IT + Customer Service = A Necessary Thing!
I come from a business management background, mostly in the customer service/retail space so when I made the transition to the IT world there were a lot of things that made me stop and shake my head.
I’ve seen some crazy things outside of IT – coffee thrown through a drive-through window at a barista because there wasn’t enough creamer in it, a burrito thrown like a football at a cashier because it wasn’t made fast enough for the person. While I haven’t seen this level of customer rage in IT, I will admit being in IT has made me stop and think: “Why does IT treat its customers this way? And, vice versa, why are customers so mad at IT all the time?
This issue really boils down to “that’s the way it has always been.” When IT was first becoming more important to people and businesses there was no choice – you staffed an IT department based on their skill sets and experience and no thought was given to the customer service aspect of it.
It was a niche market and employees were in high demand. IT employees would (and sometimes still) treat people like they were children or ignorant, not realizing if the shoe was on the other foot they wouldn’t want to be treated that way themselves. And likewise, the customers being treated poorly started treating the IT department (often out of frustration) the same way.
The problem was never addressed and IT got a bad rap (rightfully so). It seemed no one on either side ever considered: “What could make this relationship better for everyone?” The answer was simple, but it wasn’t until consulting firms started to play a significant role with helping businesses with IT needs that people have begun to realize just how simple.
Fast forward to now, where customer service is paramount. Many IT departments are a mix of consulting firm employees and in-house employees – and some departments outsource entirely. The market has changed, and customer service is now very important to the successful long-term relationships consulting firms want to create with prospective clients. Not only do your employees need to maintain a high skill level in whatever software they may be supporting, they need to treat their customers with respect and kindness as well. The shift has been made. It’s more than just delivering timely solutions now it should be done with a smile and a thank you.
I came to work in a consulting-based IT business already knowing when you choose someone to come into your business to assist with an implementation or your IT department needs, it’s not the way it used to be. Many other firms are out there providing excellent services and have an established reputation as being a pleasure to work with and Milestone is one of them. When choosing a partner for your company, just remember this: you deserve exceptional service WITH a smile.