I was recently reminded again of the power of good customer service. I went into my local NAB branch to setup a bank account. What the ‘concierge’ and the bank teller who then helped me did not realise was that if they could not assist me effectively, I was going straight across the road to the Bendigo Bank to open the account there instead (Bendigo Bank recently received the highest customer satisfaction score among Australian Banks in a report I read). I was reasonably satisfied with the NAB, but that is not enough to keep me if I think I might get better looked after just over the road!
While helping me, the teller looked at my accounts and proactively suggested a way that I could earn more interest for no extra cost! In other words, he arranged it so the bank gave me more money for free!
Also, we worked out that my needs for now could be met with a free account, rather than the paid for account that was our starting point. All this while being friendly and polite and giving the impression he was really happy to have the chance to help me.
The end result? I end up promoting NAB to my friends in the following weeks, the NAB keep me as a customer for this new account (whereas if I’d gone to Bendigo Bank perhaps that would’ve been the start of all my banking business heading there for the rest of my life), and I end up happy that my banking is not only meeting my needs, but it is also producing more for me!
So how does this relate to IT departments? Frankly, a lot of IT departments are still not all that customer focused. IT cannot rest on its laurels in the comfortable glow that just providing the tech they think is important is more than enough. This simply is no longer the case!
Going the extra step does not have to take ages or cost a fortune. Who can say whether the next internal customer to call the Service Desk will be someone who later influences IT’s budget, or whether IT is outsourced – or whether they will be having coffee with someone who does. A proactive, responsive, service-focused IT department, which has a good understanding of the needs of the business, is going to be far more resilient in the face of pressure to meet increased expectations from the business, to fend off the potential of outsourcing (which might only be a new CEO, CFO or CIO away), and to defend and extend its budget to further help the business achieve its goals.
So make sure all your IT staff are responsive and customer focused, and make sure they are looking for quick ways to proactively assist customers they are already interacting with. ‘Did you know that you can find quick answers to questions like this on our intranet page?’, ‘Would you mind if we run a quick health check while I’m working on your request?’, ‘I can show you how to do it yourself next time too if you’d like?’
Having all your customers delighted with IT’s services can only be a good thing! And starting the process toward delighted IT customers when the new CEO joins the company is starting too late. This IS what the business really wants from IT. So start now.