I was perusing the HDI’s “2012 Practices and Salary Report*” last week and was struck by some of the figures reported. According to the report, 93% of customers were satisfied or very satisfied with their incident response. Moreover, regardless of the communication method, the cost per incident has decreased significantly since 2010. The average cost per incident for chat has decreased by 33%, email has decreased by 13%, telephone has decreased by 15% and in person has decreased by 24%.
Needless to say, I was pretty surprised. Anecdotally, my conversations with prospects, analysts, and customers have led me to believe:
- IT departments are being asked to do more with less.
- IT is being pressured to support a wider range of devices, services, and delivery methods.
- The inherent conflict in these priorities is driving IT professionals to look critically at processes and systems throughout their organization.
Certainly these assertions are not purely anecdotal. In a study by Information Week Reports, only 29% of business people consider their IT organization to be distributed, agile and flexible, only 43% consider their IT teams integral to the business, and 54% consider IT a support or maintenance organization … not an innovator.
So where is the disconnect? Service Management performance metrics have historically focused on very transactional information. Metrics like mean time to answer, mean time to resolve, etc., are all standard measures of incident performance that assume the user has already reached out for support. A closer examination of the HDI report shows a similar, inherent bias. Customer satisfaction is, in this report, measured in relation to an incident. In other words, an incident is open, it is worked on, it is resolved, and then a customer satisfaction survey is distributed. There is an inherent assumption that if the problem is addressed fast enough, the customer will be satisfied.
What companies need to focus on is the value of the service and support experience that they provide. Are we delivering an experience that matches the users’ expectations for collaboration? Do we deliver service management across the right channels? For instance, as Baseline Magazine reports, despite the fact that 90% of American workers carry smartphones (see Baseline article here ), 76% feel their organizations need to do more to fulfill mobility’s potential for productivity and 32% of feel companies need to provide more support for smart devices (see Baseline article here).
Customer satisfaction is driven by a combination of experience, responsiveness, and proactivity. Put simply, users want to quickly find their own resolution, have fewer issues to begin with, know about issues ahead of time, and leverage the devices that they are comfortable with. The business side of IT should strive to satisfy these demands and drive business value, but IT also needs to enhance productivity and reduce service and support costs.
Below are four actions that companies can take to further drive customer satisfaction:
- Make service management interactions easy to understand.
- Provide collaborative capabilities that help resolve issues.
- Leverage a single point of contact to get “work” done.
- Provide modern interfaces to match experience.
Want to hear more on this topic? Check out this BrightTalk webinar on how CA Nimsoft Service Desk can help make your help desk customers love you again, and to see what a powerful but elegantly simple service desk looks like? You might also want to take a look at this short video on CA Nimsoft Service Desk.
* “2012 Practices and Salary Report,” HDI, Copyright © 2012 UBM LLC
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