How to Deliver Technical Support that Delights the End User, Part Two

In part two of my series on delighting the end user, we’ll talk about how to provide dependable and reliable service.

Users say they want dependable and reliable service when they contact the help desk. How can you ensure they say you do that? In this article, I’ll show you several simple and practical techniques for providing dependable and reliable service to your end users.

Dependable and reliable service means providing consistently accurate answers and follow-through on your promises. Your end users should consistently get the courteous, pleasant and knowledgeable service every time they contact the Help Desk. Under Promise and Over Deliver-To accomplish dependable and reliable service, consider adopting the motto “Under-promise; over-deliver.” This familiar guideline reminds you to set expectations with your users at a reasonable level, but one at which you can consistently exceed their expectations. That means giving yourself and your co-workers a cushion when fulfilling promises to users. For example, if you need to research a problem for a user, and you think you can call them back in two hours, discipline yourself to tell the user that you will get back to them in, for example, four hours. This helps you account for those unexpected emergencies that might come up, yet still meet your user’s expectations. Some of the airlines are using this technique in establishing their schedules. They know, for example, that under ideal conditions, a particular flight will take two hours. They schedule the flight, however, for two hours and fifteen minutes. That allows them to arrive on time, even when they leave a few minutes late. It’s about planning for the unplanned. Using this technique, your users will be wowed, and you will maintain your sanity (and build a great reputation!).

Keep Your Emotions under Control-This means that you don’t let things get to you. Your users know that whenever they call, you’ll always be level-headed and ready to help solve their problem. Sure, life has its ups and downs, but your users don’t need to know about your life’s ups and downs. Keep it professional and stay level-headed; let your users grow to expect consistency every time they call. The same concept applies when you’re not feeling well or in pain. No one wants to hear about someone else’s aches and pains, especially not your users. Put on your game face and wow them with your service. If you’re too sick or in too much pain to put on your game face, why are you at work? (And, while we’re on the subject, when you’re sick with something contagious, stay home. Your colleagues at the office will appreciate you for helping keep the work area healthy and disease free.)

Always Do What You Say You’ll Do-When you tell a user that you’ll get back to her in 24 hours, get back to her in 24 hours (or less). Sometimes, things don’t happen the way you expect: Shipments don’t arrive, your sources of information don’t get back to you, an office is closed, and so forth. Most people understand that things like that happen; they don’t, however, understand that you didn’t call them back when you said you would. Even when you don’t have new information, call the user back when you say you will or stop by his office when you say you will. The fact that you uphold your word, even on the most seemingly inconsequential things, will speak volumes to your colleagues about your character and the kind of person you are. How you handle the little things tells your bosses, customers, and colleagues how you’ll handle the big things. Similar to the concept of under-promise and over-deliver, this is the concept of “promise little; do much”.

Dependable and reliable service is about consistency; it’s letting your users grow to expect outstanding service every time they request help. Day-in and day-out, you consistently deliver service that delights. If fact, you’re so consistent in delighting your users that they take you for granted. And that’s a good thing!

In part three of this series, I’ll give you several ways to ensure that your end users say you’re responsive to their needs.

Copyright (c) 2007 Don R. Crawley