I recently had issues with my television and broadband provider, both services failed at exactly the same time. A quick check on their website showed that there were no known service outages in my area, so I decided to phone them and report the issue. Following through the IVR I was given the choice to report a telephone or a broadband issue. After ten minutes on hold, I was put through to someone on the television team who immediately told me that they had to pass me on to the technical team and would have to hold for at least a further ten minutes.
In the meantime, looking through social media, facebook and twitter, I could see that the issue was impacting a lot of people in my area. Rather than hang up and wait, I persisted and was put through to an engineer who, despite me telling him that I thought it was a bigger issue, made me run through a number of standard checks, including rebooting my router. The engineer finally told me that there was nothing that he could do, and he would have to book in visit, the first available slot being in four weeks.
Having completed my call, I continued to monitor the service status on the website and the twitter feed. It was obvious that there was a bigger issue, but neither the team on the phone, those managing the twitter feed or those responsible for updating the service status were aware of it.
Finally, after two hours the service status was updated and it wasn’t until the next day that the issue was fixed.
So why the long story?
This made me realise that this was exactly the sort of experience that users of IT services have when they have an incident, and that this isn’t good enough.
When they report an issue, it tends to be the first time that the Service Desk heard of it. They then classify it as a low priority, as only one person is impacted, and it is only when more and more people report the issue that is it finally escalated up to a higher priority. The users aren’t then kept regularly informed of the status of the issue until it is miraculously fixed.
In the meantime, the operations teams probably got an alert that there was an issue with the infrastructure, and were working to understand what the issue is and fix it, without any appreciation of the impact on the business.
Monitoring the end user experience
While I’m not saying that it isn’t important to monitor individual devices and elements of the infrastructure, or to model them up into services, there should be an increased focus on monitoring the end user experience of those people consuming the services.
It is no longer good enough to rely on the users and consumers of services to be the first people to report an issue, and then take time to work out the extent of the issue.
The team need to be aware immediately that there is a user issue with a service and the extent of that issue. This will allow them to provide users reporting the issue with the confidence that the team are already on the case. It will also allow accurate, up to date, information to be made available on a status update page, and reduce the number of calls related to the issue coming through to the desk.
There are now lots of tools available to facilitate the monitoring of the end-user experience. It is key to a company’s IT Service Management framework that these are properly integrated with the processes and procedures, ensuring that the best, most proactive service can be provided.
Treating users as customers
This brings me back to my experience with my television and broadband provider. Why should I expect a different level of service from someone that I receive a service from in my work life than I do from the service that I purchase in my personal life.
In both cases the priority of their focus has to be monitoring and understanding of the user experience so they can manage the impact of any outage as effectively as possible, ensuring that they continue to have the trust of their customers and they don’t look elsewhere for their service.
The implementation of an end-user monitoring solution and it’s integration into ITSM processes is key to allowing this to happen.
In our personal life, we are being increasingly exposed to the digital world and the levels of service that the best digitally enabled companies provide us with. When we are at work, we are now, not unreasonably, expecting the same high levels of service, and it is important that technology teams recognise this and place more focus on understanding the user experience that they are providing.
If you would like to find out how iCore can help you with improving your customer experience then please contact us on 0203 821 1252 or email email@example.com.