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Advice for Improving Customer Satisfaction on the IT Help Desk

By | July 29, 2014 in Service Desk

Advice for Improving Customer Satisfaction on the IT Help Desk

“The customer is always right,” right?

Whether that old adage is true is irrelevant.  But there is another saying that should be plastered on the walls of every IT help desk:

The Customer is Always the Customer.

And, as a customer, each is entitled to polite service, accurate information, and timely resolution of any issues. The following tips for IT help desks will help you improve customer satisfaction levels.

Remember that ITSM is not just about the technology; ITSM is about people. Staffing a help desk with people who are both technically savvy and customer-centered is a fundamental building block of a successful IT help desk.


Tip #1: Remember – your job is to help the customer

Sometimes, you may become frustrated by customers’ endless requests. In these situations, take a step back to understand how your customer feels. Try to view the situation from their perspective.

A customer may need a password reset, which in the grand scheme of IT challenges, seems trivial.  But, to the customer, the password issue hinders their work and causes a major problem.

When addressing your customers, understand their frustration, empathize, be patient and polite, and offer easy-to-follow guidance and effective solutions. This is the golden rule of customer satisfaction: treat your customers as you would want to be treated.

Tip #2: For the resources you provide to be useful, they must be easy to find and understand

If you have a thorough knowledge base that nobody uses, or if your team spends too much time answering questions that are in the FAQ, your resources are likely either too hard to find or too hard to understand (or both).

In a 2012 survey conducted by leading analyst firm Coleman Parkes, more than 40% of customers contact a call center after they can’t find answers to their question via self-service; up to 50% of “How do I …?” calls could be deflected to self-care channels if information was provided online or in a knowledgebase.

If they are not using your resources, find out why. Survey your customers to find out how they currently search for answers and what medium (text instructions, images, video) would be most helpful to them.  In some cases, different types of customers prefer different types of resources.  You could offer some of your most common solutions in multiple formats and track which ones are used most often (and by whom) to resolve issues.

If your surveys are not getting the response rate you would like, see tip #5 below for advice on improving your feedback strategy.

The bottom line here is that your resources need to be both informative and user-friendly.  Striving for the utmost of both factors will enable your customers to help themselves.

Tip #3: Respond quickly, even if only to acknowledge receipt of the ticket

When a customer opens a ticket, respond.  And respond promptly.

A timely response lets your customers know that their issue is in the queue and it sets expectations.

It only takes a moment (you can automate it in most ITSM tools), but promptness is critical.The faster you respond to your customers, the easier it becomes to solve a problem. Timely responses increase customer satisfaction.

Tip #4: Update customers about ticket status

Your customer would be more satisfied if they were updated about the status of their ticket.

At this stage (and, really, at every stage), it is important to set expectations.  Focus first on the customer’s key concerns. Did they need equipment that is on backorder?  Explain how much of a delay they should expect. Were they concerned with availability? Inform them of what a reasonable standard may be.

Until all tasks are complete and their issue is closed, send an email, update the ticket, give them a call – and let them know the steps you have taken, what the next step will be, and what the ETA is for resolution.

Tip #5: Ask customers for feedback and act on their advice

If you want to improve your customer satisfaction, ask your customers what needs to be improved. But conducting a survey is not enough, to show your customers that their input matters, use their feedback to instill change.

You can send a survey after each ticket has been resolved or you can send periodic surveys to customers who fit a certain profile (or you can do both). According to Oracle, “Ideally, you should survey your customers just often enough to get the information you need but not so often as to annoy them. The frequency of customer satisfaction surveys will depend on the frequency of your organization’s interactions with customers.”

Inform customers how long the survey will take (there we go, setting expectations again). Make your questions as neutral as possible to get honest, helpful answers. A normal response rate to customer satisfaction surveys is 10-15%.  To increase yours, consider sending a reminder and offering an incentive.

Opportunities to improve customer satisfaction

The customer may not always be right, but if you take each interaction as an opportunity to learn something from a customer to improve your service, then the customer is never wrong either.

At the end of the day, the customer and the IT help desk are all on the same team with the same goal—resolving the issue.  As you focus on that, take this advice to heart:

  • Treat customers with respect
  • Offer them helpful ways to solve the issues themselves
  • Respond to their requests quickly
  • Keep them updated
  • Ask them for feedback

Want to share any other bits of advice? Would love to hear from you.

Like this article? You may also like: If We Could Just Talk to Our Customers.

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Yair Bortinger

About Yair Bortinger

Working at SysAid since 2011, first as an account manager and now leading the SysAid Gold Support team, Yair is passionate about giving top-notch customer service and you can often hear him schmoozing comfortably with his customers. A history buff, a Trekkie, and being a dedicated husband and father to two small boys complete the package that makes Yair the smiley-faced darling in the office and out!
 

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