No matter how good a job you may think you are doing, you need to get an outside opinion.
Over the past few years I have transitioned from a field engineer to a VCIO (Virtual Chief Information Office) and account manager. Since doing so, I regularly talk to clients and prospective clients at various organizations. When the support team is not actively engaging their clients on how they are doing, I hear a repeating set of comments:
“They never fix anything the first time I call them.”
“It takes them days to fix anything.”
“Our IT guys talk down to me like I’m stupid.”
“Our IT department, makes our jobs more difficult as they won’t provide the support we need.”
“We never see them here at the office. They update something and it takes days to get things working again.”
There are many more that are far less flattering.
Are you sure about what your clients think about you and your team? Here are a couple of ideas on how you can improve your service and your standing with your clients, whether you are a managed services provider, an IT administrator for a business or a part of the educational institution.
1. First make sure your team knows that without those end users/clients, you wouldn’t even be there to support them. Without end users, you don’t have a job.
2. Empathy. Your engineers should treat every user/client with civility, courtesy and have a willingness to listen to what the actual problem is, not just be trying to close a ticket in rapid time.
3. When the task/ticket or call is done, have your team take the time to call back and see how the user is doing. Be prepared for praise or scorn and address it.
4. Implement a survey system. Send random surveys to clients and ask them to complete. Encourage them to let you know know if there are problems, or if they want to praise an engineer who went above and beyond. They can file anonymously if that helps.
5. Use a reward system if you implement the surveys and be willing to reward those engineers who get the praise. Some times it can just be praising them in public. Take them to lunch, give them movie tickets, you decide. Make it something your staff would appreciate and that the rest of team will want to aspire to.
6. For those that get the scorn, address it in private. NEVER do it in public. Find out what the root issue is if you can. Maybe they are a good tech but hate dealing with users. It could be there are other personal issues, or it could be they just don’t fit your organization. Whatever it is, it affects your reputation and the companies and must dealt with.
I try to schedule offsite meetings with clients as often as I can. This is to get a feel for what is going on with our clients and determine what their attitude is towards our company as a whole. On a recent site visit I talked to the office manager who began praising our entire team for their friendliness, willingness to assist and overall attitude.
What a lift to my day! Even better, she did it in front of one of the team who was supporting them. Bonus!
So do you really know how you are doing?