Roeland van Rijswijk
Service Management Consultant
What do IT customer satisfaction and the cloud have in common? A co-worker recently asked me to explain the relationship between the two in 300 words or less. No problem! The cloud enables service providers to achieve better customer satisfaction. There you go, a mere 10 words.
More focus and time for customer satisfaction
Living up to (or better yet, exceeding) expectations, that’s what customer satisfaction is all about. Knowing and understanding customers’ needs is not a one-off affair, but requires constant attention. That is, if you want your customers to be satisfied and stay satisfied.
But in the world of IT, we tend to have our hands full with the ‘T’ in IT, namely technology. Maintaining and improving the technological side of things often takes the forefront, while information about what customers really need sometimes goes unacknowledged.
By outsourcing the technological preconditions, we’re able to save time and focus on what customers really need. Cloud providers are constantly getting better at supporting IT service providers, enabling those service providers to support their own customers better in turn.
Innovation without worries
When you move applications to the cloud, thus outsourcing technical management, you’ll soon find that your lack of time in the past was bigger than you ever realized. Applications are suddenly updated much more regularly (without any disturbance to the services being offered to users). New functionalities become available much more quickly than when applications are managed in-house.
With in-house management, applications are often several versions behind. IT organisations simply do not have time to continuously update the entire range of applications being used.
Offering cloud applications ensures that you are always able to stay up to date in terms of functionality, which will benefit customers as well.
Cloud applications are often subject to continuous development, meaning that small changes to their functionality are constantly being tested and implemented. Unlike with a large overdue update, these gradual changes ensure that users do not end up suddenly being unable to navigate their applications and forced to get to know them all over again. The improvements are made at a reasonable pace for users to keep up with.
Consumers have experienced similar gradual changes for many years in the many web-based applications they use and the apps on their phones. So much so that consumers have come to expect continuous development for technology in general.
Customers choose to go with the cloud themselves
Since the rise of the Internet, all of us have quickly gotten used to the ready availability and user-friendliness of all sorts of web services. Hotmail, Google, Wikipedia, Picasa... Some services have since disappeared, some have stayed, new ones have emerged...
More and more, the solutions we use privately are becoming the go-to solutions for the workplace as well. LinkedIn, Evernote, Dropbox, SurveyMonkey and Prezi have entered the workplace and have quietly become part of the IT landscape – but often without support by IT. As a result, IT users have encountered integration dilemmas of their own, but they tend to put up with minor issues due to the overall ease.
Nowadays, many of these services have developed (competing) ‘for business’ varieties, and service providers entice users with their seemingly coherent and integrated offering of various apps. A growing number of applications we use at work are already cloud-based.
IT providers shouldn’t leave early adaptors to find their own way among the growing number of apps, but act as a consultant for customers by providing guidelines for usage and advice to aid decision-making. This way, IT departments provide customers with the IT environment that they truly expect.
The role of the IT service provider
Organisation-specific IT service delivery can also benefit from the cloud. The cloud can be used to compile more information. Big data and Artificial Intelligence can then enable IT services and businesses to achieve better results. This way, both IT services and businesses can achieve greater customer satisfaction.
The opportunities afforded by the cloud are rapidly exceeding the opportunities afforded by an isolated environment, and this change has been unfolding for many years now.
Carefree use of the cloud?
To what extent is use of the cloud carefree these days? How safe is strategic and private information in the cloud? Does use of the cloud compromise our compliance with regulations? Could it make us dependent on third parties that may entrap us for long periods on end? Will combining information managed by various parties be even more difficult than it is today?
In short, do the advantages and opportunities offered by the cloud weigh up against the risks and the effort of managing it? Or do IT providers actually end up with more worries instead of less?
Use the cloud to improve customer satisfaction
The extent to which a service provider can be satisfied about the cloud themselves depend on the extent to which they are able to trust the cloud. That is why it is so important to understand and be able to enforce the right conditions for being able to trust cloud services. Luckily, the providers of cloud services realize that same thing; being demonstrably reliable is part of their business model.
However, IT providers too will have to familiarize themselves with the cloud to be able to satisfy their customers’ needs. Those who neglect taking the first steps towards working in the cloud now, will have to fight harder to achieve customer satisfaction in the future.
Want more inspiration on how to improve Customer Experience?
We shared quite some best practices on Customer Experience and what you can do to improve yours. Some highlights:
- Blog: Improving your Service Desk Customer Experience in 2018
- Blog: 10 steps to map a customer journey for your service desk - part 1
- Ebook: Customer Centricity