Numbers Don’t Lie
According to a study performed by the IT industry trade association CompTIA, “Roughly 4 in 10 end users think the method in which their IT is managed is working fine as currently structured, but a NET 61% believe there is room for improvement, including 9% that said IT management methods could be significantly better than they are today.” Clearly, for many end users a great divide exists between expectations and what they’re getting.
The answer lies somewhere in the wide margin of error that exists where technology and people overlap. To explain this better, here are some common support scenarios:
- A vendor is installing new software on a client’s system. This requires a considerable amount of coordination; the client needs to be able to provide a downtime window, the vendor needs to be able to work within that window and we need to be available throughout the install to ensure a smooth launch.
- A client is working remotely on a laptop and experiences a fonts issue in a document. He emails in a ticket, and we reach out, but because he is traveling the laptop is offline and we can’t troubleshoot remotely. After a series of voicemails and emails, the issue remains unresolved because it is challenging to find a time to connect.
The Great Divide
What makes IT different compared with other service industries is that we work in the complex space where people and tech intersect, an area fraught with challenges. Seven times out of ten, any unmet expectations arise at this intersection of people and tech. Clients call us when they don’t understand how their technology works (or why it doesn’t work), which is already a dicey situation. But if there’s a lack of human connection – anything from the inability to navigate schedules, travel, and deadlines to an absence of empathy or understanding – the issue escalates and dissatisfaction grows exponentially.
At TekTegrity, we deal with this the best way we know how: by identifying first as a client services company, not strictly as a technology company.
Our success is determined by peoples’ experience working with us, and, knowing this, we build responsive, empathetic customer service into the goals, values, and infrastructure of our company. This helps tremendously, but it still doesn’t make us perfect by any means. Successful IT service is only possible when the relationship between client and technician is held in high esteem. I think of it as a two-way street: technicians should feel a sense of co-ownership of the problem, offering empathy and understanding to the client; and clients should make themselves available, embracing direction and offering advance notice of any limiting factors. When both parties recognize their responsibility, ironically, most “computer issues” are resolved through mutual respect, cooperation, and communication, rather than raw technical knowledge.
Russ Levanway is a sought-after public speaker, technology expert, and community leader. As the CEO of an ever-growing managed services company with offices in both San Luis Obispo and Fresno, Russ’s goal is to sustain and grow an IT company that provides incredible value for clients, and a great workplace for his team. When not charting out the future for TekTegrity, Russ serves on several non-profit boards, volunteers at the People’s Kitchen and traveling the world with his wife and two daughters.