There’s a specter haunting IT support departments across the world.
It’s quiet. It’s invisible. This phenomenon causes other executives to ignore the CIO. It’s the scourge of a bad IT reputation. If the IT support department continues to have a low reputation within the organization, it’s only a question of time before the CIO is sidelined from strategic discussions, or worse. Your first step is to check your reputation.
Symptoms of a Weak IT Reputation
To self-assess your IT department’s internal reputation, check these areas.
1. High IT Service Error Rates
Nobody looks forward to asking IT support for help. If IT then fumbles in responding to the request by making mistakes, your reputation will decline. Stay tuned for the tactics at the end of this post to cut your identity management IT support error rate down to 1% or less.
2. Employee Survey Results
Most large companies carry out an annual employee survey. If the survey in your organization includes questions about technology, tools, and corporate services, investigate further. Start with checking your satisfaction score trend (i.e., you scored 4.5 out of 5 a few years ago, and IT is now scoring 2.9 out of 5). Next, ask HR to summarize any free text comments that mention problems with IT support. If there are a large number of complaints about poor IT service and support, you probably have an issue.
3. Technology Project Funding Requests
Review the last 5-10 IT support requests that you brought to senior management for approval. Ask yourself how difficult it was to obtain approval. An IT department held in high esteem is likely to win approval fast for most project proposals with a reasonably strong business case. If the IT leader and his or her group have a poor reputation, you’ll hear “NO” more often and face constant skepticism about your project ideas.
4. Hallway Chatter About the IT Department and Technology
This area is more difficult to assess, but it’s worth the effort. For example, do travelling sales professionals complain about the lack of 24/7 IT support? As you go through your work week, listen to what non-IT staff says. In addition to the content of these comments, listen for the emotional tone. If a significant number of people are becoming agitated and angry over poor IT service, you may have a reputation problem.
5. Reactive vs. Proactive Tendencies Inside the IT Department
Some IT groups, especially those that provide support services, operate with a reactive mindset. In some cases, that means waiting around passively for a call to come in. That reactive tendency is bad news for the IT department’s reputation. On the other hand, your IT staff may live and breathe a proactive philosophy at work. Every week, they have new ideas and propose them to management.
To assess this variable quickly, think back to the last 10 team meetings you were in. How many suggestions and new ideas came up? If you can’t remember, your department is probably in a reactive mindset.
How to Improve Your IT Support Reputation in 90 Days or Less
Time for the good news. You can take steps right away to improve the IT support department’s reputation.
1. Solve One Recurring IT Pain
To improve your IT department’s reputation, deliver a quick win. For example, if executives are complaining about IT connectivity while traveling internationally, solve that problem! There’s no better way to rebuild your reputation than by acknowledging a long-standing problem and fixing it. After you deliver this win, you’ll start to have more leeway to implement other improvements.
Tip: Validate that you’re solving a problem that truly frustrates the business by referencing audit reports or a recent employee survey.
2. Increase IT Service Speed for Routine Tasks
Slow-moving IT departments cause major frustration. Business users expect real-time fulfillment for their requests. However, IT leaders tell us that they have to meet quality and security requirements. Well, that’s no longer an excuse for slow service. Implement an AI virtual assistant and you’ll immediately increase the speed of IT customer service. Virtual support agents are one of the best ways to eliminate support errors from routine tasks.
3. Reward Proactive IT Staff
By this stage, you’ve implemented two tactics to deliver better results. Your IT team is likely starting to enjoy improved morale. Capitalize on the momentum by asking your team to contribute more ideas. To make it more exciting, offer a gift card reward for the best suggestion to improve IT services. Funding this reward should only cost $50 to $100, so it’s well worth the effort.
4. Report Monthly on Your IT Key Performance Indicators
Here’s a riddle for you. If the IT department does great work and fails to report on it, does it really matter? The answer is, not much. Create an IT dashboard where you report on IT wins, service levels, and project status every month. By reporting on IT wins regularly, you’ll earn more respect and support from other leaders in the organization.