By Michael Nahmias
The customer service desk exists to offer assistance and support. We are here to restore normal operational service with minimal business impact on our customers. We strive to lower wait times and raise levels of availability, incident resolution, SLA fulfillment, and customer satisfaction.
Sometimes, however, it’s worthwhile to take a break from the statistics, graphs, and KPIs to focus on the things our customers wish we would improve on.
#1. Customers wish help desk resources were easy to use.
Customers contact the service desk when they can’t find answers to their questions via self-service; however, many “How do I . . . ?” calls and tickets can be deflected to self-care channels if information is clearly made available online or in a knowledge base.
In some cases, different types of customers prefer different types of resources (text instructions, images, video). Try offering some of your most common solutions in multiple formats and track which ones are used most often (and by whom) to resolve issues.
Finally, customers need resources to be informative, user-friendly, and most importantly provided in a language that they can understand — (try not to be overly technical.).
#2. Customers prefer service desk effectiveness over efficiency.
Response times are important, but response quality is worth a lot more. Customers care less about whether you respond to their ticket in ten minutes or fifteen minutes. On the contrary, they would rather you take the extra five minutes to make sure your response conclusively solves their issue(s).
Make sure you always set expectations with your customers. For example, if you know that you will only be able to give a conclusive answer tomorrow, let your customers know. Use the time you need to effectively solve their issues and be sure to set expectations and keep your word.
Service desk personnel are encouraged, and often even rewarded, to reduce the length of time it takes to resolve issues. The current trend for service desks (and businesses in general) is toward customer-centric models. That is, taking care of your customers, in turn, takes care of your profits.
#3. Customers want you to ask for their feedback – and heed their advice.
If you want to improve customer satisfaction, ask your customers what needs improvement.
Set expectations by informing customers how long a survey will take. Make your questions as neutral as possible to get honest, helpful answers, and don’t ask too many. A normal response rate to customer satisfaction surveys is 10-15 percent. To increase your response rates, consider offering an incentive.
Conducting a survey, though, is not enough; to show your customers that their input matters, actually use their feedback to instill change.
Focus on Serving People
To summarize the lessons customers want service desk staff to learn: the key is to focus on your customers.
Create resources and organize them in a way that is usable to your customers. Having a lot of resources available shouldn’t be the goal – having available resources that are being used effectively should.
And speaking of effectiveness, remember that customers want your responses to be thorough more than they want them to be quick. Focus on effectiveness first; efficiency second. When all is said and done, it is effectiveness that leads to reduced repeat issues and greater customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction rates, of course, are important to you; but don’t forget, they are also important to your customers. So, ask customers for their feedback, use that feedback to make improvements, and, when possible, let your customers know that their suggestions helped you to improve.
Your measurable service desk results will always be important. Just make sure they don’t overshadow the people you are serving.