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Author: Mike Joseph

Providing a High Quality Customer Experience

Providing a High Quality Customer Experience

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Not to be confused with high quality customer service.  There is a difference.  A big one.

Take for example my recent experience at a fast food restaurant. I walked in, waited my turn in line (not long), and when I arrived at the counter and was greeted with a friendly smile and an enthusiastic “How can I help you today?”. I placed my order for a burger, fries, and beverage.  It was cheerfully read back to me for confirmation, payment was exchanged, and a short time later I received my food.

Quality customer service?  Yes, I’d say so.  High quality customer service?  Sure.  But was it a high quality experience?  One might argue yes.  But when you think about it, even though I received prompt, cheerful, and accurate service, I still needed to do a fair amount of work.  I then needed to go to the drink station and fill my cup with my choice of beverage.  Then I had to find a seat, unpack my food, realize I forgot napkins and ketchup, go get that stuff, sit back down, finally eat, and then clean up after myself.

Let’s contrast that against a recent experience at a sit-down restaurant.  I walk in, I am cheerfully greeted and after a short wait I am seated at a table.  Again I place an order for a burger and fries.  So far, pretty similar to the fast food place.  But now… “And how would you like that cooked?” “Would you like regular fries or sweet potato fries?” (Sweet potato fries, always, if I am given the choice by the way.) “Would you like a salad with that?” “Would you like any condiments?  And a short while later, my food is brought and devoured.  The table is cleared, I pay the bill, and I leave.

At the very basic level, the same thing transpired.  I exchanged money and I received food.  However, the experiences were very different.  The total round-trip time at the sit-down restaurant was likely longer than the fast food place, but in the end I had a much better experience.

The point I want to make here is: That whether you are in IT support or another customer service role a good professional should strive to provide the highest quality customer experience possible.  It’s not enough to just focus on courtesy and attentiveness.  On each transaction  ask yourself how you can give this person the best possible experience.  Ask qualifying questions.  Go the extra mile.  If there is a way for you to perform a task, without pushing the work back on them, do it.  Even if it means it will take a little bit of extra time to complete the request your customer will appreciate that they barely had to lift a finger.  Do this consistently, and you will have customers for life.

Mike’s Rules of IT

Mike’s Rules of IT

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The following is printed out and taped to my desk at the office.  Whenever I make a mistake, it can usually be traced back to one of these rules being broken:

 

Mike’s Rules of IT

  1. Assume nothing.
  2. Verify everything.
  3. Work smarter, not harder.
  4. Use your resources.
  5. Know when to escalate.
  6. Details or die.
  7. Reproduce the error.
  8. Prove the fix.
  9. Always check the physical connection.
  10. Empathize with the user.
Why Little Green Lights?

Why Little Green Lights?

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The name for this site was inspired by this scene in the movie “Red Planet” in which most of the main characters are stranded on Mars and all communication to their mothership has been cut-off:

Gallagher has cobbled together a radio from 50-year-old parts. Pettengill holds the solar panels at the sun while Robby carefully removes one of his two suit-radio microphones. Checks with a meter, then solders it onto his jerry-rigged radio.

GALLAGHER

Testing, testing…

He adjusts a tiny pot as he continues to call out. A green LED comes on, flickering with his voice.

BURCHENAL

Does it work??

GALLAGHER

Well, the little green thing lights up. I don’t know if it works…

I found it amusing that the outcome of this life and death situation was dependent on whether or not the little green LED meant anything good.  It dawned on me that in the IT world, we often face similar situations.  The server is down, the site is not communicating, and sometimes the only status indicator is a stupid green LED staring back at you (or lack thereof).  I suddenly realized my life essentially revolves around little green lights.  Are they on?  Are they not on?  Are they blinking?  Are they not blinking?  Are they supposed to be blinking or not blinking?  I immediately registered the domain name.