Hand drawing chartIT’s customers are more demanding and knowledgeable, and there is less tolerance for poor IT service now than ever before. A philosophical change in IT Service Management (ITSM) is required to keep up with the changing business landscape.

Traditional ITSM emphasizes development and supply of IT services through best practices, which is technology focused. This focus needs to evolve. In its solution set, Enhance Business Value through Customer-Centric IT Service Management, Info-Tech recognizes the need for a customer-focused business model and recommends the adoption of ITSM 2.0, which views every decision and action through the lens of the customer experience – in other words, the delivery of customer service excellence.

Customer service excellence is a level of exceptional service that manages to be both unnoticeable and remarkable at the same time. It’s not just how you act when interacting with customers that matters; a happy customer can also be a silent customer. In addition to giving customers fulfilling and rewarding interactions, IT must take actions to prevent a problem from ever being realized by users.

IT departments can achieve customer service excellence by undertaking two very different but equally important initiatives.

One is Enhanced Customer Engagement, which is the act of giving your customer fulfilling and rewarding interactions that exceed their expectations. By making interactions easy, comfortable, consistent, and personalized, end-user satisfaction will be higher. A great example is initiating roaming help desk where, on off-peak days, first-level support go to the customer’s desk and help them face-to-face instead of handling the ticket virtually. While doing this, you can engage other users around the office. Chances are they have other issues they would like to talk to you about. Your customer will love this.

The other initiative is Behind the Scenes Excellence, processes used to prevent a problem from ever becoming a problem. In other words, IT discovers a potential issue and fixes it before it’s ever noticed by the users – their services just work. For example, a customer is happiest with their telecommunications provider when their phone and internet are always working. To make this happen, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes that the user is unaware of.

Achieving customer service excellence will improve business-IT relationships, increase end-user satisfaction, and show the business that IT cares.

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The adoption and usage of these third-party vendors (SaaS) for central and/or critical business functions is growing fast and it is not going away; in fact, it is here to stay. In today’s business environment, a solid percentage of complex business functions are delivered through the use of third-party vendor applications. With each new app, vendor, and tool set comes more risk, so additional touch points are brought to the proverbial table effectively making a complex situation, even more complex.136207264

For compliance purposes, businesses need to demonstrate the policies protecting access to these vital apps. However, users frustrated with managing multiple password policies may inadvertently defeat the security measures and put business data at risk. Strong authentication and app management solutions help, but deploying these systems can be a major undertaking, which effectively cancels out the cost and simplicity benefits of SaaS in the first place.

Routinely, we see critical information or assets being shared with cloud providers, consultants, business process outsourcers, third-party transactions, and a myriad of other business associates.

Read the full article.

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Organizations are dependent on vendors yet spend little effort managing their performance, resulting in less than optimal results.

The use of some standard processes can ensure that vendors at least meet expectations.

The application of additional techniques can move vendors beyond good-enough performance to better or even first-rate.

Our Advice

Without effective management, vendor performance will remain at standard or deteriorate below standard service. Actively manage vendor performance to motivate them to provide exceptional service.

Treat the collection of IT vendors as a portfolio requiring regular performance review. Actively manage them all, but pay the most attention to underperformers and develop plans to bring them up to a higher level of service.

To become a favored client to the vendor, establish internal responsibility for ensuring you have shared targets, build a relationship with liaison staff and their managers, implement an effective performance tracking process, and resolve small issues early to correct potentially chronic problems.

Impact and Result

Vendor performance metrics provide the common understanding between the organization and the vendor delivering the products and/or services. Measure progress against metrics and set targets for higher performance, or address a vendor’s substandard performance before it becomes a larger problem.

The size of your organization relative to your vendor’s and the role of your assigned client-facing representative dictate how you manage the relationship. Cultivate vendor management relationships to leverage negotiations and nurture the client-facing worker who will go above and beyond for you.

Without sufficient motivation, vendors will generally only meet the agreed expectations. Leverage the drivers of vendor profitability, reputation, and partnership to motivate them to higher performance.

Manage vendor relationships as a portfolio to achieve a consolidated view of performance highlights and issues, higher customer satisfaction, lower costs, higher quality, and better vendor service.

Related Research

1. Effectively manage vendor relationships.

Motivate vendors and suppliers to provide maximum performance.

2. Measure the performance of your vendor portfolio.

Identify at-a-glance target areas for performance improvement.

3. Survey your vendors to assess the health of the vendor relationship from their perspective.

Learn what motivates your vendors to better performance and take action.

4. Document and track ongoing vendor management issues.

Hold vendors accountable for their performance issues and motivate them to better performance.

5. Identify the vendor management roles best suited for your organization.

Dedicate vendor management responsibility to ensure vendor performance isn’t left to chance.

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