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The Visible and Hidden Costs ofIneffective
IT Support and Customer Service - $$$$$

This article is about the visible and hidden costs of ineffective IT Support and IT Customer Service, including how IT managers can assess customer satisfaction, and the impact of ineffective customer support. The article also presents some of the negative comments received in an IT Customer Satisfaction Survey, demonstrating the impact of ineffective IT customer support on IT customers.
How effective is your organization's IT customer support, how is it impacting your employees and customers and how do you know?

No one ever said providing IT customer support is easy

CIOs and IT managers are caught between a rock (their budget) and a hard place (their customers). How can IT provide consistently high levels of customer service so that they can earn high levels of IT customer satisfaction?

Impact of Ineffective IT Customer Service

Every CEO, CTO and IT manager should know the answers to the following questions, and be ready to take action if needed:
  1. How effective is your organization's IT customer support/customer service?
  2. How is IT customer support impacting your company's employees and customers?
  3. If IT customer support is negatively impacting your company's employees and customers, how is it impacting your bottom line?
  4. How do you know the answers to the above questions?
  5. What can we do to significantly improve IT customer service / IT customer support?

Impact on IT Customers

Ineffective IT customer service negatively impacts the productivity and effectiveness of IT customers (your company's employees) while they are waiting for resolution of their problem or for an answer to their question. In many organizations this is a very significant drag on productivity and profit.

Impact on Your Company's Customers

Your company's customers, who rely on your employees to provide them with efficient sales and customer service transactions, and consistently high levels of customer service are also impacted when systems are down or responding slowly, and when your employees are not able to serve customers well or answer their questions because of technology problems.

Impact on In-House or Outsourced IT Staff

Ineffective IT customer service also impacts the productivity of the IT staff. IT customers often encounter the same IT problems over and over again, sometimes for months or years. Besides being frustrating and wasting time for IT customers and in some cases external customers, IT staff spend countless hours responding to recurring IT problems, often because no one is willing to fix the cause of the problem.

The Solution -- How to increase IT customer satisfaction and IT performance

One of the most effective ways to increase IT performance and IT customer satisfaction levels, regardless of IT budgets, is to conduct IT customer satisfaction surveys and to take action on the survey results. The process is simple: conduct IT customer satisfaction surveys, analyze the results, share the survey results with in-house or outsourced IT managers and staff, establish IT SLA's (IT service level agreements), create and implement action plans to increase IT service levels, then conduct ongoing/periodic IT surveys to measure progress and keep taking action to continuously improve service levels. Try it, it works!
Most of the IT customer surveys Quantisoft conducts include questions about satisfaction with IT Help Desk (IT Service Desk), Desk Side Support and Application Support. Some of the IT surveys also include questions about Network Services and other services provided by IT in those organizations.

Actual Comments from an IT Customer Satisfaction Survey

The following anonymous comments are from the first IT Customer Satisfaction Survey we conducted for a company with over 700 employees. While IT customers shared a significant number of positive comments, the sample negative comments presented here illustrate the impact of ineffective IT customer support on IT customers. These comments are typical of comments we often see at other significantly larger and smaller organizations. Other IT Customer Surveys have gathered many comments and suggestions that identified problems and opportunities which are different than the comments from the survey presented below:
  • The IT Help Desk is no help. Desk Side support is usually delayed because they do not receive info from the Help Desk in a timely manner.
  • Keep in mind that when we receive a ticket # and it takes about 2 to 3 hours for someone to take care of it and we can't use our computer, that's not productivity at all.
  • Experience with help desk very discouraging.
  • Some techs are good, some are not. Some are very hard to understand due to heavy accents.
  • Would be nice to have longer IT Help Desk hours for us west coast folks.
  • Often takes 10 minutes on hold.
  • Slow phone answering
  • Problem with connecting from home is still not solved. Given the same instructions 3 times.
  • VERY DISSATISFIED
  • I can't understand most of the people who answer the phones.
  • Usually good attitude with clear lack of knowledge on how to solve anything.
  • Depends on who you get. Some are good, others are not.
  • I have a ticket for which the IS desk continues to ignore my help requests. The ticket has been open for over a month.
  • High variability in quality of help desk personnel. Two are great, most others are not.
  • They are programmed to try certain things and don't always 'hear/listen' to what you are saying.
  • Sometimes it's difficult to understand the technician (language) and do this over the phone
  • Over 7 reminder emails and phone calls requesting assistance in completing my ticket. Yet, they have not been of any help.
  • For the most part, I have found the Help Desk people to be clueless about anything other than a technical issue with the PC itself. With problems with software or system access or availability, they were no help. They handle our work order numbers, but response time on those "tickets" is pitifully slow. I have all but given up on using the Help Desk as a result of my experiences.
  • The most common response from the Helpdesk is re-boot. When I get that response I hang up on them.
  • One request is still pending, I have not received any follow-up in weeks and this is the 2nd time I am calling about the same issue. The "fix" they tried last time did not work so I opened a new ticket.
  • There are times they are not able to help - therefore frustration sets in.
  • There have been instances where my issue has taken 2-3 attempts to fix over the phone before sending desk-side support.
  • Half of my inquires were never responded to.
  • Tries too many things and doesn't solve my problem in the long run.
  • Sometimes good, sometimes bad
  • Very good at issuing tickets but that's about it.
  • Don't usually call back as I am in the department, I go to the source (Alex or Chris) to find out about my ticket number.
  • Resolution is much more preferable to accurate and/or timely status updates.
  • Once the ticket is "routed" to an individual deskside technician, the IT Help Desk tends to act like it is out of their hands.
  • It seems as though technicians are only concerned with closing out the ticket quickly, before they know if the problem is actually resolved.
  • Issued new ticket after closing pending unresolved ticket.
  • They have not even followed up once on my several emails and phone calls requesting help on the open ticket.
  • They follow-up but don't solve problems.
  • Usually there is no follow up, and I get notices that tickets are closed way past the time of the issue.
  • I have a ticket that's been open almost a week, and no one from the Help Desk has called me to see why.
  • Overall completely helpless.
  • I try to avoid calling whenever possible.
  • Depending on who answers the phone will depend on the service you get -- not always consistent.
  • Never resolved
  • Most cases need to be put on hold or called back.
  • No follow-up, so I gave up.
  • There are way too many issues/requests here that require me to involve my manager. He's busy and should not be bothered with these types of requests. For example, upgrading to a newer version of a software application that is needed to do my job. This type of approval is unnecessary and an inefficient use of everyone's time.
  • When they come across an issue that they do not understand or know how to handle they leave the claim open and then just close it, rather than figuring out the issue.
  • Train all your employees on better customer service. To have tickets that have not been answered or continue being ignored. It is of great trouble to those who depend on the help desk to get their job done right.
  • The hardware setup process for on-boarding employees needs to be revamped. It should all be done ahead of time, not the start day.
  • The ticket system is close to worthless. I don't recall ever receiving an update to the status of a ticket, and usually the tickets are closed out long after the problem is resolved.
  • Get back to clients to let them know if help desk has passed the issue onto someone else. Usually I wait one week and then have to call back and then help desk often says "oh, we sent that to XXXXXX, I'm surprised no one has contacted you". That happened to me 3-4 times.
  • Extend your hours on weeknights to midnight. You should also be available on weekends. Field sales need that support!

Summary

IT Surveys are a powerful tool for measuring IT customer satisfaction and identifying opportunities for increasing IT performance and IT customer satisfaction. The payback on an IT Survey is usually very large when organizations take action based on the survey results.
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