Are you customer centric?

“How do we improve user experience” was the question posed to h2index by a sector-leading global company earlier this year. This followed a two year restructuring of its end user services (EUS) delivery, which included moving to one global supplier for all telephone and on-site IT support, and weaning staff away from support by local staff to contacting a remote call centre.

Frustrating users of EUS more than anything else is the practice of transferring requests to another area. This finding came from h2index’s survey of many of the company’s users across the world, and survey of external organisations’ EUS, including interviewing many of their managers. Our experience in other organisations chimed with this result, so one of our key recommendations was to maximise the number of issues resolved within the service desk.

Once a support ticket leaves EUS to be dealt with by a different department, it is often handled slowly because it is hard to handover and maintain operational focus. If the service desk handles the issue itself, the results are usually better and the user is happier because they know who is managing their ticket. To process more issues internally, EUS may need to increase its technical knowledge and reorganise itself, and become customer-centric.

An example illustrates the significance of elapsed time for the user. Some employees generate tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of business every day. If they can’t login for a day due to an IT fault, the cost of their lost business is out of all proportion to the cost of solving the IT problem. Often fixing the fault only takes ten minutes, but the employee can’t work for 24 hours. If EUS focuses upon the user, it has to find ways of removing the 23 hours and 50 minutes of delays and handovers. Keeping the issue within the service desk is one way of doing this.

Some organisations we have observed are taking an even more radical approach to reducing this elapsed time by dramatically improving self-help. To do this, they are actively trying to become more customer centric by understanding exactly what their users want and working out how to deliver this.

h2index believes that these ideas will lead to a step change in users’ experience of IT for the better. We call these improvements the “big green button” changes.

The idea is how to design self-help so that users find the solution swiftly and simply click one green button to solve the problem. For example, if a customer can’t connect to a document store (say), give them one big green button called “Connect” which does everything for them, rather than an incomprehensible list of instructions.

Simon Bennett, partner h2index: “Becoming customer centric is a new frontier for EUS managers. Over the last decade, they have mastered processes, technologies, suppliers and contracts. Continuous (small) improvements continue to happen, which is good. The basics are all in place. Now the best managers are considering “where next” and realising that the only way of improving further is to concentrate entirely on the customer.”