It is a new year, and as far as I can tell the expectations we face remain as challenging as ever and our teams must continue to be prepared for continuing change. The challenge of uncertainty and disruption remains, and our Help-Desk teams will continue to be challenged to raise the bar on performance and delivering value.
A traditional style of leadership just will not cut it. This will call on leadership to continue to raise their bar in areas such as communication, coaching, upskilling, and problem-solving, just to name a few areas.
Thinking about all we face in the new year, here are some thoughts on how you can continue preparing your Help-Desk teams to meet these challenges.
To begin with, it is crucial that you are clear in communicating what is important now and in the near future. Your people need to be gathered behind a purpose and goals must be clearly understood.
This goes beyond the goals for the year. It is understanding with clarity what the goals consist of and what they should be focusing on now, especially, as change seems to be a constant. They should feel the ownership of these goals and be able to act in a self-sufficient manner. Not only should you be reinforcing this, but also you need to be clear on their progress. It is important that you and the team be agile and able to address changes within your customer base, and to resolve issues that are uncovered.
Priorities will change frequently. Your Help-Desk team needs to understand this and be kept apprised. The Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) worlds are continually evolving. Regardless, being quick to respond and being able to deliver value is what you must have the team prepared to do. Transparency and powerful communication efforts are key to your success.
Next, and I have spoken about this before, create an environment of success for your Help Desk teams. This one allows them to collaborate and build strong relationships and, as Scott Blanchard, President of Ken Blanchard Companies, points out, “be connected to the purpose of what is expected of them”. You need to be transparent with the expectations, providing them with reasonable and focused short and long-term goals.
Then carry this further by empowering them with the tools that facilitate a blending of team members, whether in the office, working remotely, or both. Make sure you do not forget the basics - the “3-legged stool” of people, processes, and technology.
I have always been a fan of Ritz Carlton and the way they work with customers. The company grew under the leadership of President and COO Horst Schulze. Schulze instituted a company-wide concentration on both the personal and the data-driven sides of service: He coined the company's well-known customer/employee-centered motto, "We are Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen," as well as the set of specific service values (standards) on which The Ritz-Carlton employees-based service through the present day. The best way to keep your guests coming back, says Schulze, is to be excellent. In order to inculcate excellence as the core value at Ritz-Carlton, Schulze created his “20 Non-negotiable Points,” which include going that extra mile for guests who ask for directions, inquiring about their satisfaction with their stay, listening to their complaints, apologizing about those complaints, and fixing the problem.
What are your ”non-negotiable points” and how well does your Help-Desk team understand them and put them to work? Defining and working on these will define your Customer Success culture and lead to a unified team. Will your Help-Desk team be with you as you guide them to deliver more value to their customers in 2023?
Dennis Gershowitz, an HDI 2023 Featured Contributor, is Principal at DGAssociates