The 5 Big Strategic ITSM Challenges for 2015 - CHALLENGE #3: Improving the end user experience
by Dr Nigel Martin, on 12-Oct-2017 16:02:00
This week, still on the theme of the 5 big strategic ITSM challenges for 2015, we focus on improving the end user experience.
Customer satisfaction is the key to building the credibility of IT. It is the perception of IT amongst business people that will decide the fate of the corporate IT department. If IT isn’t getting the basics right, the CIO won’t get a seat at the top table - and both budget and strategic influence will continue to leak out of IT. End users expect much more from IT support today. Experiences in their consumer lives are influencing expectations in terms of the quality, speed and shape of support - and they are more vocal than ever before when these expectations are not met.
The consumerization of IT trend means that IT customer expectations are now a rapidly moving target. If you do nothing, customer satisfaction levels will quickly diminish on their own accord. Treading water is not an option. The quality of the end user experience dictates IT customer satisfaction, and IT organizations that don’t measure and improve satisfaction will be unable to predict and prevent the wholesale loss of IT estate to cloud technology and Managed Service Providers. But simply measuring the problem is not enough. When you measure IT customer satisfaction, you must measure with a purpose: driving a user experience improvement program.
Measure IT customer satisfaction – where are you now?
Measure your IT customer satisfaction today to set a baseline for your end user experience improvement program. As the saying goes - if you measure it, you can manage it. If you can manage it, you can improve it. There are a variety of metrics to choose from to quantify IT customer sentiment, but simplicity is the key to clarity, and simple measurements borrowed from the customer service domain like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort are taking root as effective measurements of IT customer satisfaction.
What good looks like – Where do you need to be?
When measuring IT customer satisfaction it is also worthwhile asking a few qualitative (open) questions to find out what good looks like from the end user perspective – to begin to understand what is driving your main customer satisfaction metric. IT shops need to change perspective: think less about what works best for IT and more about what works best for the end user community. What do IT customers want? In this respect it is critical to understand the wide array of business contexts that end users operate in. It’s not just people chained to desktops any more. More people than ever are either mobile or home workers, using their own technology instead of corporate-issued standard-build desktops.
So what do IT customers want?
- Simplicity: Business people are not IT people. Although general technical ability is rising (due to the influx of the tech-savvy generation y and generation z into the workforce), people just want to be productive in their jobs. Interaction with IT should be as simple as humanly possible. It’s not about IT people impressing end users with their technical prowess. The use of non-technical business language is critical, and it is dangerous to make assumptions about what end user can and cannot do.
- Transparency: IT issues disappearing into a “black hole” is the single largest source of frustration amongst end users. Knowing that something (anything) is happening is better than not knowing. IT customers are not necessarily interested in what is happening, but want to know that progress is being made.
- Choice: Provide a choice of ways to communicate with IT, and a seamless experience running across all business-to-IT touch points (the service desk, self-service via web and mobile, social collaboration and chat), so that end users can connect with IT in the way that best suits their current context. In retail this is known as omnichannel.
- To be productive: IT traditionally makes sure systems, applications and services are up and running, but neglects best practices for how these systems are used by the end user community. By facilitating easy peer-to-peer support networking that crosses geographical, departmental and hierarchic boundaries, end users can freely share best practices, as well as solve each other’s low-level support issues (thus also benefiting IT by diverting demand away from the service desk).
Planning an end user experience roadmap: How you’re going to get there
Once IT understands what is truly important to customers in terms of the end user experience, you can map out a prioritized program of improvements. At this point, it can be beneficial to validate your roadmap with an end user beta group before communicating your program to the wider community – to ensure the initiatives and priorities actually make sense.
Measure - How do you know you there?
With IT customer satisfaction, you’re never really there. Improving the end user experience is an ongoing program, not a one-off project. You need to measure continuously. With each step in the program you should see an uptick in your customer satisfaction metrics and a change in the attitude of business stakeholders towards IT. If you continue to listen to end users at each stage (through repeated quantitative and qualitative feedback) you will see old criticisms diminish and new expectations emerge, as the business landscape is always changing. New expectations and priorities mean new improvement projects to add into your rolling improvement program, so although individual improvements can be closed off, your overarching program will never actually end.
You can read more about the top 5 Strategic ITSM Challenges in 2015 in our latest briefing paper.