by Ben Brennan
Date Published March 19, 2020 - Last Updated September 2, 2020

It’s a new year. It’s a new decade. It’s a new industry. When people change, as our end users have, we have to evolve as well. This wave of change hit the consumer industry hard in the 2010s. Some, like Netflix, realized that today’s consumers care about the experience as much or more than the product itself. They listened to their customers about their preference for streaming, admitting in 2011 with an infamously public announcement from the company’s CEO that they had guessed wrong about the experience customers wanted:

"I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation. It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology."

The market responded positively to Netflix focusing on customer experience rather than industry tradition with a steep rise in the Netflix stock price.

The taxi industry didn’t respond at all to this new demand for a great customer experience. Let’s see how they did in the last decade:

taxi, ride hailing apps, service desk

The graph tells a very convincing story. Life these days is busy, stressful, and full of distraction, beeps, push notifications, and technology issues. We are the industry in charge of helping today’s workforce, and our customers, end users, whatever you want to call them, have been very patient with us over the last decade. But that patience will not last. It’s time for us to raise the bar for customer experience in IT support. Here are the new rules for ITSM in 2020.

1. Innovation Centers Are the New Cost Centers

Operating as a cost center is a losing battle. Call centers in the Philippines are so cheap now that even companies in India are outsourcing to that region. The growth of AI and Natural Language Processing means soon bots will be doing your job for free. You’re never going to be cheaper than those two services. Not even close. But innovation provided from an inspired co-worker, an equal who shares the company’s mission, however, is something uniquely human that cannot be outsourced.

2. CSAT Is Over

If you’re thinking in terms of “satisfying” your customers, rather than surprising, delighting and blowing their minds with your service, you’re doing it wrong. Learn from the taxi industry. Amazing is the new good. Satisfied is the new awful.

Amazing is the new good. Satisfied is the new awful.
Tweet: Amazing is the new good. Satisfied is the new awful. @why @ThinkHDI #custserv #CX #servicedesk #SupportWorld

3. Design Thinking Is the New ITIL

ITIL is…well, I don’t want to get anyone upset but let’s just say that the most progressive and customer-delighting teams in the industry have moved on from it. Design thinking, however, is how almost every product that you love was created, and its concepts like getting feedback early and often, and involving your end users early on at the beginning of your strategy development are quite a departure from ITIL. Food for thought. Don’t @ me.

4. “Absolutely!” Is the New “No”

IT has been nick-named the department of no for decades. If you’ve never heard that, that likely means no one brought it up because they didn’t want you to say no to anything else out of spite. In 2020, our job is to increase productivity, not block it. If you’re saying no to something, without giving them something that makes them even more productive, then get ready for some shadow IT. It would be irresponsible for the business to let another department, even IT, prevent them from doing what they need to succeed at their job.

5. Shadow IT Is Awesome

Rather than chasing and shutting down shadow IT, you should be thrilled that your users have revealed a new need you weren’t providing. This is an opportunity to get better at our own job, not get mad because they want to be better at theirs.

6. Proactive Fixes Are the New Troubleshooting

While it’s great when IT can fix a malfunctioning laptop, what’s really awesome is when IT uses its device management to know a problem is happening before the end user does, saving a trip to IT altogether. While pushing notifications isn’t always a great experience, if your device management system detects a JavaScript loop on a webpage that’s overclocking the CPU and sends the message “Hi, there’s a tab open in Chrome that’s about to crash your computer; click here to close that tab before it does,” you’ve just saved everyone involved a lot of work.

7. One Metric to Rule Them All

Running IT can be complicated and time consuming. Here’s a trick to save time and simplify your organization. Rather than looking at 20 metrics to determine how well you’re doing at providing IT support, how about you just go straight to the source and let your customers tell you exactly how you’re doing. If you have an accurate, reliable way to measure customer experience, and that customer experience is great, guess what, you’re killing it. Metrics like first touch resolution are interesting, but they have zero correlation to customer experience. Use CX as your #1 metric and everything else will fall into place.

8. Don’t Design Your Service for Your Customers; Design It with Them

The next time you plan to roll out a new service, platform, or tool, do the following. Have 1% of your users involved in the design, 5% involved in feature prioritization and configuration, and 10% involved in testing and giving feedback before the launch. I bet you dollars to doughnuts that it’ll be one of the best rollouts you’ve ever done.

9. Measure (Only) What Matters

Revisit every metric you’re tracking. If it doesn’t result, directly or indirectly, in a better user experience, throw that metric out, even if your boss loves it. Clean up your dashboard Marie Kondo style, and what’s left over will tell a much clearer narrative and save you from data fatigue and costly mistakes. I knew an IT team that spent a year building this massive dashboard that was so busy and feature loaded that less than 1% of the team used it after the initial launch. Less is more, or your brain will rebel, and that bookmark will be replaced by a link to cat videos or Oprah gifs.

10. Embrace Emerging Technologies

Low code apps, augmented reality, and natural language processing offer us plenty of opportunities to revolutionize IT’s role in the corporate structure.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think of the new rules. This is our year, our time to shine. Let’s embrace the change and not just survive the revolution but lead the charge.

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Ben Brennan is the founder of QSTAC, Inc. and the author of Badass IT Support . His irreverent style, sincere passion, and contagious enthusiasm for customer-centric IT has proven a powerful combination. The result has been a decade of awards, accolades, and best-in-industry customer experience benchmarks for his IT teams at Twitter, Box, Yahoo, and most recently Verizon Media, where he was Senior IT Director. Now, with his new company QSTAC, Ben is taking the same proprietary tools and methods that fueled those previous successes and making them available to all, empowering any team to define, measure, and deliver a world-class customer experience. Follow him on Twitter @why .

Tag(s): supportworld, customer experience, technology, ITSM, service management, coronavirus


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