How to ensure you receive excellent service from your IT company (rather than put up with poor or mediocre support)
How to ensure you receive excellent service from your IT company.
When it comes to IT support, too often companies tend to put up with a less than satisfactory situation, assuming that a ‘better the devil you know’ approach is the best option.
Naturally, we all want to experience great service. But there’s an old saying – ‘if you don’t measure it you can’t improve it’. So do you know how to measure the service you’re receiving?
Can you feel great service, touch it or see it? Certainly we can all agree that it’s something you experience in a positive or negative way. You know it straight away when you get good or poor service when buying coffee or food, or flying with an airline company.
So why is it that people seem to just put up with average or even poor IT service?
New customers always tell me that their last IT support company took ages to get back to them, not just when fixing the problem but also when keeping them updated. But their conclusion was that the support they received was still ok, just not great!
Well I think they should be encouraged to raise their expectations, and be more assertive in holding their service provider to account!
They didn’t consider (or perhaps were not even aware of the existence of) IT Service Level Agreements (SLA). Some customers are very aware of this term – and it’s normally because they don’t want to be bitten twice and receive average or poor service again.
We are so used to being reassured by SLAs for everything else – Broadband; Sky Boxes, on-line deliveries and even banks now. But some IT Support providers are not transparent when it comes to offering Service Level Agreements for their services.
Unfortunately, after a while the customer tends to get used to bad or average IT service. They also seem unaware that there may well be better service available and do not have the know-how to easily change the situation.
Service Level Agreements exist so the customer knows exactly what level of service they should expect for their money, based on the severity and impact of the issue they are facing.
SLAs do work slightly differently depending on industry and service, but the basic formula is the same:
Initial Response to the issue
On going Progress
And then Resolution
As you would expect, the way IT Support companies handle SLAs can vary. For example, when you email the supplier with your request you may immediately, or within the agreed timescale, receive an auto-generated email. Sometimes the IT staff haven’t even looked at your email. They have met their SLA without even doing any work.
When the ticket is finally worked on, all it takes is an email to ask for more details and the IT staff can then buy more time to work on other issues . Meantime the problem is not getting fixed and you’re not getting any work done. You might get a phone call or some further follow-ups from different people, but’s the resolution of your problem is probably broken up in lots of small transactions. Meanwhile the SLA clock is paused while you provide more information and the problem is still unresolved.
When at last the IT people consider the issue/ticket/case/problem is solved, have they informed you of this?
Do you think the problem is fixed? Are you in need of more transparent feedback?
You the customer should be told how the problem was resolved. At this point you can then agree or disagree with the outcome – and start the process again if necessary.
So, what is the secret to obtaining great IT service?
The following 5 straightforward steps will guide you through a process of firstly understanding what your needs are, and then equipping yourself with the right tools to measure the service your are receiving against that need.