Measure the Customer Experience in Desktop Support


by Deborah Monroe
March 6, 2018

I have always had the heart of a desktop technician. Anyone who does realizes that all we really want is to be known as heroes.

We will come into your space, sit down at your desk, look and think quizzically as we maneuver around the keyboard with lightning confidence and speed. We will fix the problem, look at you with a smile, and then quietly leave, only to be caught by another bystander in the hall who desperately needs our help with a printer or some other frightfully broken piece of IT equipment. We, in the desktop world salute our customers for keeping us busy with never a minute of peace to ourselves.

Let’s face it…we are the kings and queens of IT!  For, without us, new employees would sit at a desk blindly looking around with nothing to do; departments that move would be unpacking files and books with no way to get their email. We test applications to make sure they integrate with existing software. We find the root of all the problems customers face. We stand to attention and whisk ourselves to the next location of a drowning user. We are desktop support!

In recent years, the worst thing has happened to us. Our bosses want numbers!  They want to know what we are doing. They want us to quantify our work and explain why we need to exist. What? That type of stuff is for the help desk, level 1…not us!  We are the break/fix team. Do we really need to prove why they need us?

Umm…yes!

Deborah shared her insights on what to measure at HDI 2018.
Learn more!

Why Measure?

Yes, times are changing, and metrics are a part of that change in our environment. First let’s look at what metrics are used for. According to ITIL v3, metrics have four purposes:

  • Validation. Measuring the results of changes or decisions
  • Direction. Measuring activities to ensure that targets are met
  • Justification. Providing factual evidence that something needs to be done
  • Intervention. Identifying when a change or corrective action is necessary

Now that we have that sorted out, what is it that you are measuring and why? Can you go through the metrics, both Performance Indicators and Key Performance Indicators and attach one of those purposes to each one? And how do we measure the customer experience?

One of the greatest challenges we have with measuring the customer experience in desktop support is that we have not done it! We have typically left this up to the support center to send out the customer satisfaction surveys.

Another challenge is that a standard return rate of customer satisfaction surveys is very low, averaging about 10–17% with those that I have worked with over the past five years.

Since we usually don’t measure customer satisfaction in desktop support alone, how can we justify that we are doing a good or great job? Here are a few ideas:

  • Associate your returns with your tickets or assigned group. This is miserable and difficult.
  • Coach your technicians to leave a survey open on the computer they were working on with instructions for the customer before they leave the customer’s desk. This is more likely to work.
  • Make desktop services a choice on the survey that is sent out by level 1. This is easy to do in most survey environments.

What ever approach you take, take ONE!  It doesn’t matter how you get the measurements; it matters that you measure!

What the Customer Wants

Once we figure out how to measure our service, we have to establish what is important to Joe and Julie, the customer. Does Customer Joe/Julie care about the number of service requests we have per day? Probably not. What he/she does care about is how fast we get the new laptop out after the last one failed.

Customers really don’t care if the utilization of the knowledge base is up!
Tweet: Customers really don’t care if the utilization of the knowledge base is up! @ThinkHDI #desktopsupport #csat

The customer cares about things like the technicians being nice, believing them when they have a problem. The customer wants to feel like he/she is not putting the technician “out” and that the technician wants to help. Customers really don’t care if the utilization of the knowledge base is up! And that is because they don’t understand that aspect as we do. This is what our customers want:

  • To feel heard and understood
  • To feel respected
  • To have someone who knows what they are doing work with them
  • To ultimately have the issue repaired in a timely fashion

What Drives Satisfaction

According to Roy Atkinson, Senior Writer/Analyst for HDI, with an expertise in desktop support and using data from HDI’s 2016 Technical Support Practices & Salary Report, “Organizations that have satisfied employees; their customer satisfaction was on average 5% higher than others. The adage that happy employees make happy customers is true!”

What? Most people think that customer satisfaction is the ultimate lagging indicator (or result) of all their hard work. It is NOT. Employee satisfaction takes the number-one role here.

Engaged and energized employees are the factors that influence everything else that is in a working environment:  

If employees feel they have real power to address problems when they see them and they’re given the necessary tools to take action, they’re more likely to make customer focus an integral part of their routine. What’s more, they’ll probably be happier, more productive, and valuable workers.—Anne Field, Harvard Business Review

What can you do to influence the outcomes of your metrics and increase both your customer and employee satisfaction?

  1. Ensure that your technicians are masterful
  2. Coach them on the standard operating procedures and expectations
  3. Assist them in managing priorities
  4. Get to know what is important to them and/or what motivates them
  5. Become a manger who removes interference and makes an open highway for your technicians to do their jobs well

Employee satisfaction has largely been an HR-driven measurement once a year (if that). Thereafter, the results may get to the managers within 3–4 months. By that time, engagement and morale can be affected as a negative effect.

What is any company’s largest asset? Where does all the money go? Yes, people!  If that is the case, why are we not measuring this attribute of people more regularly than once a year? This is the ROOT of all the other metrics that we are blindly measuring hourly. Yet, it has last place on our measurement meter. I think the reason we have not measured this is that we have not known how or thought it was okay for us to do ourselves (without HR approval). It is okay to do and it is easy. We just need to know what to measure when it comes to our people.

Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of your clients.—Richard Branson

Lead with Metrics

In the end, your metrics reflect what type of manager you are to your people; those, in turn, reflect what type of leader you are. A manager is a role that concerns operations. To be called a leader, one has to earn that title every day you walk through the doors of the office. You and your employees are the key to your successful metrics and great customer satisfaction. Now all we have to do is measure it in order to manage it! 


Deborah Monroe is one of eighteen Master EQ practitioners in the world, through the Global EQ Community of 6 Seconds. She's also an associate with the Institute for Organizational Performance and an HDI business associate. Working with all levels of executive leadership, management, and individual contributors, Deborah concentrates on integrating humans and process to create a balanced working environment. Her aim is to build understanding and empathy, creating a positive bottom line through employee and customer retention.


Tag(s): supportworld, workforce enablement, customer service, customer experience, customer satisfaction, metrics and measurements

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