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Posted by Stephen Mann on June 28, 2012
Following the recent announcement of Forrester’s Voice of the Customer winners and while we wait for the release of a new Forrester book on Outside-In thinking, it seemed an opportune moment to look at the IT service desk from the perspective of its customers (or end users if you are still that way inclined). So the main body of this blog has been written by such a customer – they don’t work in IT they are just heavily dependent upon IT to do their job. This is how they feel …
Pre-service desk - old skool IT support seemed to work
It feels as though life was much easier before the service desk was introduced into my life. One “IT guy” supported circa 100 staff and was accessible via phone, email, IM, and by simply walking across the office floor. Times change, businesses grow, and technology becomes more complex and so we have to move on. The local (and friendly) “IT guy” gets replaced by a faceless IT team, usually locked-up in the basement floor, and suddenly we have to jump through a series of hoops to get our IT queries answered. There are incidents, requests, catalogs, and tickets, and all my colleagues and I want to know is “Why can’t I log into my email?” and “Can you fix it quickly, please?”
Thinking bigger picture
That said in reality does it really matter to a customer whether:
The chances are that IT’s customers really don’t care about any of this. No, all that really matters is that:
It’s important to remember that IT is not just about the technology, but that it is about the people. Customer service is an integral part of any job, specifically in IT, and it shouldn't be considered any less important than the technology itself.
A customer’s view on a service desk’s commitments to the business and customers
Anybody associated with the service desk should be committed to providing good, if not outstanding, customer service and should consider the following 12 areas:
I’m not trying to “preach to the choir” here. I’m not claiming to be an expert on the service desk. I don’t have a professional qualification on “how to provide excellent customer service.” Perhaps I don’t even understand the basic concepts of IT service management. However, what I am is more important than any of this because I am a CUSTOMER.
You can learn more from me then from any number of books, Google searches, or team meetings – because I live the life of a customer and I know what I want and need from my service desk and IT as a whole.
Some of you may be reading this thinking “why are you stating the obvious?” If you are then good, perhaps you are already keeping your customers happy. There again just because you know all of the above doesn’t necessarily mean you are implementing it, does it? In the words of Goethe: "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do.”
Final thoughts from me
So that is the view of a service desk customer, I was going to highlight my favorite commitments but then realized that it would be most of them. This anonymous customer might not be indicative of all IT service desk customers BUT have you taken the time to check? Do your metrics highlight such IT failures or are you happy that your IT support is absolutely marvelous? It probably isn’t – ask your customers.
Finally, thank you to the anonymous person who wrote 90% of this blog and, as always, your comments are appreciated.
If you enjoyed this, please read my latest blog: http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann
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