IT-customer-service-blue-mountainIMAGINE THIS: It’s 3 PM on Thursday, and you are putting the final touches on an executive proposal that is due on Friday morning. In the middle of gathering statistical data, your PC stops working. Now you have to call the Help Desk. How confident are you in your IT Support team’s ability to solve your issue?

For any agency, organization, or corporate entity, providing a top-notch IT support experience each and every time should be a priority. In today’s competitive market, customer satisfaction is key to staying ahead of the competition.

According to a recent Forrester survey, time is the most valued commodity, with 71% expressing that it [time] is the most important element in providing them with good service. With this in mind, one must understand the technical support experience from the user’s point of view.

What factors can make the IT support experience better for Federal customers?

Here are 10 things to consider:

10 Things Federal Customers Want from an IT Support Experience

1. Start Off On The Right Foot

When clients reach out to IT Support for help, they are often pressed for time and may even be a little frustrated. Therefore, they expect their issue to be resolved in timely manner, without being put on hold, waiting for long stretches of time, being transferred, or having to call back later about the same issue. Understanding this at the onset of the support call can make things easier for all involved. If done properly, the client will feel that she or he has been treated well, and potential for repeat business is sure to follow.

2. Respect the Customer’s Position

Whether internally or externally located, Federal customers are your clients and should be treated accordingly. A positive experience with IT Support will go a long way in cementing IT’s reputation within the organization. In order to provide excellent technical support, it is important to remember that customers expect a personalized experience and should receive the respect they deserve. At Blue Mountain, staff possess significant agency business knowledge. This helps us to better understand users when they explain their issues, as well as the urgency of user problems and how best to solve them.

3. Identify the Problem at Hand

Clients want to know that their IT Support issue will be taken seriously. Listening is an acquired skill, and failure to do so will cause an unpleasant experience for your client. Whether it’s a simple task involving a password reset or something more complicated like a virus scan and removal, treat each call with respect and professionalism so that the client feels heard. Clients are individuals and do not want to hear a “canned” response concocted for the masses. Take time to understand the business, listen and address your client’s individual concerns for the best experience and a prompt resolution.

4. Make It Quick

More than likely, your client’s issue is urgent in nature and is holding up his/her productivity. A major complaint regarding technical support is that it takes too long to resolve issues.  If the client’s past experience had been that it took 2-3 days to resolve issues, the expectation is that history will repeat itself. Anything that you can do to mitigate these circumstances through listening and understanding your client’s concerns will help get a speedy resolution so that your client can get back to work. If a problem will take some time to resolve, it’s best to set expectations, rather than leaving the call and making the user wait.


5. Make It Easy

Time is of the essence, and your client’s time is valuable. Therefore, providing a quick and easy avenue in which to contact the Help Desk will be appreciated. If your team uses a tier system, make sure that the initial screener is trained well enough to be able to understand the client’s issue so that he/she is routed to the proper Help Desk technician in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating than having to be bounced around from place to place when there is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed.

6. Know Your Product

Frustrations arise when one reaches out for help in a crisis, only to find out that the expert cannot help. Consequently, knowing your systems inside and out is crucial so that you can assist customers when they run into problems. If you do not know the answer to something, say so, but be willing to find out the answer or locate another technician with that expertise. Keeping customer frustrations to a minimum is key to a successful experience.

7. Have Patience

Put yourself in your client’s shoes and proceed with professionalism and patience. Not only is it important to those who reach out to support when they are confused and frustrated, but it’s also important to your IT department’s reputation.

8. Just the Facts – Less is More

In a crisis, most people do not want to be bombarded with a lot of “techno babble”–they just the want issue at hand resolved. Therefore, it is important to understand the business, assess the situation and articulate an explanation in terms that the client can understand. Keep explanations basic and simple, imparting important information as needed. If your client has questions, answer them quickly in language that he or she can understand. If further explanation is needed, take the time to clarify details. You want your client to come away from the experience with total confidence that they understand what has transpired, knowing that their issue will be resolved in a timely manner.

9. Be Proactive – Prevent Future Issues

Productivity is key in the eyes of your client. Therefore, they want to handle matters themselves and contact the Help Desk only when needed. If, during the interaction with your client, an opportunity presents itself to impart advice or explain how systems work so that a future issue is avoided, do so. It will be much appreciated and will boost your client’s confidence in your ability to help next time. As a second level support team to the Help Desk and where practical, Blue Mountain staff submit support answer explanations to the Help Desk staff, in order that they may use those procedures in future to solve similar problems.

10. Improve Their Experience

Allowing your client to give suggestions and provide feedback (good and bad) on their experiences is a necessity for any Help Desk team. Take their suggestions and criticisms into consideration and use this information to your advantage when making improvements to your systems. Take time to review processes periodically and train staff accordingly. Look into self-service and automated options, if your client’s needs warrant them. Anything that can be done to improve the experience should be considered. Those who seek to continuously improve what they do are more successful in the long run, especially when improvements tie into customer satisfaction.

The ultimate goal for the Help Desk team is to provide superior service each and every time. This may involve going above and beyond the call of duty and giving more than expected to meet the needs of your clients. Imparting a great work ethic and a promoting a helpful culture amongst Help Desk support staff will be a win-win for all involved. Your Help Desk will truly be a place to seek assistance, rather than a place of resistance.


ENTERPRISE SERVICES & STRATEGIC SUPPORT: Call Blue Mountain Data Systems Inc for Help Desk Support Services for Tier 2 and Tier 3 703-502-3416


10 Things Federal Customers Want from an IT Support Experience

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