Bridge the IT support perception gap
View the insight
Between the IT department and its customers, perception and reality often don’t match. Most IT organizations typically believe support services are working and their users are happy. But too many users view IT services as slow, frustrating and less than helpful. This difference in perceptions and expectations generates frustration and dissatisfaction. And it translates into very real downsides including inflated call volumes, higher support costs, lower productivity, security risk proliferation, and significantly reduced growth and innovation.
Depending on mobility, devices, and applications, technology can be a powerful advantage. But to fully realize that competitive edge, organizations must squeeze every ounce of value from their systems and personnel.
Getting a competitive edge in world-class IT support capability demands that companies focus not just on costs or service programs, but on how employees work, solve problems, and deliver value. Unfortunately, in all too many situations, there is a real gap between the support IT believes it delivers, and what users perceive. Mind the gap.
We listened. A research study completed for DXC Technology shows that IT organizations often focus on devices, applications, projects, contact volume reduction, and cost controls. Conversely, employees simply want to be productive and expect the focus to be on delivering a flexible, retail-like service experience that makes their work life simpler.
Perception and reality don’t match.
That gap generates frustration and dissatisfaction. And it translates into very real downsides including inflated call volumes, higher support costs, lower productivity, security risk proliferation, and significantly reduced growth and innovation.
The gap still exists because IT organizations are focused on products, service-level agreements (SLAs), and reports. On the other hand, their users are focused on the experiences of using IT devices to do their work.
Turn services into experiences
Services are frequently seen as the ultimate capability to evolve a product’s value chain. As products advance, users become accustomed to receiving more and more value until the product itself is secondary and the consumer becomes more interested in the experience that surrounds it—the overall benefit provided. Just as in their consumer lives, employees expect IT to do the same with their service experiences at work, so they can be productive.
This is where much of the perception gap is seen in the workplace. Users expect more than a nice device that is well supported. They want to fill the gap with an IT experience that enables their productivity and connects with their emotional preferences and individual workstyle. Pushing away from the old mentality, the device is no longer as relevant. Traditional services, which focus on response times and SLAs, are being replaced by the more important “experience.” This is an environment that lets employees accomplish their goals in a way that benefits the business.
This growing importance is what might be described as the “modern enterprise user experience.” It’s an experience-oriented approach that combines all previous workplace support elements—tools and technology components, hardware and software products, and IT services—and extends those to embrace a driving focus on the user.
The new intelligent workplace takes advantage of an experience-driven support model that focuses on how users work and play, and prefer to interact, and the specific tools needed to meet and exceed their service expectations.
The traditional IT service desk will not support rapidly evolving digital workplace needs, which include increasing employee engagement, exploration of new ways of working and exploitation of consumer-oriented technologies. 8 User pain points - Waiting for supports - “The fix” takes too long - Getting replacement parts
Know what users want
In today’s more mobile and digital workplace, employees expect and demand IT support that is fast, reliable, and easy to use. But in a C Space study, with worldwide IT decision-makers, respondents indicated they primarily deliver support in traditional ways with help desks and self-service tools. The gap occurs when users want more personal, retail-like service and face-to-face assistance available wherever they are—to solve whatever issue arises.
Forrester Research describes the three Es of the Customer Experience as:
Any experience delivered to IT users must be one that provides value. The user has a productivity objective, and IT should enable them to achieve it. IT interaction must be easy to use and strive to connect with the users’ emotions—so they have a good feeling about their experience. You see, satisfaction comes from a user experience that’s engaging, well-designed, and delivered with the right user interfaces, from comfortable, convenient environments.
Users want a fast, efficient service that resolves issues and problems with the minimum amount of fuss and provides a complete support framework. My company offers a support vending machine that came in real handy when I needed a headset for an important client call. —Courtney T., Global Marketing, Technology — Marino A., Operations and IT Director, Construction
To bridge this gap, IT organizations must develop on-demand support capabilities that positively impact perceptions and go far beyond traditional support. This includes offering seamless and intuitive online service options, and closer and more intimate assistance when needed.
Additionally, support must be customized to individual users and current needs. While some workers prefer minimal interaction and self-driven alternatives, others need and want more personalized attention and advice.
View the full infographic
Know perception is reality
There is no end in sight. Sixty-three percent of support organizations saw ticket volumes increase in 2015 and almost 84 percent of IT decision-makers say call center/help desk request volume will either stay the same or increase. But a gap in support leads to lost productivity, staff turnover, and employee dissatisfaction. It’s time to deal with users who are frustrated and dissatisfied. Those negative perceptions become reality in today’s competitive marketplace.
Understand and bridge that perception gap, and you begin to build a world-class user experience. Focus on user expectations and shift away from commodityoriented, bargain-basement support solutions to a model that delivers superior user experience at a cost-competitive level.
To fully appreciate the emerging experience-driven support model, it may help to examine the key elements of a holistic, user-oriented approach to technology support.
“Cost savings alone is no longer the principal motivation for outsourcing. Today’s buyers also want to increase revenues and improve the customer experience … market is beginning to emphasize qualities that include predictability (through use of analytics), self-healing (with autonomic computing and automation), and self-service (with adaptation to cloud models and use of service ‘stores’).”
5-6, Average number of devices that employees may use as wearable devices and the internet of things (IoT) become mainstream.
Deliver intelligent workplace support
The focus going forward must be less on specific services and rock-bottom costs, and more on a user experience that drives engagement and productivity. Smart IT leaders will consider a number of support options and components—then combine various options to meet specific users’ needs.
