Rewarding Service Excellence in IT Support – The Why and The How
Your customer service department is critical to the success of your business. Why? Excellent customer service fuels business success. Research published by the Aberdeen Group® shows that the top 20% of companies in providing customer experience value, when compared to the bottom 80%, see much higher growth in year-over-year revenue (35.4% vs. 7.7%) and profit (18.2% vs. 2.9%).
When your buyers are making a purchase decision, if price and features are comparable, the quality of your customer service can be the deciding factor. Technology products tend to generate constant support calls, so top-notch IT support is crucial to end-users. And because service excellence is so important to your company’s performance, it is equally important to recognize and reward the employees who provide great support to customers.
Businesses realize numerous benefits from fostering a customer-focused culture. Perhaps the biggest is customer loyalty. Loyal customers are valuable in many ways. It is easier and less expensive to generate repeat business from existing customers than to develop new business. Satisfied customers are the best source of positive word-of-mouth (WOM). After a positive customer support experience, most people tell their friends and family. It’s not only free, but WOM advertising is also the most effective marketing money can’t buy.
If delighting your customer base isn’t reward enough, a service-oriented environment can also help strengthen your internal culture. Providing the best possible IT support:
- Develops a focus on customer satisfaction in your company
- Provides a metric by which to measure employee performance
- Supports efforts to improve business and operations performance
- Can lead to business longevity
When your other employees observe the IT team providing excellent customer support (both to external customers and internal end-users), it helps reinforce your company’s commitment to service. People are proud to work for a company that treats customers well, and they believe that they will also be treated with the same consideration. This helps you retain good employees, reduces turnover, and lessens the associated costs of hiring and training.
There are many metrics by which to evaluate employee performance. However, customer service KPIs might be among the most important. Certainly, there are specific measures of service you should use to evaluate IT technicians, such as speed, accuracy, and end-user satisfaction. However, if you are building a customer service culture, all employee contributions to customer support, satisfaction, and success should be measured.
For instance, if your company provides technology services, you might look at how many service contracts salespeople are closing. However, if your churn numbers are high, your revenue likely comes at a high cost. Another number to look at could be contract renewals, which are probably profitable sources of income. Great IT support is a driver of long-lasting customer relationships, which provides an incentive for everyone on the team to make sure that customers are well-supported and successful with your product or service.
One way to help to ensure your technicians can offer excellent customer service to external customers and internal end-users is to automate your help desk process. Web-based help desk software, such as Web Help Desk® from SolarWinds, helps your IT support team offer faster, more efficient service. Providing a rapid response is the biggest single factor in determining customer satisfaction with the support process. Automating the process facilitates your team’s ability to do so.
Feedback on customer service performance can guide continuous improvement in your business and operational processes. Many companies focus on a single metric in measuring their success: the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This simple, single question asks if end-users would recommend your product or service. By providing excellent tech support, you can improve your NPS. Also, the feedback you receive in understanding why someone would or would not recommend your company can provide valuable insight to enhance and strengthen both your IT service department and business as a whole.
Remember, only four in 100 companies remain in business past the 10-year mark. Given that the odds are so overwhelmingly against the long-term success of almost every enterprise, focusing on providing service excellence in IT support is one of the few factors leaders can leverage to beat those odds. Doing everything possible to attract, satisfy, and retain them should be at the top of your best business practices.
Given how central customer support is to your company’s success, it is important to recognize and reward the employees involved with making it happen. Provide your customer service teams with the tools they need. Shine a spotlight on customer success stories as well as the people who make them happen. Not only does this help develop employee satisfaction and loyalty, but it also builds the commitment to the value of service excellence throughout the company.
Customer Service Week, a nationally recognized event celebrated annually during the first full week in October, is an excellent time to develop your customer service culture further, to thank customers, and to recognize and reward employees. There are many events and ways in which you can celebrate Customer Service Week. However, the most important is that you treat every week as customer service week. Your business success depends on it.