Dear customer, please ask your IT Team these 5 questions

I’ve heard you complain so much about the IT team, dear customer, so I’m writing this blog for you. Yes, I’m talking to you!

You say they don’t understand what’s going on.
You say they can’t prioritize.
You say they don’t get the business impact.
You say they operate in a silo.

My question to you is: what have you done to help the cause?

Here is something you can do. I’ve compiled 5 questions along with why you should ask them to your IT team. Once you’re done reading this blog, please walk up to that friendly IT person and ask them these questions. Hopefully, it’ll get them to think and start changing their behavior.

“Do you have a business orientation for new members of the IT team?”

Ask them about how they onboard new members on to their team. I can bet it involves a lot of technical training and a crash course on “How to reset passwords with your eyes closed”.

If a business orientation is not part of their onboarding plan, offer help. Help them design a 2-week business orientation program where new members get to sit with every team and learn their function.

Everyone in the IT team (in all teams, actually) should know what the organization goals are. They should know the business model, competitive intel, sales numbers, marketing strategy and P & L at a functional level. Knowing how the business operates will really help IT team make better decisions.

We’re moving towards a world where technology can solve problems that you thought were impossible to solve. If the most tech-savvy team in your company don’t know the problems your organization is facing, how do you expect to solve those problems using technology?

“Are your KPIs aligned with the organization KPIs?”

Ask them what their KPIs are and help them figure out if those are aligned with the organizational KPIs. They’re probably measuring metrics like First Call Resolution, Average Uptime and Number of Incidents resolved etc. While they’re all good metrics to measure, they may not drive the behavior you want to drive.

Measuring the right KPIs will help the entire IT team align towards a single goal. If your organizational goal is to increase revenue numbers by 30%, then IT teams need to align themselves to contribute to that goal. It could mean a project to identify a new CRM or integrate with the support software to help customer support identify cross-sell opportunities.

“Are your IT leaders taking Gemba walks?”

Gemba is a Japanese word meaning “the actual place”. A gemba walk is when a leader takes time to visit a place where actual work happens. The purpose of a gemba walk is to gather information that would otherwise not reach you.

Ask your IT team if their leaders (or members) take time to actually visit other parts of the office to observe different teams in their natural habitat. Gemba walks are extremely useful for IT teams as they’ll immediately pick up on the most impactful problems which would never be raised as tickets! This is also a great chance to collaborate with your co-workers and help them identify tech solutions for their business problems.

“Do you have a marketing person within your IT team?”

This may look like a very weird question to ask, at first. I moved from IT to marketing and I’m starting to realize how marketing skills like copywriting, video editing and blogging would really help the IT team.

Ask them this question and explain to them that their efforts and results are not showcased to the entire world. A marketing person excels at making sure the entire world knows about their company’s success and IT teams need that. Marketing skills can also help simplify the language on the knowledge base articles, help the service desk write more engaging emails and also create visual content like posters, videos and GIFs to promote new features.

How many times have you felt that the new ‘update’ email from the IT team was incomprehensible? A marketing person will help articulate the value of the new update and ensure that you, the customer, make use of it fully.

“Do you practice Selfless Service?”

Okay, this is more of a personal plug. I’ve been calling for this mindset change for about 2 years now. IT teams need to evolve beyond self-service to what I’m calling “Selfless Service”

Imagine this, dear customer, what do you usually do when you face an IT issue? You stop what you’re working on, look through your notes or inbox to find that one self-service portal link and try to raise an issue. You’ve probably forgotten the ID or password. If you do manage to log in, you’re struggling so hard to articulate the issue and struggling harder to pick the right “Impact” and “Urgency”. You never understood the difference anyway.

incident-form-help-text

Ask your IT teams to practice selfless service, a mindset change that customer support teams have already adopted. How would you feel if Uber asks you to log into a browser to raise an issue with them? IT teams need to move to a state where they can help their customers right where they are and not expect them to come to a portal. They should integrate where you are – could be Slack, Hangouts, Yammer or Workplace.

integrate-service-desk

Thank you so much for reading through, dear customer. As much as I love the IT team, I really think they could use some external nudging. Now that you’re done with the blog, will you please ask them these 5 questions?

I would love to hear their response!

Design credits – Srinivasan Dhotre