Onsite IT Customer Service Proximity Can Divide Unity
by Kate Nasser |
A Universal Challenge to Outstanding Centralized IT Customer Service
CIOs – picture it. After much assessment you have decided to use a centralized well-tooled service desk (formerly known as help desk) to more efficiently solve technical support problems at a reasonable cost. Your onsite Level 2 deskside support and other infrastructure teams are to handle what the front line does not solve.
This plan has been implemented in corporations for many years. It has also struggled over the years with one universal challenge — onsite support teams’ quiet resistance to the model.
In truth, onsite support teams’ proximity to the customers can divide the unity of this model and block the teamwork between them and the centralized service desk.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome resistance and create unity and cross teamwork.
Creating Cross Teamwork for Outstanding IT Customer Service
- Redirection Training. If your onsite (deskside) support teams have been working at the sites prior to the creation of the centralized service desk, they struggle with asking the customers to call the centralized service desk.
Why? Because they experience an identity crisis with the new centralized model.
Consider that onsite IT customer service teams:
- Enjoy the close relationships with the customers through their proximity
- Savor a connection to the customers — often deeper than what they feel for IT peers
- Love the gratitude received directly from customers
- Thrive on the feeling of being indispensable
I have taken many IT organizations over the mountain of this challenge with sessions specifically designed to take onsite team members from individual identity to an IT organizational culture of service excellence. Workshops where they practice how to redirect the customers to the front line service desk without giving in to the OK but next time trap are critical.
Because onsite teams often have project duties in addition to break/fix problem solving, CIOs are tempted to shift these groups to a different high level leader. The priorities often shift away from support. The centralized front line and the customers are left hanging and begging for help.
The negative impact to employee customer productivity is tremendous and the finger pointing that ensues doesn’t help.
What new learning opportunities will they have as their break/fix time is reduced? What untapped talents do you see in them that you now want to tap? Will have have a choice to work on the front line service desk instead of onsite? They may not all have the skills to do front line work yet discussing the possibilities helps them work through the identity crisis.
Advice: Hold a service level summit with the support director and all IT support managers, supervisors, and team leads. Engage them to work through workloads, obstacles, and barriers and produce priority definitions and shared service levels for outstanding IT customer service and support.
Go one step further and write a teamwork KPI into every IT support team member’s performance guidelines so they truly understand what you expect in teamwork based customer service.
Centralizing IT customer service is far more than a financial move and a reorganization. It is a big change in culture for both the customers and the IT teams. Clear leadership vision, unity of purpose, and cross teamwork are essential to its success.
Otherwise it is an expensive exercise that the customers undo through end runs around the front line to the teams they have always used.
I’m here to help. I welcome your questions about this process through email, phone, or the comments section below.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Related Post: CIOS, Are Your IT Teams Truly Customer Focused?
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital. +1 908.595.1515.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.