Executive-Level Trust: Support for VIPs


by Shanon Jones


Even though the costs and time associated with providing personalized service for desktop support can be a concern—along with dedicating staff to provide that service—personalized support is a service that can offer executives a direct line for quick response to any IT issues they may have. This type of service provides executives with knowledgeable staff members dedicated to quickly responding to any of their technology support needs. At Salt River Project (SRP), we refer to this as the “Burger King support model,” or the “have it your way” model, which allows executives to access support in the way they choose, when they choose.

At SRP, the “have it your way” support model applies to C-level executives and their administrators. Most, if not all, calls during office hours are placed an admin, with few calls coming directly from the executive. The VIP support we provide includes support for the executive in and out of the office on any type of device, including mobile technologies, or corporate application. Due to the increase in mobile technologies, support staffs for the VIPs are required to be knowledgeable on various platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows devices, and make themselves available to support these platforms remotely.

By establishing a relationship with the VIP, the technician builds trust, and this is crucial to providing a personalized service.

VIPs have demanding schedules, so they don’t have the time to call support centers and navigate through multiple tiers of support to solve a problem. For the same reasons, they require a single point of contact that is familiar with the executive and their business needs. Additionally, the VIP support staff becomes familiar with the executives and can provide expedited support due to a deep understanding of their business needs. Familiarity with the executive’s business needs promotes a level of comfort that the support technician provides when delivering personalized service. The VIP technician also interacts with all IT levels/departments and acts as the single point of contact and communication back to the VIP. By establishing a relationship with the VIP, the technician builds trust, and this is crucial to providing a personalized service.

VIPs vs. Stakeholders

In a bimodal support model, there are factors to consider when supporting VIPs versus other stakeholders within the business. The VIP support model requires more time from the technician, both to deliver a personalized service and to develop a deep understanding of how the VIP works and how he or she prefers to receive support, whether it be remote or face-to-face support.

However, the costs associated with VIP support shouldn’t prohibit a support organizaiton from providing a high level of support to other stakeholders in the business as well. Stakeholders who aren’t VIPs are encouraged to call the solution center or help desk to allow the different support tiers to provide the most cost-effective and efficient level of support. For example, it’s less expensive to solve an issue at level 1 than it is to escalate to an analyst with a higher level of compensation. These stakeholders may work their way through different support tiers based upon the complexity of the problem, and could possibly work with multiple IT support personal to solve their issues. In contrast, VIP support teams are typically comprised of more seasoned technicians who are rarely inexpensive resources.

As the Millennial and Digital Native generations begin to fill VIP positions, there will be more opportunities to provide self-help without involving a VIP technician.

The most important reason to provide personalized support to VIPs is the cost and value of their time. As the Millennial and Digital Native generations begin to fill these VIP positions, there will be more opportunities to provide self-help without involving a VIP technician. These generations are accustomed to finding solutions to their technology problems, as opposed to other generations that aren’t as technologically savvy and require a direct line to support for a face-to-face support that they desire. That said, this doesn’t mean your self-help solution shouldn’t take VIP personalization into account.

The Value of VIP Technicians

Personalized support requires tremendous dedication (for example, after-hours calls may take technicians away from their families or personal commitments), which is why it’s essential to reward and recognize those individuals who provide personalized service to an organization’s VIPs. A high degree of skill is required to fill these personalized service positions, such as exemplary customer service skills and deep technical knowledge. According to Tony Perez, VIP support technician at SRP, “to provide a personalized service, it is imperative to have great customer service skills, respect for the VIP and their position, along with prompt service. It’s important to understand that VIPs have a small time frame when they may be available for you to help, and you need to respect their busy schedule by being accommodating to it.”

The investment required to provide 24x7 personalized support for VIPs can be high, but it's worth it. @ThinkHDI
Tweet: The investment required to provide 24x7 personalized support for VIPs can be high, but it's worth it. @ThinkHDI

Indeed, while the costs associated with providing around-the-clock personalized support can be a concern, VIPs simply require a higher level of support. By providing a single point of contact and quick response from a highly skilled technician, a support organization can reduce VIP downtime and mitigate the possible negative outcomes of a VIP struggling with navigating the IT support structure. This saves the VIP stress in the short term and the company money in the long term.


Shanon Jones is the manager of desktop operations at Salt River Project, the second largest utility in Arizona. He has worked in the utility industry for twenty-eight years in various capacities. Shanon is a member of the HDI Desktop Support Forum and currently serves on the steering committee.


This article first appeared in the March/April 2015 must-read issue of SupportWorld.
Tag(s): customer satisfaction, customer service, desktop support, employee satisfaction, service desk, support center, future of support, supportworld

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