Monday, 27 October 2014

Wait, internal customer service has to be good too?


Your business has wants and needs. How you, as a service provider, satisfy their appetites will indicate how successful you are. In the not so distant past customers had to deal with lengthy wait times on phone support lines and long physical queues for assistance. Over time technology has enabled us to improve on the delivery of service to customers so why hasn’t the translation been made from the shared services to the business. 

Question - How is your internal organization serving your business?

Think about an everyday situation. If your local shop stopped carrying the items you needed and were available elsewhere it is highly likely that you would switch shops, even if only to get the one or two items. The trick is that these other service providers understand your businesses needs even if you don’t. they look for ways to upsell and bundle to not only get your business to keep coming back to them but to entice them that they have other products and services for sale. While your business will still come to you for the staple items they may be shopping elsewhere for specialties and you may not even realize it. It is possible that they are looking right now, and in time your services may not be able to match up to your competition

Another challenge is that we (and by that I mean you and I) find it have a different expectation of the services we receive when we are at work as compared to outside the office. If we were to get a less than satisfactory turnaround on a request, even though it was promised to be completed quicker we might be more likely to shrug our shoulders. However if the same situation happened to us personally we would not tolerate it. Think about when you started with a new company you likely signed off on an onboard package of some type including the amount of compensation, possible health care coverage, weeks of holidays but did you see a page which said you should have lowered service expectations as part of the company. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard with regards to service delivery to our business as they may not tolerate us for long

While these examples really apply to any shared service provider I choose to pick on IT as this is where I spend my time as an employee. Trust me this is not an IT issue, it is an internal service provider issue and I have experienced it first hand while attempting to get service from other shared services.

To turn this around start thinking of service delivery like your business does. For them to succeed your business needs to be in a position to be scalable and adjust to the economic climate in which it exists. If they cannot meet customer needs and expectations someone else will and your business will be in trouble.

IT service delivery needs the same ability to be agile and scalable to ensure they can provide the services the business needs to achieve its goals.

Start by working with the business to identify the services they are using right now. Which ones are Critical, secondary or tertiary. Doing this will give you a sense of scope for your ongoing improvements.  Keep the scope simple and target a few key areas for improvement. Ensure that these improvements are measurable so that you can share the success you are having with stakeholders in a quantifiable way. Communicate this information appropriately with stakeholders in a way that makes sense to them to keep the momentum going.

There are many ways you can leverage people, process and technology to improve the delivery of service to your business but remember you need to work with your business if you are going to make any improvements which will be lasting and improve their ability to achieve.

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