The main purpose of a business is to serve its customers. It does not ,matter if your a geek or IT expert. As much as you work on the back-end of the applications and technologies used by customers, when it comes to business they will expect you to serve them on time. Serving the needs of customers extends beyond just providing products and services. It also includes providing perfect service to the customers, which occurs at the customer’s moment of value.
Customer moment of value can be defined as providing service When the customer wants it ( time ) , Where the customer wants it (location) , How the customer wants it (form) and In a manner guaranteed to satisfy the customer (perfect delivery). If IT experts want to succeed in business they have to master these three characteristics of customer moment of value – time, location, and form. Many technology based companies like Amazon.com have succeeded because they know how to implement those three aspects.
Now days, you will find programmers and software engineers operating successful companies, these IT experts have taken off time to understand customer needs. Even though you’re the best in programming but worst in Customer service, your career will not succeed. It is very essential to know what your clients need, because those will be your lifetime bosses.
Ways to Meet Your Customers Expectations:
In reality, businesses have many sets of customers and all these customers have different expectations. Consider an online tech company like ”Facebook” It has customers who want to use its platform (users) , it has financial institutions and investors who have invested money with aim of making profits, It has government institutions agencies that regulate certain aspects of its business. These are all “customers” expecting to be served.
In such a situation, you will need to define the needs of each customer and make sure each of them gets what they want in time. (1) Users must get the service on time (2) Investors must get ROI as promised (3) Government agencies should get relevant information as requested on time.
As an IT expert, you must know what people need, many organizations pump a lot of money in IT infrastructures, they build the best applications to capture user data and information which can be used to make money for the organization. But they forget to listen to what their customers need. A good example can be MYSPACE.COM, this was one of the first social networks which had millions of users, they invested money in creating a wonderful platform, but they failed to listen to their customers (users) and at last they lost the battle of social networking to FACEBOOK.com which listens to all of its customers ( Users , Investors and Government agencies )
Below are detailed points on how to Improve Customer Service in IT Departments:
- Identify Your Customers: As we have seen in the example above, you will need to know who your customers are and also define their expectations. Use platforms like social networks and get feed back from your customers, many of these customers are using these networks to voice out their concerns and needs. So as an IT expert, you will need to get information which is relevant to your business and use it to improve customer service in your business. Most of the complaints might be on functionality of your product, so as an IT expert, you will know what to fix on the back-end so that users can enjoy your product in real-time. A great example is ”FACEBOOK ” during its early stage, the social network did not have a mobile App, yet most of its users where accessing it via mobile phones, they later created a mobile app which could allow users easily interact with friends via their mobile phones. Again they faced another obstacle, most of their users where diverting to Facebook Mobile and they were neglecting the desktop version which was the only money stream for Facebook, when ”Investors” questioned on how they will increase on their RIO, FACEBOOK started testing sponsored posts which could be seen on mobile phones and it increased on its quarterly earnings, this was a positive reply to the investors. So in this example, you can see that ”FACEBOOK” identified the needs of both its customers (1) Users (2) Investors, and they listened very well to them and took immediate actions.
As an IT department, this is exactly what you have to do. Know who you’re serving, identify their needs and respond on time.
- Provide quality service or product: Nothing wins customer trust like a well tailored service or product. One of the best ways IT Departments can serve clients is by tailoring best services and products for their target market. The best way to tailor a product or service is by talking to your customers through surveys and promotions. Find out what they feel and let them tell you want they would wish to have. This explains why most Information Technology based businesses start in Beta versions, they come on the market knowing that they need to tailor the product basing on users interest, so they come in a beta closed version which is in most cases invitation based. These companies will provide feedback forms to early adopters so that they get information on how to improve their service or product.
- Follow up users and get feedback: Now that your have tailored the product or service basing on what your customer’s needs. Take an extra step to follow them up and get feedback. The best way to do this is by use of electronic mail surveys and social networks. On networks like facebook, businesses can create product / customer service pages, on this page , customers will post any thing they want, it could be an a appreciation of the service or a suggestion , or a notice of failure in functionality of your service. I have seen companies like ZAPPOS.COM using their page to collect feedback and they use this data to improve on their customer service.