Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Good Service Template

Funny thing about service - good service generally looks the same no matter where you approach it from. IT is not the first sector to approach the challenge of providing good service! I've had the disadvantage (or some might claim advantage) of learning the art of IT service through trial and error and the school of hard knocks.

I've lived through lost data, angry customers, irate phone calls, ten 1hr onsite service calls in one 8hr day, unreasonable expectations, small business, medium business, enterprise. Service ain't easy, and it's even harder under pressure. Everywhere I've been, and in every job I've done its been remarkable how good service never changes.

Here's the template:
  • Make yourself available to provide service
  • Interact plesantly with the service consumer
  • Listen to the consumer
  • Demonstrate that you've been listening
  • Paraphrase or restate the problem to verify understanding
  • Create plan for providing service or resolving problem
  • Communicate plan to consumer
  • Follow through with plan
  • Communicate with consumer upon plan completion
  • Follow up with consumer later
Managing service is an even larger thing, of course. You need frameworks and procedures to be able to pull the disparate disciplines of IT together into a manageable package. When you have MBAs with no IT experience and IT types with no management experience trying to heard the cats a framework helps keep everyone sane and on the same page.

I love to talk about service in IT. It's a fun topic because in our young industry is continually waking up to the fact that there are other people around us and that we are a part of a larger organization called a "business" or a "corporation".

Talking about service also helps IT/IS remember that we are dealing with PEOPLE not gadgets. People are the most important part and if you're going to be working in a SERVICE sector job you have to live that mentality.