There’s plenty of talk about external-facing customer support, how it’s changing, and how companies are using it to gain a competitive edge. Then there’s the flip-side: internal-facing IT support. No one seems to be talking about that, yet it, too, presents a real opportunity to set your business apart.
When it comes down to it, if customers are king when it comes to the support experience, employees are often treated as mere peasants. Internal support is usually offered as a mere basic requirement, not an opportunity to delight and keep users happy.
If customers are king when it comes to the support experience, employees are often treated as mere peasants.
It makes sense to prioritize customer support, but that doesn’t mean companies should de-prioritize internal support, because outside of your company employees are customers, too. They are enjoying high levels of service and support experiences as customers every day—often in sharp contrast to the experience they receive from internal IT support back at the office.
The best-in-class support they’re experiencing as customers is changing their expectations as employees. But on the company side? IT is finding it hard to live up to these rising expectations. A recent study by IDC Research reports that:
- 22% of companies don’t have much buy-in from executives on the critical role for support
- 42% say that investments in enhanced support will be limited within their business
When internal IT teams don’t get enough support from the top, it’s the employees who feel it. Disappointing support experiences contribute to employee dissatisfaction, which can negatively impact a company’s bottom line—in much the same way as a disgruntled customer.
Think about what happens when an employee hits a technological snag. Work comes to a standstill. Employees spend an average of 22 minutes per day working through IT issues. That may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year it adds up to more than 91 hours of downtime. And that’s just one employee.
Why is this happening? The IDC survey reports that about half of the time, employees try to solve IT issues on their own or ask nearby coworkers for help. That’s a productivity killer for everyone involved, and it impacts the bottom line.
A big reason why employees avoid calling IT at the onset of encountering a technical issue is likely because they have low expectations for fast resolution. IT teams can raise the bar by applying what’s working in customer-facing support to internal-facing support, and start satisfying employees with the high-quality experiences they are encountering as customers. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Make communication easy. Efficient communication is key to efficient support. The right support tools make it easy for agents to get on the same page with the user by showing them what their user is seeing. Whether on phone, mobile, live chat or other available channels across the engagement journey, users don’t have to work as hard to convey what’s going on. Without communication breakdowns, resolutions are faster.
Personalize every interaction. Best-in-class customer support is personal. No matter the size of your organization, user personas and profiles can help you personalize support by giving you insight into who you’re supporting and what their needs are. Developing personas helps you understand groups of users based on their department, responsibilities, and workflows. Drilling down into more personalized details, user profiles for individuals puts device data and other helpful information at your agents’ fingertips during support interactions.
Let them self-serve with accuracy. Customers are quickly adopting self-service channels for fast and accurate resolutions. Likewise, employees appreciate being able to solve their issue and go on about their day. But don’t worry, you don’t have to create a matrix of self-service content on your own. The right support tools make it easy to get employee self-service off the ground by pulling data from real-time support interactions and showing you what the most frequently asked questions are, so you know where to focus your efforts on an ongoing basis. Your users can always get IT-sanctioned answers, easily.
There’s great opportunity to differentiate your business through best-in-class support. Your employees are one of your business’s most important assets, and great support experiences can increase their loyalty and productivity. Traditional support methods aren’t meeting their rising expectations, but modern support tools can.
Anand Rajaram is the Director of Products for LogMeIn’s Support Solutions. As Product Lead, he is responsible for the shaping the vision, product strategy, and overall direction for RescueAssist. Prior to LogMeIn, Anand served as the Director of Products at HubSpot, and co-founded OfficeDrop, a cloud storage solution for paper-intensive small and medium businesses.