Windward Insights

Hitting Customer Service Home Runs

Published Sep. 23, 2015
Written by Sean McDermott

baseball hit

The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers.
– Shiv Singh

Every business was created to provide something that someone needs or wants.
Really. That’s what this whole game is all about.

It’s that simple.

But not every business that creates something succeeds, even thoughthey’re creating or providing something someone needs or wants.For far too many companies, the focus on that “someone” gets lost, buried under all of the strategic plans, bureaucratic processes upon processes, and small miracles involved in the operations of creating and delivering the “something.” But in today’s highly competitive business environment, simply getting someone something they need isn’t going to win the game. You need to be the best at service delivery. Your service team needs to be poised andready to hit the ball out of the park, and you can do that when you really understand the customer. Seems simple enough, right?

Nowhere is there a more critical need for a thorough understanding of your customers than in IT service. While business units are directly responsible for customer delivery, these business units are fully reliant on IT to enable them to deliver top solutions as fast and effectively as possible in a market that is drastically different than just 5 years ago. IT needs to be engaged in this process. Although IT does not have a direct relationship with customers, IT service is critical to the success of a company,and in order to be successful, they need to know what their customers expect – not just what they offer.

IT, to effectively support other business units’ service delivery effort, must escape from the shackles of traditional IT roles. IT has to be more than system configuration, Linux administration and help desk support. And transcending the traditional IT role requires a full cultural and process shift. IT has to think of itself much differently than in the past. And this change won’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s a journey that IT must commit itself to embarking upon.

IT should be a support organization to the business, but often become a barrier. If a customer can’t get what they need then they’ll go elsewhere – hence the birth of Shadow IT. Understanding your customer is your first line at-bat opportunity to hit a home run. Make sure you take the steps to make sure you do. We can help.

During my past 20+ years in helping IT organizations through transition, I’ve come across a number of recurring challenges and turnaround points. Here are two ways your team can get started:

Treat the Business Unit as Customers

Being in the same organization doesn’t ensure job security. IT teams are replaceable; we’re seeing it every day with outsourcing. IT needs to understand that their internal customers are in fact, from an organizational standpoint, paying clients. Every interaction has value.

Get Back to the Basics

Have the mindset of the business unit and their customers to really understand what their users need and want from you. It’s not enough to just know what to do for your customer when they have an outage, you must clearly understand what they expect as results – there’s a big difference.

Go back to the basics of customer service.