One reason many IT companies have low customer satisfaction and high churn rates is that they do not embrace sound service management practices, particularly ITIL® processes and best practices. ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. It is a framework that technology organizations can use to help customers realize transformation and growth. Fowler Technology Services trains employees using ITIL principles, and has a senior manager with the coveted ITIL Expert certification. This gives us a unique perspective on the relationship between business and IT service provider. Take these examples:
- Quality IT services must focus on delivering value to the customer. The alignment of our services with the customer’s business strategy is the key to our success.
- A customer-centric strategy doesn’t need to cost more than run-of-the-mill service, but a high degree of business knowledge and proven best practices must be woven into the service provider’s DNA.
- One size does not fit all with respect to technology services. Services should be designed and tailored to the customer’s needs.
- Customers have a right to total clarity in service delivery, including a well-defined scope of work, clear service and process roles, and open communication.
- Both the costs and benefits of technology should be plainly visible to the customer through regular service level reviews and outcome assessments.
- Business risks inherent in technology are immense, and the stakes are high. The service provider must be prepared—both trained and equipped—to bear and/or mitigate risks for customers to reduce expense and exposure.
- The key to successful service delivery is the management of change. Careful design, planning, testing, management and documentation of change throughout the service lifecycle is critical to achieving technology objectives.
- Automation of routine background processes creates rapid return. Small and large businesses alike benefit from automation, freeing the most valuable resources—people—to focus on “big picture” organizational goals.
- By combining IT services (such as managed service for workstations and servers, firewall maintenance, security cameras, and telephone service and support) under one IT service agreement, the entire organization can benefit from tighter integration of services, end-to-end change management and quality control, and a single point of contact dedicated to the customer’s technical success.
- Good enough is not good enough. Continual service improvement based on specific metrics and key performance indicators adds value, improves stability, and builds increased satisfaction year after year, leading to lasting bonds with customers.
As we begin our work with clients moving from less customer-focused service providers, we repeatedly find that by aligning with the business—partnering with customers to accomplish their goals—we can optimize performance and provision of technology resources, give greater visibility to IT costs (revealing and eliminating waste), introduce stability into fragile environments, and consistently exceed customer expectations. That is why we do not ask customers “What can we sell you?” Instead we ask, “Where are you now and where do you want to be?” Our cooperative and collaborative approach let us put our knowledge and experience to work to accomplish customer goals, wherever and whenever we’re needed.
—Jared A. Faulkner, Director of Information Technology
Fowler Technology Services, a Donco company