CIOs, Resolve IT Customer Service Threat – Blocked Teamwork
by Kate Nasser | 3 Comments »
Some think that the greatest IT customer service challenge is the technical mindset of the team members. It isn’t. Most everyone who has the desire to deliver customer service can learn to do it well. I have trained thousands to do just that.
CIOs, the biggest challenge continues to be blocked teamwork among the silos. Whether you have outsourced or off-shored your front line, brought it back in house (which is happening more and more), or always had it in house, teamwork among front line and other resolver groups is where your customer service improvements will surface.
CIOs, Resolve the Obstacles to Teamwork for IT Customer Service
- Fake Hierarchies. One of the biggest mistakes IT made was naming support as Level I, Level II, Level III. It has created a fake hierarchy of importance. Although it described the flow chart of how problems are resolved, it minimized the importance of the front line. Customers hope the problem gets solved on the first call and yet the front line struggles to get knowledge and training.
Many level II and III teams could share more knowledge with the front line for quicker problem resolution. Ask yourselves why they aren’t. The quick answer is time. That’s not the whole picture. Many times they don’t see them as teammates. They complain that the front line doesn’t do enough even when they have never seen how tough a job it is nor sat in those chairs.
Suggestions: Boxer Day (have them shadow/switch roles), shared service levels, physical co-location, reporting into one leader, shared metrics on customer satisfaction, same tracking/ticketing system, team building sessions.
- Politics. Every organization has them yet it can kill customer service and internal customer (employee) productivity. Nonetheless there are IT organizations withholding key productivity tools from the front line — like remote control — because of political jockeying for what groups have the most power. It neuters the front line effectiveness and leaves the customers thinking the front line is of no value. They begin calling up just to get a ticket number and pressuring the front line to make everything a priority one.
Suggestion: Give the front line remote control to resolve more problems. Don’t turn the front line into ticket monkeys by yielding to power politics. Customers see pure routing centers as a block not a road to productivity.
- The Deskside Bond. One hidden block to teamwork is the bond that deskside support team members have to their customers. As you centralize to a global service desk, customers continue to ask deskside onsite team members directly to come and help them. These team members struggle with how to get the customers to call the front line of service desk for problem resolution.
Some resort to saying, just call them to get a ticket number rather than championing the skills and value of the front line. Moreover, you may have some team members who don’t think anyone can take care of the their customers they way they do. All of this undermines swift problem resolution and customer service.
Train deskside team members specifically on how to redirect onsite customers to the front line of the service desk.
I have delivered this people-skills training and practice sessions to deskside teams for years. And with the front line tooled and ready, the deskside team members will have an easier time of redirecting.
Responsibly pour the tools and knowledge into the front line of IT service desk and you will see customer productivity and satisfaction soar.
Include all teams into the IT service desk structure. Service desk is not just the front line. It is one large team that serves the customers with consistently excellent customer service.
Have all teams working together to proactively prevent problems and the need for customers to call. The front line of service desk learns the big customer picture across the organization. It understands the customers’ urgency, sees the impact of broken technology, and can provide great insights on preventing problems. The other resolver teams have deeper knowledge to build prevention.
Admittedly each customer hopes for a day of zero defects. When problems arise, they just want them fixed as quickly as possible to stay productive.
Resolve the threat of blocked teamwork and see the corporation value the IT organization as a critical partner in productivity.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Related Post: CIOs, Are Your IT Teams Truly Customer Focused?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, is a former IT professional. She delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on customer service focus, teamwork, and leading change especially to technical organizations. Kate turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
Thanks for the nice topic.
Coming from an IT background, we face similar issues as you mention but I don’t think it is to do with reducing the layers of servicing the customer.
Yes the customer has the right to get his call served as soon as possible but after all the first line support can only help in common problems. Others has to get escalated coz no matter what first line support can’t handle everything! No one can do everything to do with IT by himself. It’s a big area to be covered by one! So escalation is a must not only knowledge wise but cost wise also as you can’t train every body to be experts in all areas.
Now the real problem that we have is communication! Sometims layer three support do things that dont properly handed over to first line support which creates unneeded delays serving customers! We are now in the process of implementing proper IT change management which dictates that any changes have to be agreed and signed by all support parties before going live! I hope this will help such communication problems.
Thanks again Kate for your time invested in educating your readers 🙂