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Exceptional customer service has become a key focus for IT service desk and organizations as a whole. At the same time, the number of people working from home is increasing by the thousands across the globe as the digital workplace becomes more of a requirement than a luxury. For those in departments where collaboration is a key component of their job duties, the COVID-19 crisis presented a whole new challenge: rather than being able to verbally discuss challenges and work on solutions together, a chasm of silence formed. This led to a disconnect in teams remaining customer centric.
With teams geographically spread apart, there is a need for increased collaborative support, rather than traditional methods like tracking progress on a white board or verbal updates. This push for collaborative support will extend beyond the “new normal” as 16% of pandemic-influenced remote workers are predicted to remain working from home, and can propel your team to new heights of customer centricity.
Providing customer centric service is not isolated to the IT service desk, but extends to any team or department serving others, be they internal employees or external customers. Put simply, customer-centricity means putting the customer at the core of your efforts. This includes efforts to implement automation and every piece of service delivery.
It is important to note, customer centricity does not mean having the mindset that “the customer is always right.” Rather, it means prioritizing the customer’s needs.
Keeping a customer centric mindset seems simpler when working in an office setting, after all, hearing your coworkers speak to customers in a positive way and creating an atmosphere with customers at the core can feel contagious in-person. This is why it is so important to have collaborative support and tools, like an intelligent service management software, in place to keep the customer-centric mindset across vast regions and the differing conditions made possible by teleworking. When you have collaborative tools connecting your team, you can better anticipate customers and their needs.
To become customer centric, you must know your customer fully and implement outside-in thinking – and you have to do it as a team. But where do you start?
You can begin by identifying who your customers are and mapping out their journey. This means taking a thorough look at each type of customer and fully understanding their needs required for each touchpoint or moment. You can read more about how to identify different customer personas and map their journeys in this recent blog post.
As mentioned above, collaborative support is key in becoming customer centric. There is no way to provide a consistent experience to every customer, every time, if there is not a coordinated effort and easy way for agents to do so. An IT service management software coupled with an effective self-service portal for agents and customers will help ensure that the right information is delivered at the right time, and that the right people are working on each ticket without creating additional steps for agents or customers.
Customer centric thinking created by collaborative support is everywhere in the real world.
For example, you service management software can be customer centric by creating collaborative support through simply providing omnichannel or multi-channel support channels though which customers of the service desk and support agents can communicate and track progress to resolve a ticket. Another way your service management can be customer centric is by providing multiexperience apps, tailored to meet the customer on whatever device they prefer (even if that device happens to be a smart watch or other mobile device).
By simply tailoring the IT support experience to meet the customers where they are, provide them with self-service and intelligent automation, and give them a variety of ways to contact the service desk, you are practicing customer-centric thinking. Through using cloud-based software to improve communication, you are creating collaborative support with focused customer centric thinking.
Customer centric service is one thing in theory, and another in practice. To ensure that your customer centric ideology in a collaborative environment is creating the desired effect, you can measure a few specific metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).
These KPIs can be specific to self-service or for the service desk as a whole. These will give you an idea of areas to optimize and give an indicator of customer centric areas that are working well to boost service desk efficiencies.
A net promoter score (NPS) is the percentage of customers rating their likelihood to recommend a company, a product, or a service to a friend or colleague as 9 or 10 ("Promoters") minus the percentage rating this at 6 or below ("Detractors") on a scale from 0 to 10. The result of the calculation is expressed without the percentage sign.
These scores can be gathered through surveys, questionnaires, chatbots, or in-person depending on the type of interaction. If your NPS is consistently low, it is an indicator that major changes need to happen to reach the goal of customer centricity.
Further, when considering your ITSM tool, you should take into account the NPS of the ITSM provider. Learn more about how to gain access to NPS scores of your ITSM provider in our recent eBook.
Unlike NPS, the churn rate is not who would recommend you, but who has already stopped using your service. In IT, this is especially important when you are trying to combat shadow IT.
To calculate churn, you must divide the number of customers who stopped using a product or service over a set amount of time divided by the total remaining customers. The formula sounds pretty straightforward, but how to define the numbers and the amount of time is where it can get tricky – especially in relation to your service desk and how many people have stopped submitting tickets. After all, they may just not have issues for which to submit tickets.
A good way to calculate churn is on a monthly basis. Take a look at how many tickets are typically handled and for whom and see if there are any glaring problems. If you notice that a high number of tickets are first-time ticket submissions vs. second- or third-time submissions, it is a good indicator of high churn rate. This can also be focused on customers by count or to account for churn against renewals and upsells.
With customer centricity focusing on providing value to the customer, it is also important to calculate the customer’s lifetime value to the organization. Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is a metric that indicates the total revenue the business can expect from a single customer account. In relation to the IT service desk, this is important because you must calculate which customers have the potential to bring in the most revenue for the company, even if it is not in direct sales, so that you can prioritize ticket handling.
As mentioned above, customer centric service is crucial because it keeps customers at the center of everything you do and keeps all parties in the loop about how best to achieve the customer’s goals. To create a customer centric experience, your entire team must be connected and cohesive.
In the IT service desk, keeping the customers at the center of your thinking and collaborating can also result in more focused outcomes which can power digital transformation. But, this cannot be done if everyone is working separately and without the use of collaborative tools, like a comprehensive cloud-based service management software.
To learn how EasyVista Service Manager can help increase collaborative efforts and ramp up customer centricity in your service desk, get a demo today!
Evan Carlson joined EasyVista in 2010 as the first employee in North America. He is currently the Chief Revenue Officer responsible for revenue growth and profitability across marketing, sales, services, support and customer success. Carlson previously served as VP of Sales at EasyVista to establish and grow the business with empowered teams, innovative sales strategies, and long-term customer relationships. Before EasyVista, Carlson held leadership roles for technology vendors including OPNET, Optinuity (acquired by CA Technologies), and Visual Networks (acquired by Danaher Corporation).