4 reasons why you should do IT customer satisfaction surveys

From a decade of IT service improvement consulting, I’ve discovered one practice that reliably leads to real, measurable improvements to IT customer satisfaction. And for such little cost and effort, you’d be crazy not to do it. The lowly IT customer satisfaction survey, issued when a ticket is closed.

Don’t expect results if you just turn on the surveying module in your support tool though. You won’t improve service, make the business any more productive, or improve IT’s reputation. Doing transactional IT surveys well requires a little more effort than that. The survey is just a cost-effective means to getting customer feedback – it’s what you do with it that counts.

So why go to the effort of surveying your customers at all?

benefits-of-it-customer-surveys

1. The Service Recovery Paradox

When a customer has a poor support experience, their feedback gives you a chance to turn that experience into a positive one. By acknowledging their issue, apologising and taking steps to rectify it, you benefit from a well researched phenomena called the Service Recovery Paradox. The customer becomes more satisfied than if no problem had occurred.

And even if the Service Recovery Paradox ‘wasn’t a thing’, you still have the opportunity to addresss a complaint before it festers and impacts IT’s reputation. When issues keep going unresolved, customers just stop calling the Service Desk. Incident/request volumes decline for all the wrong reasons.

Getting timely feedback also gives you the chance to deal with an issue before it is escalated. Escalations often just waste the time of managers who aren’t going to add any value to the resolution.

2. Performance management

By sharing and discussing customer feedback at team meetings, team members get a good understanding of the behaviours that drive customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction. And sharing positive customer feedback is a great way to help the team feel appreciated.

Customer feedback can also be used when coaching individual support team members. Feedback provides real life examples of when their actions have led to positive and negative customer experiences.

And when customer satisfaction is measured for individual support teams, measurable goals can be set. the performance of support teams (including those that are outsourced) can be compared to each other, and teams who most need help identified.

3. Free consulting

Customer feedback is like free consulting. When you ask your customers the right question (like “What’s the number one thing we could do to improve?”), they’re giving you free advice. Ignore it at your peril and watch your survey response rates drop.

By reading all verbatim feedback and using it to identify themes, you can determine what improvement initiatives to include in your improvement plans. You can also identify systemic reasons for positive customer experiences.

If you’re serious about improving IT customer satisfaction, using customer feedback to identify improvement initiatives is a far more effective approach than relying on gut feel or process maturity assessments.

4. Did that make things better or worse?

In the words of the quality guru H James Harrington,

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

Surveying customers and asking them for a rating enables you to calculate a measure of customer satisfaction. You can then monitor your score and see how it changes over time. Are things getting better or worse?

You can also keep a close eye on it when you make a change that may impact the customer support experience. Did the customer portal upgrade make customers more satisfied? What was the impact of reducing Service Desk hours?

5. Small steps to big improvements

The two most significant and fastest improvements I’ve seen to IT customer satisfaction did not come from intensive consulting engagements. They came from clients who used customer feedback to drive incremental improvements to IT support. And the very first improvements you can make are easy – start calling back unhappy customers and sharing feedback with support team members.

88% of my clients who have introduced transactional surveys have measureably improved IT customer satisfaction. The biggest improvement I’ve seen is a 40% improvement in customer satisfaction with IT support in just six months. I’ve also seen a 25% increase in overall satisfaction with IT (not just IT support) within six months.

Customer satisfaction is the ultimate outcome of your endeavors. When you improve it, you’re improving business productivity and IT’s reputation. Transactional IT surveys – when done well – are simply the most efficient way I know of increasing IT customer satisfaction.

 

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