Certain support channels are better suited to address particular issues. Users vary significantly in preferences and requirements, and no single communication channel or service is right for everyone.
Figure 1 shows a unified support model that combines self-service, a telephony-based service desk, varied in-person capabilities, and more modern options that leverage the best of today’s automated, virtual, and proactive technologies. Each support element shown consists of various technologies, processes, policies, and customizations.
Figure 1. Support choices in a unified, experience-driven support model
Let’s take a slightly deeper dive into each of these elements.
Improve with proactive and predictive support
Companies can leverage automation, advanced analytics, preventive techniques, and a proactive stance to further improve support performance and cost efficiencies. The data to enhance the analytics system comes from remote monitoring technologies that spot developing issues. Catching these before users are aware of the problem, and performing root-cause analytics and data analysis, enables IT teams to quickly identify issues, and create and deploy faster and less costly resolutions.
When multiple data sources are linked together, new Big Data analytics tools help find issues so autonomous robotics systems can automate repetitive tasks and eliminate the requirement for human intervention. Data helps IT better understand user needs so they can fill gaps for specific support activities that contribute to greater satisfaction and productivity.
My company offers a support vending machine that came in real handy when I needed a headset for an important client call. —Courtney T., Global Marketing, Technology
For many organizations, seeking more effective and affordable support, self-help tools are a common and logical step. A significant portion of users—most notably millennials—actually prefer do-it-yourself (DIY) options such as web portals, knowledge-based libraries, and other automated tools.
However, these options are also often the source of a perception gap that exists when IT believes self-service use, adoption, and user satisfaction are all “in the green,” but users don’t agree.
To address the gap, the best DIY options offer simple graphic interfaces and engaging encounters. It must be said, however: Self-help cannot be seen as the only answer, or a means of eliminating other forms of support. Automation is more than self-service and should not be just an easy way to reduce call volumes. Most importantly, a good self-help model is just a portion of the overall support strategy—a foundation upon which other user-oriented methods can be built.
Service desk agents are often the primary and most remembered contact between users and the IT organization. So person-to-person phone-based support should be designed to offer fast, personalized interactions that resolve the caller’s issue.
Dimensional Research reports 72 percent blame their bad customer service experience on having to explain their problem to multiple people. So, it’s important to ensure the success of this key person-to-person element, and the overall support effort.
You can’t underestimate how important it is for service desk teams to be knowledgeable, motivated, and professional. So, back those teams with efficient processes, extensive knowledge databases, visibility beyond the call center, incident data, root cause analytics, and other tools and processes that empower agents to drive every call to resolution—further enhancing the user experience.
As organizations realize the value of greater user and customer satisfaction, many are returning to a more intimate, face-to-face style of support. New methods of providing this contact capability can be an effective and surprisingly cost-efficient component of a successful service program.
In larger or technology-dependent organizations, walk-in support centers can be the new, more personable face of IT. Staffed locations become places where users get answers to questions, resolve incidents and repairs, and touch and try new devices and applications. Many organizations experience positive improvements in productivity and customer satisfaction, while reducing the volume of unresolved service desk calls and high costs of deskside support.
For smaller companies and branch offices, video agent kiosks and other automated solutions can supplement visiting technicians. When combined with new features such as IT lockers and vending machines, a video agent at a 24x7 kiosk can mirror the same support experience as a walk-in center.
31% of users in mature markets are planning to purchase a new smartphone in the next 12 months.
Close the gap
Our C Space study reported that 83 percent of IT decision-makers believe expanding user support options and providing a better user experience is important for them and their users, but 62 percent have no plans to do so. Surprisingly, only 14 percent ranked “better user experience” as the most essential element to deliver.
Priorities need to shift. Focusing on the right user experience will naturally improve more basic, traditional measures and bring higher user satisfaction. Many believe lack of budget impedes IT support and struggle to understand how to implement costeffective options. This is another perception gap.
Reap the benefits
Organizations of all types and sizes can realize significant advantages by adopting a more holistic, user-oriented approach to IT support. Such a model enables them to:
Bridge the gap—Improve the perception of IT, create a more attractive workplace, and deliver a more positive user experience.
Drive service quality—Provide more choices and greater convenience with greater self- sufficiency, social collaboration, proactive diagnostics and automation, and personalized interaction.
Know your users and respond—Gain real visibility into employee needs, emerging issues, service uptake, and user satisfaction—then tailor support activities to their needs.
Embrace new opportunities
As your workplace grows in speed and complexity, it is more important than ever to bridge the gap and deliver convenient, effective IT support. That requires close attention—to devices, applications, and services, and more importantly, the totalities of the user experience.
You may not need every element of a comprehensive environment, but you should have the ability to mix and match user service capabilities to get your organization on the right pathway.
The holistic approach from DXC drives savings and productivity, user satisfaction, and positively impacts your business. IT support should be a powerful tool for supporting employee performance. DXC Advisory Services workshops and DXC Workplace Support Services experts can help identify and deliver those solutions.
If your organization is looking to improve user-oriented support outcomes, turn to DXC as a trusted service and technology partner to provide a modern support environment. Work with us to transform your user support to the type of support they love.
- Detailed strategies for resolving the IT perception gap
- The benefits of aligning IT and user expectations
- How DXC Technology’s approach creates savings and improves user satisfaction
- Interesting facts from the research