Published on April 22nd, 20090
Halt bad customer service practices
Service Desk 360 has been given an early look at a major white paper which tackles the question of whether we have become too reliant on processes and automation at the expense of human interaction and common sense when providing service to customers.
Taking its theme from the Little Britain sketch in which the hopeless and rude service rep simply repeats responses dictated by her PC when talking to customers, Computer Says No! has been commissioned by the Service Desk and IT Support Show, Hornbill Systems and the Service Desk Institute, and will be available for download from the 30th April.
Service Desk 360 can reveal that the white paper is full of eye-catching figures (42 per cent of senior managers don’t know what the entire IT budget is), insightful comment from the 250-plus respondents concerning the importance of keeping the human touch, and solid advice for service desks wishing to free themselves from process automation overload.
Where are we going wrong?
The comments printed in the paper offer some of the clearest evidence why so many service operations have become impersonal. Here is one example: Many managers or team leaders fall into the trap of issuing instructions without setting them in context or conveying how their role fits into the overall picture. Often, ill-performing staff act in the way they do, because they have not been shown how to deal effectively with customers or do not fully understand what is expected of them.
This quote goes right to the heart of the issue of managing the people side of IT. Because most organisations measure success with metrics such as uptime and speed to answer support calls, the entire culture is pushed towards developing efficient processes, rather than offering personal service. Until businesses look beyond short term costs and build in targets which reward high customer satisfaction, and develop programmes that treat feedback as a chance to improve rather than a problem to try overcome, the Computer Says No culture is likely to continue. The paper also looks at how front-line support staff are still undervalued and lack the empowerment needed to react intelligently and empathetically towards customers.
Elsewhere in the paper, outsourcing is considered, particularly in terms of whether service levels can be maintained with third-party support provision. Encouragingly, 82 per cent of respondents still retain in-house support operations. Similarly pleasing is the news that IT is growing in stature at executive levels, with 68 per cent of businesses polled now claiming boardroom representation for IT.
Service Desk 360 will be providing a link to download the full paper when it becomes available so keep checking in; it will be a valuable read. Until then, do you have any horror stories about impersonal or inappropriate service delivery? You can change names to protect the innocent so don’t be shy, we know there are lots of good anecdotes out there.