That the IT team has to be in constant communication with the clients, (clients here meaning not the buyers of the company’s products and services but the users of the systems implemented by that that team), is not in doubt. If you are head of an IT team, then the users of your systems in different departments in your company are your clients. You need to know how to communicate with them so that the IT team is seen to add value to the business.
If you are to gain favor with the users of your IT systems, then you have to devise a good way of communicating with them. Usually, the IT team is made up of people who have very good tech minds, but they are poor communicators. As the IT team, you have a relationship with your customers, who are really the users of your IT systems and like any other, this relationship can only thrive with the best communication.
It is better to preempt what will happen and notify the users in advance, rather than have them jamming your switchboard with calls to the helpdesk asking what is going on. If you schedule maintenance, it is only fair to let them know in good time so that they can rearrange their schedules and do something else. In addition, you should also notify them when the system is back up.
Why you need to create mailing lists
A mailing list is very important, because it will enable you to group the users according to what they do and what systems they use. For example, if the CRM will be down for maintenance or something, then the marketing and the customer care teams are the only departments that need to get a message in regard to that, and not everyone who works for the company.
You will need to segregate the users. It is a big IT infrastructure and different departments use different systems. Thus, for the system that will be down, that message needs to be configured just for the concerned people. If you send the message to everyone, even those who are not concerned, then you are only teaching them not to take your messages seriously in future, making you seem like the boy who cried wolf. Most messages will be marked as spam and from then onwards, no one will bother to read them.
Again, do not make the messages too long. Make it a short email. Just notify the users that the system is down but it is being looked into and they will be notified when everything is back up and running. These are just the end users, not tech-savvy people. They just know how to use the system, and that is it. If there is anything they can do to help or to make them feel that they did something, please tell them. This could be something like, please restart your computer, close all tabs and so on. Make them feel engaged in finding the solution to the problem.
And then there is the little matter of knowing just how much communication should be going on between you (IT team) and your clients. How much is too much? How often should you communicate in a month? Is four or five times too few such that the relevancy of the IT team is forgotten? It is recommended that you send your clients eight messages every month. That way, they will not forget you and they will not think that you are too much.
Two-way communication is recommended
The best communication between the IT team and the users should be a two-way avenue. The messages should not only be sent one way, that is, from the IT team to the users, but should be from the users to the IT team too. When users communicate with you through email, instant messaging and social media, you will get feedback about the systems you have implemented.
You will also need to implement metrics to gauge how many people actually open the emails that you send. You are also encouraged to use social media so that you can get immediate and visible feedback from the system users.
These are just a few ways for you to communicate effectively with IT users. There are more, but just knowing enough not to spam the inboxes of the users is a good place to start. The most important thing is to create email lists with people of similar departments or with same needs.