Renske van der Heide, TOPdesk’s Happy Workplace Evangelist, explains how to create a happier workplace for your internal customers. In this blog, she breaks down how to get to know your internal customers, why interdepartmental collaboration between IT and FM is more important now than ever before, and how AI can make for a friendlier service experience (and no, we aren’t talking about chatbots).
As a Happy Workplace Evangelist, I spend most of my days talking to ITSM and ESM professionals about the importance of putting your internal customers - the employees working within your organization - first. I’ve given lectures, joined roundtables, and written articles about why prioritizing employees’ happiness is the best thing you can do for your business. I’m convinced that if you make it your mission to delight your internal customers, they will become more engaged, more creative, and more connected. Ultimately, they will do better work. This applies to every industry. And I believe IT management professionals can play a vital role in making this happen.
Here are my 5 top tips on going the extra mile for your internal customers:
1. Get to know them, but don't bombard them with questions.
Before you can start making your internal customers happy, you first need to understand who they are. There are several ways you can go about this, but my preferred route is via contextual enquiry: observing and interviewing people in an unstructured way. Rather than preparing a full-on survey, go in with a single research question. For example: how are my internal customers using the tool we recently implemented? With this question in mind, spend some time with them, either remotely or (even better) in person. Ask them what they’re doing and make note of their daily tasks and how they perform them. This unintrusive approach allows you to really step into your internal customers’ shoes and find out what makes them tick.
2. Talk to the employees that never use your IT services.
Panel discussions are a great way to get a clear picture of your internal customers’ wants and needs, especially when you’re redesigning or upgrading your services. But if you’re only involving the end users who are logging calls daily, you’re getting a very limited picture. And, if they’re already power users, you’re wasting your energy by encouraging them to make use of the services; there’s no point preaching to the converted.
Once you involve the employees that log in less often (or not at all), you’ll get an idea of some of the things that might be holding them back, and how you can improve your uptake. Plus, by listening to a diverse group of users with different ideas and backgrounds, you’ll not only get a clearer overview of your user base, but you might even create new ambassadors for your services within the organization.
3. Want to improve employees’ digital experience? Start working with other departments.
There is a common belief in the field of IT service management that the world needs to learn from ITSM, but it shouldn’t be a one-way street. This has become even more apparent over the last year, as departments have been forced to work together to ensure that remote workers have a smooth digital experience.
With most people working from home, things that were once taken care of by FM departments are now being handled by IT. For example, when organizing a brainstorming session for a project group, employees might have previously asked FM to arrange a meeting room with a whiteboard. Now, workers rely on IT to give them access to collaboration software like Miro to achieve the same result. At the same time, physical offices are also getting smarter, as apps and sensors designed to help employees stay safe and maintain social distance become a fixture in many workspaces. Here, IT professionals have an important role to play in ensuring that this technology not only functions properly but is also safe and secure.
These are just two examples of the areas in which IT and FM departments should be sharing knowledge in order to maximize their strengths and create a better experience for employees. And, if the recent digital transformation has shown us anything, this kind of collaboration will become even more important moving forward. So, if you’re looking for ways to go the extra mile for your internal customers, push for more interdepartmental collaboration. By sharing your insights, you’ll be better equipped to make the changes that bring employees the most value.
4. Remember that staying connected is about much more than online meetings.
With so many people working from home, it’s important that service departments find ways to remind employees that they’re part of something bigger. At TOPdesk, employees from HR, FM, and IT worked together to create the TOPdesk Energizing Weeks, our solution to the lockdown winter blues. Colleagues and external specialists ran sessions for two whole weeks to help TOPdeskers get creative, get moving, and have fun while working remotely. IT made it possible to have multiple streams running at once so that employees could choose between tuning in to live cooking classes, dance workshops, career skills talks, and much more. And, thanks to the professional studio setup that IT helped to produce, TOPdeskers enjoyed a daily morning show hosted by colleagues that would rival any network programme.
At this point, employees are getting tired of watching PowerPoint slides and awkward screen-sharing. If you’re looking for more ways to delight your internal customers, consider setting up a permanent in-house studio or streaming solution. Getting the latest company news via a high-quality stream will be sure to help people feel more engaged and connected. And it’s a lot more fun for everyone involved.
5. Automate your service desk and spend more time wowing your internal customers.
When it comes to implementing AI into services, there is a common misconception that, by reducing the number of human touchpoints, you’re creating a cold, unfriendly experience for customers. In reality, automating repetitive manual tasks gives human beings the time to focus on the things that they’re good at, like being empathic and creative, strategizing, and innovating. In other words: automation helps create a better customer experience.
Airports provide a perfect example here. Travellers used to spend time at the check-in desk watching staff fill out forms, scan passports, and print boarding passes. Now that the checking-in process is fully automated, airline staff can talk to customers, ask how they are doing, and even brighten up their day.
By automating something like a password reset or implementing a priority matrix to reduce time spent prioritizing tasks, you can spend more time doing the things I just mentioned: innovating, understanding your customer, and creating a happier workplace.
These are just a few of the ways that IT Managers can make a real difference to the lives of their internal customers. And this is by no means a comprehensive list. As you put these 5 tips for a happier workplace into practice, I’d encourage you to put your energy towards finding out what works best for your organization’s employees. Throw out your assumptions and be curious. You never know what you might find out.
Ready to start making a difference for your internal customer?
TOPdesk SEE is back with another online event on 15 June 2021. Sign up for free to hear from keynote speakers, ITSM thought leaders, and customer happiness experts about how to transform your service desk’s CX.