What an Unfortunate Life Event Taught Me About IT Customer Service
Recently, I had an unfortunate event happen in my life. I found out my dearest companion was very ill. Yes, he is a dog-and during my period of mourning I gained some insight regarding IT customer service. Keep reading and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
There probably isn’t one person reading this right now that hasn’t encountered a similar situation where they have gone through very difficult times with a loved one. I know I have been bedside many times with various family members over the years, wishing we did more things, enjoyed life to its fullest and in particular, communicated things that really mattered before it was too late.
Frequently I read business to business blogs and they are infiltrated with statistics and study after study trying to make their point. Such as Gartner, who claims the average large corporation has an average of 87 hours of system downtime per year. OK, I had to sneak something like that in, but really, in the end – none of these stats matters much. We can probably all agree that we will all have system uptime, and system downtime-and we’ll continue to have it. What matters is the relationship you have with your customer, in advance and during the difficult stretches, to help minimize the cost of downtime.
I normally try to avoid reading articles like this – they sell fear and warn of impending doom. I mean who wants to be reminded of life’s “down times”. It’s half the reason I avoid Facebook. They could call it complainbook, deathbook, etc. Unfortunately, difficult times are reality, and from it we must take away lessons (if we are smart enough to pay attention), that teach us we need to communicate better and share more not less. A lesson we can apply to customer service; communicate and share more, not less.
An IT Customer Service Initiative: Communication
Now it might be wrong, or maybe people will chide me for attempting to make any kind of parallel to standing next to a love one’s dying bed, wishing they’d been better to one another or had done more “things”. However, I think sometimes you have to become dramatic to drill home a point in order to cause action. Action, not reaction, allows you to reach the milestones you want to attain in business. It’s been said many times – customer service – particularly the communication part is key. Communicating system status uptime needs to be an IT customer service initiative!
Instinctually we know that if we try to bullshit our way through a situation and don’t come out clean from the start, that one lie turns in to five lies, and so on. It’s this very fear of communicating something bad that prevents us from communicating. For every communication that should occur (but doesn’t), we cause an exponential problem that we could have desisted from if only we communicated it in advance.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: If you stay ahead of the curve and you communicate effectively before it’s too late…People.. Customers… and even loved ones will respect you and understand. OK. maybe not all of them. Some people are difficult. They force you into telling white lies – do not take the easy way out. You have a choice to get out front and center. I’ve run software companies both ways (as embarrassing as that is to say), and hands down, whenever I am as open and clear as I can be, overall, I yield far better results even if I lose a few customers on the way where some slight avoidance of the truth would have helped. Just lay it out there and let them know what’s up. People will respect you more often than not, and you will yield far more benefit than the few customers you’ll lose.
Don’t waste your time building your own application status pages and app status communication platform. Use a provider that specializes in doing just that with little to no work involved. Yes! I’m pumping a company, I am a co-founder of www.statuscast.com. Better communication with your customers leads to better IT customer service and cuts down on the cost of system downtime. Your customers will love you for it and the ones that don’t; well, you can’t please all the people all the time.