How to foster a customer-centric culture in IT support teams

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve” – Bill Gates

To create a customer-centric culture, customer facing support staff need plenty of feedback to ensure their behaviours are aligned with the culture you want to create.

Typically, the performance of Service Desk and support staff is assessed via a combination of call monitoring and metrics such as ticket closure rate and performance against SLAs. But performance feedback based on these sources doesn’t take the customer experience into account. Only your customers can judge that.

Customer feedback is therefore critical to the performance management process and critical for creating a customer-centric culture. Support staff need to understand what good looks like and feedback from customers provides clear examples of good and bad customer experiences.

Staff want this feedback. In Terry Bacon’s book ‘What People Want’, 90% of employees surveyed said they wanted honest feedback. And feedback from customers is definitely honest. When he hears it from his team lead, Stan may not accept that he’s difficult to understand on the phone. And Julie might not believe that customers find her condescending. But it’s easier to accept (and deliver) feedback when it comes from a party with no hidden agenda.

And staff need this feedback. Dan Pink, author of ‘Drive’, says “Employees are motivated at work when they make progress. But making progress or getting better at something relies on feedback”.

This is never more important than for your less competent staff. There is a rather scary phenomenon called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Put simply, relatively unskilled staff mistakenly assess their ability to be much higher than it is. Your worst support staff think they’re your best! Feedback can be used to ensure employees self-perception of their own ability is more closely aligned with reality, and from there they can grow.


Building a customer-centric culture requires that feedback is regular. Waiting for the annual performance review won’t work. This is why organisations such as GE, Microsoft, PWC and Accenture have declared that they’re moving away from annual performance reviews to more regular feedback.

If we’re to create a truly customer-focused culture we need to be honest with those who are not performing. And we need to give plenty of recognition and reinforcement to those who are. And we need to do this regularly.

CIOPulse can help you do this. It gathers customer feedback continually as support tickets are closed and automatically delivers it to team leads to use for reward, recognition and performance management.

What are you doing to provide regular, honest feedback to your IT support staff?

(If you’re looking for some great advice on how to give feedback, check this article out)


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