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a blog by Don R. Crawley

Keynote Speaker on
IT Customer Service and Compassion

Bringing humanity into the world of technology

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Do you have pride in your work? Do you tell your customers about improvements that are a benefit to them? Your customers want to believe that you’re the best at whatever it is that you do. We can reinforce that belief by letting them know about improvements we make to the systems they use.

Pride in Accomplishments

I recently attended a weekend-long conference at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. The president of High Point is Nido Qubein, who took over as president in 2005. Participants in the conference were privileged to spend time with Dr. Qubein as he proudly showed us the many improvements and enhancements to the campus, the many new buildings, the waterfalls and fountains, and procedural changes he had made to improve academic performance, campus security, and student experience. Dr. Qubein was very proud of what he and the faculty and staff had accomplished during his time as president. Even more than his pride in the accomplishments, he was focused on the customer experience at High Point University. He would point out a new building or an improvement to an existing building, then he would talk about how it positively affected the students and their parents. Even though I’m not a customer, or even a potential customer of High Point University, his focus on improving the customer experience made me excited to be at the university and to be a participant in the conference which was being held there. Frankly, the more I experienced Dr. Qubein’s enthusiasm, the more excited I became to get back to Seattle to record this podcast and tell you about the school.

When I arrived at the airport for my flight back to Seattle, I discovered that I’d been upgraded to first class, which is a wonderful treat on a long flight. After I settled in my seat, Robin, the flight attendant, came back and asked how I liked the new seating configuration. You see, Alaska Airlines had taken out a row of seats which gave us much greater leg room than we’d had previously. She was proud of the change and wanted to make sure that I, as a frequent customer, noticed the difference. Frankly, I didn’t notice the difference. I noticed that something felt different, but when Robin made me aware of the change, my customer experience changed for the better. As an Alaska Airlines customer, it was a little thing that made me feel better about my choice of airline.

People Like to be Associated with Greatness

As a church organist, people in the congregation will often brag about my musical ability. Frankly, there are many musicians who are far more proficient than I, but that’s not the point. People love to be associated with what they perceive to be greatness. They like to brag to their friends and colleagues about how good their doctor is, how their massage therapist is amazing, the quality of food and service at their favorite restaurant, their amazing carpenter friend, their artist friend who creates stunning sculptures, or any other positive aspect of their life.

Show Your Pride and Let Your Customers Know About Improvements

Do you find ways to let your customers know about the improvements which will enhance their experience? As an IT professional, do you tell your customers about the new server you installed which improves response times or the upgraded router that improves network speed?

Be Intentional About Informing Customers About Improvements

We often talk about the importance of being a friendly professional, about the importance of keeping conversations positive and upbeat and avoiding negativity. It’s also important to be intentional about informing your customers when improvements are made to your network, to your servers, to their desktop and mobile systems, or any other aspect of the information systems and technology at your office. The changes and enhancements don’t have to be big, they just need to be positive. Give your customer reasons to be your advocate behind your back, to brag about how good their IT department is to their friends and colleagues.

For More Ideas on How to Improve Communication and Customer Service Skills

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Sign up for my free IT customer service training by email, The 5 Principles of IT Customer Service Success. The course includes the free version of my new IT customer service book The 5 Principles of IT Customer Service Success and eight free customer service lessons by email.

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  1. Kathy P says:

    I’m installing a wireless network in a building. I know employees will be thrilled because they’ve been clamoring for the perk. I was able to buy the equipment due to an amazing sale and the budget savings I achieved on an earlier project. I planned the launch for a Wednesday so the subject of my email to the building could be “Wireless Wednesday.” I was beginning to doubt my decision to crow until I read your blog. Now I can’t wait to complete the project so I can enjoy my “Wireless Wednesday.”

    • I love the name “Wireless Wednesday” and I’ll bet your users will be excited about it, too. Let us know how it goes!

      • Kathy P says:

        The kickoff went well. I thanked the maintenance staff for all of their hard work installing cabling and the finance office (my bosses) for allocating the funds. My email included coverage areas and a warning that content filtering rules still applied.

        I received several emails of thanks. One employee contacted me several times throughout the day (and continued to email me at home) angry because she was being held to the same content filtering as our business machines. It’s an example of not being able to make everyone happy and proof that I should resist the urge to read email while relaxing at home.

        • Thanks for letting us know the outcome. It’s too bad that one employee focused her anger toward you when you were simply implementing the policies of the organization. It’s so true that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Yes, it’s always a good idea to try to leave work at the office whenever possible. Sometimes, as IT people, that’s hard to do!

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