How to Upgrade the IT Customer Experience


No one has ever said, “Oh my God, you know what I love about my company... talking to IT.

I mean, ask anyone, broach the subject of IT to people outside of IT and prepare for your fair share of eye rolls and shade being thrown, and for good reason. Our reputation, unfortunately, is that IT has never cared about what the customer thinks. It’s not accurate, but I understand where that rough reputation comes from. 

The problem is, IT measures themselves internally: How many tickets did we create, how fast did we close those tickets, how many issues happened, and how many times were those issues escalated.
And look where that got us.

To get back on top, we need to flip the table. Throw everything that we have done before out the window and start over new.
How do we improve the customer experience?

The Customer Knows

Let’s pretend to have an imaginary whiteboard in front of us. I’ll draw “IT” in big block letters on the left, and then a couple of stick figure customers on the right. In the middle, I will list the metrics traditionally used to measure an IT team’s effectiveness.

Now I’ll draw a line from IT, around all those familiar metrics in the middle, straight to the customer, and point out the obvious: if you want to know what the customer experience is- maybe ask the customer.

Ask With Customer Experience In Mind

No one wants to spend hours, even minutes, of their time, filling out surveys, so it is vital to make it quick.

For instance, QSTAC pulses (what we use to gather employee experience data) have an amazing response rate because we spent months researching and designing a tool that works on any device and only takes about 20-40 seconds to fill out. Spend more of YOUR time to save more of THEIR time, and customer experience will already shoot up.

The QSTAC method: our pulse prompts employees to rate their experience on five human, non-IT metrics. Then, based on those answers, our algorithm constructs an open ended question that will elicit the most actionable response. That work we put in making it easier to get data communicates to the employees you support: hey, I value your time, and I get how busy you are. 

Boom, that’s it. Our software will generate a score that quantifies something real. Sure, you can still get a lot of insights from traditional efficiency metrics, but never confuse metrics that tell you how you are working with metrics that tell you how that work is being received by your end users. When you go directly to the source, the customer, with a tool that tells you exactly how they perceive your IT team and how to improve going forward, that’s when data becomes actionable and when the needle moves on customer experience.

The Right Metrics Matter

We enthusiastically rely on data for every decision, because the right thing to do is often counter-intuitive. We created QSTAC because we needed data that could account for the idiosyncrasies and unique needs of every company and every employee. If you’re deciding on a metric for customer experience, you want to spend as much time as it takes to make sure your metrics are going to be impactful and transformative.

We attacked this challenge by geeking out, compiling a ton of research and running thousands of tests from the 30 most commonly used dimensions to measure satisfaction. We ran an analysis of variance (ANOVA for you statistic nerds) and came up with five easy-to-understand metrics, the acronym of which is QSTAC.

The north star metric for our customers is the QSTAC score, made up of what our research surfaced as the five unique dimensions that collectively reflect a customer’s real experience interacting with their IT team.

  1. Quality
  2. Speed
  3. Technical Knowledge
  4. Approachability
  5. Communication

The Key is Simplicity with Impact

There is no need to explain what any of these metrics mean because we don’t measure anything like, “time to resolve first contact resolution.” We measure our IT team members by how their customers perceive the quality, speed, technical knowledge, approachability, and communication skills of the IT team.

The best results come from metrics, which are simply human-- easily understood and quickly analyzed.

Final Thoughts

The reason IT has been underperforming for so many years is due to, unfortunately, a mix between stubbornness and arrogance. There is an assumption that as IT managers, we know all there is to know. 

But the truth is: You don’t know what you don’t know.

Most great IT teams have already fixed the issues they know. But the issues your customers know about that you don’t is what keeps you from being a world class team. 

The answer to innovation is not complicated. It is right there in front of you. There has been a shift in IT culture, and it is time to care for the customer’s real experience and improve it.
Do this, and your IT department will be the thing of legends.
You got this, now go make it happen!

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