, customer-friendly processes (they use feedback to identify and prioritise process and tool improvements based on what’s important to the customer).

This all leads to better service. And when you deliver better service, you lower your support costs , enhance your reputation as a service provider and have happier customers.

But how do you go about collecting good quality, continual feedback from your internal customers?

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4 reasons why you need a customer feedback process

All but the most backward-looking IT teams have accepted that they’re a service provider, not a guardian of technology whose job is to stop pesky users from breaking their toys. Internal support teams now see their colleagues as customers and ITIL has been instrumental in this. After all, you can’t have a service without customers, right?

ITIL is a process-oriented framework and ITIL-based initiatives revolve around the design of processes and implementation of those processes within an ITSM tool. Ironically, given ITIL is a service management framework, the resulting culture of service delivery teams is often process-centric rather than customer-centric. We’ve got service delivery process and service delivery tools nailed. But a service delivery culture. Not so much.

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