During the mid-nineties, I became active in terms of customer satisfaction within my company. During that time, we were doing projects to measure customer satisfaction and give advice to sales and commercial management, ultimately with the goal to keep your customers loyal. Make sure they come back to you and that they feel you deserve their business because of your good products, services and price/quality ratio. Customer satisfaction ensures customer loyalty and is a good predictor of sales.
Why am I writing this, when you, the reader, probably work in IT? During those same years in the nineties, IT managers of existing clients asked us if we could provide customer satisfaction surveys for their internal customers. By customers they meant their IT end-users and their internal, strategic customers, such as heads of departments and managers. Of course, we were able to. Not out of opportunism, but because there are many parallels between the commercial buying customer and the internal customers. That request from IT managers made a lot of sense to me at the time, but what I didn’t realize yet then was that this was actually very progressive. That became clear later, when we started to approach this market more for ourselves.
“What do you mean? Our IT end-users? Those are not really customers, are they? They should be happy they get to work here with the systems we facilitate. It costs us a lot of money and we don’t really want to hear any complaints about it…”
“I’ve been working here as an IT manager for the past 10 years. Surely you don’t expect me to share the satisfaction of the IT end-user with my manager…”
“We have our SLA reports and that’s more than enough.”
In 2017, this is hard to fathom, but this was not very long ago. Systematically measuring and improving the end-user’s experience is, in fact, quite a new field. I would even go as far as to say – although I have no proof of this – that Dutch companies are taking the lead in this race towards IT satisfaction (probably along with a few other countries, for example, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland). In other words: focusing on the IT user is still in its starting position.
Maybe you are thinking: we know, from the SLA reports from our IT providers what % of uptime we have. In short, we receive really great KPI reports that give us enough information. And if there is something need to know, we just send out some questions to a group of users in an online survey tool and that gives us enough information. If you are part of this group, the good news is that you realize that having a gauge of your products, services, communication and applications is useful for improving or changing them. But you can also take it a step further. Measuring IT satisfaction is not just a gauge you occasionally use, but a logical part of what you do on a daily basis.
So, why is this so important?
- On average, employees have a serious IT problem 1.7x a week
- On average, employees waste more than 2 weeks a year on dealing with IT problems
- It takes about 35 minutes a week to solve a problem.
IT satisfaction has an impact on the productivity of the employees and therefore on the organization’s performance. But there is more: A lot of money is invested in business applications that are not used correctly or are not used at all, as well as on unnecessary requests to the Service Desk, which could have been prevented. It is a double-edged sword: more productivity and potentially lower costs. And last but not least: a better and more pleasant work environment, as well as a positive IT image.
Measuring IT satisfaction is not a luxury, but a logical, integral part of your IT organization. With the vision of focusing on the IT user still being in a starting position, it is vital for companies to ensure IT satisfaction to achieve pole position and remember: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile” – Roger Staubach.