How to become a Butler

We’ve defined four different IT personality profiles: The Accountant, The Butler, The Nanny and the Agent. Each one varies based on how much focus they put on understanding the business and how important user satisfaction is to them. 

A culture of service

The Butler thrives on delivering excellent user service. Service is part of their organization's culture.

1. Become boringly predictable

A key element of service delivery is delivering exactly what the user expects, no more no less. This means that the Butler focuses on delivering a consistent service every time.

Consistency applies in term of processes, having processes to direct the majority of service encounters to ensure that it is consistent and nothing is forgotten. It applies in term of employee training, everyone being trained in the basics required to do their job (technical and customer service) and in term of tool, consistently using the tools at their disposal (support tickets for example).

Butler uses metrics to track their consistency. Performance metrics such as number of requests, mean time to close, first call resolution rate, agreement to their SLA, etc. They define the metrics that most accurately represent the user experience and track them diligently, sometimes every day.

2. Actively manage expectations

The Butler realizes that managing expectations is a critical part of the satisfaction equation. And they use a variety of mechanisms to do that:

  • Service catalog: The service catalog describes explicitly what IT will and will not do, how long it will take and what the result will be. It sets expectations for users and managers alike. It is also the performance target he will try to achieve consistently.
  • Point communication: Service catalog is nice, but few users actually read them. This is why the Butler will reinforce the message by communicating service levels directly to the users. For example, when a user sends a request to the help-desk he might receive a confirmation email saying that it will be handled within one hour.
  • Report performance: The Butler also transparently reports its performance against its service catalog, highlighting when they failed to meet the targets and what they will do to correct the situation. This shows that they are taking their commitments seriously and can be trusted.

3. Constant staff training

The Butler delivers value through its people. This is why they spend a lot of time and effort training their staff. Training is done both on technical skills but also on customer service skills.

Butlers typically have a training curriculum where IT staff evolve and gain accreditation (or levels) based on the training and certification they have received.

4. Active performance management

The Butlers also spend a lot of time managing staff performance. Both in term of efficiency and effectiveness. Butlers typically work with IT staff to set performance targets, development objectives and behaviours. Butlers use techniques such as listening to support calls, monitoring support tickets and of course reviewing performance metrics on a continual basis.

They also set objectives for the groups, for example trying to reduce the number of calls for a specific subject or proactively fixing issues.

See things from the user's perspective

The Butler has an uncanny  ability to put him/herself in the users shoes and see their service from their perspective. To do so they spend a lot of time monitoring and experiencing themselves the services they provide. How many IT leaders have never called their own help-desk? The Butler would go out of his/her way to break something just to see how the team responds.


  • Delivering exceptional service requires daily focus
  • Great Butlers see things from the user's perspective
  • The key to satisfaction is delivering a constant, predictable service
Posted on October 18, 2013 and filed under ISP3.