This is article 6 in a series of 8. Read article 1 in the series here.
The service desk is the face of IT—and for many IT customers, the only touch point with IT. As a result, much of the responsibility for the IT customer experience and customer satisfaction ratings falls on the service desk.
As far as the end user is concerned, the service desk is IT.
IT customer expectations are a moving target. The consumerization of IT and the support experiences that employees have in their consumer lives are influencing what they expect from IT in the workplace. As customer expectations increase, service desks must improve performance to track changing IT customer expectations.
If you do nothing to improve, increasing expectations mean that the perception of IT will actually decline over time. As the perception of IT drops, business units and end users are more likely to bring in technology that is not sanctioned by corporate IT (Shadow IT and BYOD) – and budget begins to leak out of the IT department.
IT customers know that things sometimes go wrong. It’s how you deal with the issue that counts. A quick and decisive response will get the end user productive again and they will be satisfied that the service desk has helped them get the job done. This is the key to IT customer satisfaction: removing friction and reducing frustration.
IT people are usually too focused on technology, so IT customer satisfaction metrics are essential to ensure that what IT does lines up with what the business needs. When the service desk is more effective at dealing with issues, the perception of IT within the organization increases. With fewer detractors, IT stands a better chance of getting more funding for further improvements—which in turn enable higher IT maturity and a progressively better (yet lower cost) IT customer experience.
If you want to improve something you need to manage it. If you want to manage something you need to measure it. Customer satisfaction surveys quantify the perception of IT (if you ask the right questions), help you target improvements, and give you a benchmark against which to show progress.
Commit to regular surveys and use the same metrics throughout for consistency so you can benchmark and graph progress (that means planning your surveys in advance).
There should be some purpose and structure to the metrics you gather as part of an IT customer survey.
If you don’t plan on doing anything about the results, don’t run a survey; When end users are asked to give feedback on the IT experience, they will expect targeted improvements to happen as a result. If they take the time to tell you what’s wrong and what could be better—and then nothing happens—IT’s reputation takes another hit.
It is important to keep the survey focused, with as few questions as possible. There is an inverse correlation between the number of questions in a survey and the number of responses you will get, e.g. more questions mean fewer submissions (and less data to work with).
Pick a simple, primary metric to report upwards to management so that they can track progress easily. Many IT organizations are adapting the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question as a tool for measuring perception of IT:
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how satisfied are you with IT support? “
This is a simple quantitative question, which is followed by a qualitative question: “Why did you give this score?”.
The NPS question gives you a top-level metrics o that you can track the trend; the follow-up question draws out open feedback which can be analysed for themes and specific issues to be addressed.
The NPS survey results can be used to benchmark the perception of IT and provide some indication of where improvements need to be made. However, it is a good idea to also include some lower-level questions which ask explicitly about what is most important to the end user community. To do this, you will need to look at which factors influence customer satisfaction (number of dropped calls, agent attitudes, first-time-fix rate, availability of self-service tools, SLAs, etc).
Essentially, the purpose of an IT customer satisfaction survey is not just to show how good (or bad) a job IT is doing, but to find out what end users want—and give it to them. From here, you can prioritize specific improvement (like a self-service portal, more staff, more training or new service desk tools) to drive up IT customer satisfaction and increase the perception of IT within the business.
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More About Service Desk Challenges:
- Service Desk Challenge: Find, Keep, and Motivate Your Service Desk Team
- Service Desk Challenge: Reduce Call Volumes
- Service Desk Challenge: Increase First-Time-Fix Rate
- Service Desk Challenge: Real World Business Prioritization
- Service Desk Challenge: Keeping up with Business Change