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Is your service center too dependent on technology?

Bart Perkins | Oct. 20, 2016
Your customers are unlikely to be happy if second-level human support is nonexistent or just too hard to get to

Internal concierge services are usually a bad idea. The idea may be to keep executives productive, but special treatment sends the message that some employees are more important than others. Resentment is sure to follow, especially among millennials. Even worse, though, a concierge service can make executives blind to a poorly functioning IT service center. I know one consultant who, while creating an IT plan for a Fortune 500 company, had difficulty getting support from the IT service desk. She often waited several days for a response to simple issues. She then became the company’s CIO, and now when she requested help, she would find three people in her office within 10 minutes. The wide disparity of responsiveness bothered her, as well as the suspicion that headquarters executives had no way to understand how bad remote office support could be.

  • Organize the knowledge base. Recently, my PC response slowed dramatically. Task Manager revealed six processes with no user names or descriptions. Since this sometimes indicates malware, I researched each unnamed process. When I learned that several of the processes were critical parts of Windows that were sometimes co-opted by malware, I continued my research on the Microsoft website. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a clear set of criteria to determine if the processes were infected.

Microsoft and other software company forums are useful collection points for information on many topics. However, the unfiltered nature of the articles and the resulting comments make them difficult to decipher for people without deep technical skills. Well-organized knowledge bases are much more useful than knowledge bases that are allowed to grow organically, without curation.

Too much self-service can be a disservice. If your enterprise uses chatbots, make sure you are not cutting back on service representatives too much or too quickly. Monitor wait times for callers who need to speak with a human. If you would not be content waiting that long, neither would most of your customers. And if you don’t meet customers’ criteria for an acceptable customer support experience, they’ll be gone before you can say “Press 9 to speak to one of our better staffed competitors.”

Bart Perkins is managing partner at Louisville, Ky.-based Leverage Partners Inc., which helps organizations invest well in IT. Contact him at


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