The IT support division does not always get the respect it deserves. When a customer is unhappy, the IT support division gets the brunt of their anger, particularly if the problem cannot be resolved immediately. Unfortunately, people often toss ‘f’ words around when referencing the IT department. In the best cases, the ‘f’ word in question is simply ‘feedback.’
Feedback can help make an IT support team better, but the system has to be put into place correctly. Once established, it gives customers a place where they can discuss the issues they have and allows them to communicate effectively with the IT division. It also allows the support team to figure out what is going well and what needs a bit of attention. However, if the feedback system is not thought through carefully, it could simply cause more problems. Therefore, if you want to get feedback from your customers, regardless of your role, what do you need to do?
There are two types of questions: open and closed. Closed questions are helpful in that they allow you to see how well your staff is doing. You can take the data these questions provide and see how well everything is going over time. You will know if your customers are happy or not, and you will have an idea of whether things in the IT department have improved over time. However, closed questions are limited in the type of data they can give you. Closed questions only allow for certain answers; for example, they could be yes or no questions or questions that ask respondents to pick certain items from a list.
Open questions tell you more about how and why something is happening. For example, if a customer is more satisfied now than they were six months ago, an open question can help you get to the root of why that is the case. Therefore, open questions give you more insight into what you are doing right or what needs to be improved upon.
After an open question is asked, there is an open space where a customer can write whatever they want. For example, the question may ask whether the customer is happy with the service as a whole and why. While it is hard to collect data from open questions, they are still very valuable. They help you understand how to proceed as a company and what your next steps should be.
You can choose to ask open questions, closed questions or a combination of the two. However, regardless of the question type, it is essential that you carefully review the answers and take action where necessary. Your customers need to see that you are taking their opinions seriously. If they do not feel valued, your bottom line may suffer because the customers will feel ignored. This could lead them to take their business elsewhere.
However, keep in mind that you do not have to give your customers everything they ask for. Perhaps their request is beyond your control or maybe you do not have the budget to put a solution in place right away. Keep the lines of communication open, and briefly explain why you are not able to address a complaint. While some customers may still be disgruntled, they at least know they were heard, which is quite important.
With a little bit of work, it is possible to consistently improve over time. Perhaps the lines of communication need to be opened up a bit, or maybe you need to upgrade your technology. Customer feedback can help you determine which direction you need to go in. Do not underestimate its value.
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Amy Rice writes about IT support, when not writing she enjoys surfing the internet and playing adventure golf.