The cornerstone of successful IT support is communication
If your task is to provide IT support to your customers – and it does not matter whether we are talking about your colleagues from the business divisions or you provide support to your customers as an IT supplier – here are six tips how you can be more successful in this endeavor.
1. Sharing information with your customers
What to share? How often? What is the best option: an email, a call or a meeting face to face?
Every customer expects and needs a different amount of information. You need feedback from the customer
The answers to these questions are different for each customer, because every customer expects and needs a different amount of information. It is important that your customers have enough information to trust your work and that your intentions are in their best interest.
We have learned from our experience that it is crucial to establish a regular contact between a project manager and a customer where they discuss the current requirements and set the future direction of support. An indispensable part of this meeting is also getting a feedback from the customer.
After all, how could we provide a productive service without any feedback?
2. Every contact with customers is important
Do not underestimate any form of communication with your customers.
I consider it a standard that every member of the support team in contact with customers must know the rules for email and phone communication.
But what about the other communication channels? Make sure that your support team understands the importance of ALL communication.
There is an obvious difference if your customer, who is trying to get through to you, receives an SMS which reads as follows:
„Not now. I´ll call you.“
„Hello, I am in a meeting. I will call you when it is over. Thank you, Lucie“
Which one would you prefer?
I definitely prefer the second one.
- Increase information sharing with customers
- Improving communication.
- Better relationship with customer
3. Constantly improve information sharing process in the team.
I consider functional information and knowledge transfer as one of the most important conditions for the successful support.
Not only that it involves the transmission and storage of information, but it strengthens team cooperation, which is invaluable e.g. in case of detecting the cause of the problem.
Next to regular team meetings and e-mail communication we use the Sharepoint Wiki, which is available to all members from anywhere and without the need for special applications or tools.
4. Does your team understand what you want from it?
Most managers know what they want from their people. They just don´t bother to tell them in a way that they understand.
They assume they should know it.
My advice is: “Do not assume – check it out.”
When assigning tasks, it is necessary to make sure they were understood by all parties, that everyone knows how good job looks like and what they are responsible for.
Do you know what a confirmation bias is? It is the tendency of people to primarily look for confirmation of what they think is right. This is one of the enemies in defining goals.
When assigning tasks, it is necessary to make sure they were understood by all parties.
And how to confirm that you are “on the same wave”?
Leave the question “Do you understand?” aside. It´s not very suitable, because people tend to nod, even though they don´t understand. Rather ask something like “What do you do first?”
Do you understand?
Don´t lose the fun from the game!
5. The option to gain knowledge and use it in practice.
IT world is changing at such a rate that a company, which doesn´t allow its employees to get new information, starts balancing on the thin line very soon.
Treat your employees to regular trainings, conferences, workshops or at least webinars.
And not only that, let them choose the trainings that interest them.
Thanks to this they will be happier and will spread useful information to other members of the team.
A few months ago we sent two team members to a conference in the United States and I believe it brought them much fun from the game.
6. Feedback on the first place.
It is understandable that positive feedback from customers is pleasing and motivates to further work.
It is, however, important to appreciate negative feedback as well.
Negative feedback means that the customer wants to do something with the current situation – wants to change it. It means won´t let their discontent quietly grow and one day they leave you without a word.
That is why you should take negative feedback as a source of valuable recommendations and should always respond in adequate time. The sooner you respond to it, the less the negative can take root in their mind.
And what certainly not to do? Do not leave it fizzle out…
Lucie Šimková, works as a Project Manager in the company Blue Dynamic.