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Building a client-focused IT culture

Lou Markstrom, professional development specialist at DDLS | May 23, 2014
Three key elements that you need to consider when adopting a service mindset

2. Make every interaction count

This mindset focuses on the daily interactions that IT has with both business clients and IT peers. You need to recognise that every interaction and impression counts. These are the 'Moments of Truth'.

This term was first conceptualised by service management guru Richard Norman and then popularised by Jan Carlzon, a renowned turnaround artist who wrote a book with that title.

In a typical organisation, hundreds or thousands of these moments take place every day. The first voice they hear at the help desk, the first link they click on the IT Website, the email they receive from IT, every time they encounter a member of the IT staff in the hallway or the lift.

If you think about it, if any member of your team was riding in the lift this morning with the CEO, would you be confident and secure in the interaction that would take place?

Or do you have certain team members who cause your heart to jump into your throat when you think of this scenario?

All these moments can work to IT's benefit or detriment. If you map out all the moments of truth that clients experience with the IT organisation and assess what their experience is like through those interactions, you'll have a good idea of your organisation's level of service and where it needs to improve.

This can range from the tone of your voice and body language to a much broader scale, like revamping all your forms or streamlining your Website interface.

3. Developing a 'we' mentality

Developing an IT service culture is not an individual effort. A team mentality is important because a service-oriented culture requires consistency with all team members. No matter who a client interacts with, they need to experience the same positive attitude and have the same positive experience.

Consistency is also important for developing long term trusted advisor relationships with business clients.

Clients will increase their loyalty to an internal IT team, when all the experiences they have with IT team members are positive ones.

It's time that IT gets rid of the all too common 'us versus them' mentality toward the business which suggests a separation at best and a combative relationship at worst.

IT organisations must realise that they and the business are part of the same whole, the very reason they want to provide excellent service is that they're working with their business counterparts to achieve a common goal.

The development of a service process is a continuing strategy, a method, and a mindset. It is not a result. With every day, every moment, and every interaction between IT and its clients, impressions are formed for better or for worse.

It is these impressions that will determine the level of hospitality that your clients feel and are critical to the creation of long-term client loyalty. It is service that will raise your IT department above commodity status.

 

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