The service of IT departments is being judged at the same level than for external service providers. To be successful, they need to manage their service the same ways, by managing calls and tickets, monitoring quality and measuring satisfaction.
Most IT leaders believe they don’t have any competition. They are an internal service department. A monopoly. Users don’t have a choice but to use their services.
But the performance of IT providers is still being evaluated, even if their clients are captive. And the evaluation is based on a similar but unfair organisations: commercial telecom companies.
Telecom providers have been very successful in increasing the quality of their service in the last few years. While they used to be laughed at with their incredulous appointment windows (we’ll be there sometimes between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm) and long wait times over the phone, this time is now over. Wait times on the phone are now very short (or non-existent), calls are rapid and helpful, and whenever a technician is dispatched, they are now on-time and courteous.
This raises the expectations of the users regarding their IT department. “AT&T can fix my home network in only a couple hours, how come it takes you days to get me a new mouse?”. These levels of services are now the new standards, and failure to meet them will disappoint users.
How can you compete? Should you?
IT leaders that don’t react to these new expectations will quickly become obsolete. Users will work hard to bypass IT and get help from other sources.
The first step to competing is to start taking support seriously. Many IT departments don’t even have ticket systems in place still today. Without ticketing system, its is impossible to track and analyze support requests and ensure that nothing fell through the cracks.
The second step is to establish basic processes. How agents should answer the phone. How should they respond to emails. Do they have checklists to help troubleshoot and solve problems.
Finally, it is important to measure service. How many calls per day> The time per calls. The number of first call resolution. And most importantly: user satisfaction.
While managing service is not the most exciting part of an IT leader’s job, it is quickly becoming a critical one. Failure to compete effectively with the new expectations of the users will damage IT’s credibility and ultimately affect its perceived value.