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Towards Qualitative Customer Satisfaction

Towards Qualitative Customer Satisfaction

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Published by TOPdesk

Within the last fifteen years, the role of IT service has experienced explosive growth. What began as a small group of system administrators, who managed the network behind the scenes, has grown to become a valuable department, which has a central place within the organization. For IT organizations, providing good service is now more important than it ever was, with satisfied customers being a measure for success. Yet as contact with the client grows in intensity, IT service providers continue to measure the quality of their service without involving the client.

Within the last fifteen years, the role of IT service has experienced explosive growth. What began as a small group of system administrators, who managed the network behind the scenes, has grown to become a valuable department, which has a central place within the organization. For IT organizations, providing good service is now more important than it ever was, with satisfied customers being a measure for success. Yet as contact with the client grows in intensity, IT service providers continue to measure the quality of their service without involving the client.

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Published by: TOPdesk on Feb 11, 2013
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09/17/2013

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THEME 
7
A Brief History of IT
In order to understand the essenceof IT service delivery, you canbest compare it with a magictrick. Magicians are renowned formaking things that are tangibleand visible simply disappear. ITspecialists, in contrast, work inthe reverse order. By measuringthe quality of their services, theyattempt to make ‘invisible services’as visible as possible.The trend to make IT service‘visible’ can be best illustratedbased on the development that ITILhas undergone in the last coupleof decades. The series of books onITIL were compiled in response tothe need to improve the way inwhich IT services were described
Towards qualitative clientsatisfaction
TEXT:
 
GÖKHAN TUNA
Within the last fteen years, the role of IT service has
experienced explosive growth. What began as a smallgroup of system administrators, who managed thenetwork behind the scenes, has grown to become avaluable department, which has a central place withinthe organization. For IT organizations, providing goodservice is now more important than it ever was, with
satised customers being a measure for success. Yet
as contact with the client grows in intensity, IT serviceproviders continue to measure the quality of their servicewithout involving the client.
and set out. ITIL version 1 wasreleased at the beginning of the1980s, during which the emphasiswas exclusively on managingthe technology. During thisdecade, IT organizations delivered
sufcient added value, as long
as everything, from a technicalpoint of view, ran smoothly. Themaintenance and developmentof the IT infrastructure took placepredominantly in the background.The second version of ITIL wasreleased in the mid 1990s. Itcapitalized on a resolute change of mentality from the managementof technology to the managementof services. The reason for thischange was that organizationswere becoming increasinglydependent on IT to reach theirobjectives. By offering technicalinnovations, the IT departmentenabled the business to realizeits objectives more effectively.The contact between the ITorganization and the client grewin intensity and, as a result, theservice delivery was moved to theforeground.The third version of ITIL has beenaround since 2007. In this latest
version, the entire eld of service
management is laid out. The ITorganization is no longer theinvisible team that it once was,delivering and supporting onlyautomation tools. IT support, incontrast, has become an essentialpart of the organization and
 
8
THEME
responds to the prevailing demandfor information technology. TheIT organization and the businessare involved in a continual process
of nding the balance between
supply and demand.
Delivering Quality
The IT organization must be ableto deal with rapidly changingtechnological developments,while the commercial need of itsclients changes at the same time.This tension between supply anddemand puts IT managers underconstant pressure to prove thattheir service is client-oriented.Nowadays, the magic word inservice delivery is quality. But whatexactly is quality?Scholars distinguish roughly threeapproaches to describe the conceptof quality. First, the philosophicalpoint of view: In Zen and theArt of Motorcycle Maintenance(1974) Robert Pirsig describesquality simply as ‘excellence’. Onerecognizes quality when facedwith it, but cannot explain it. Forexample, “Music composed byBeethoven is of a high quality, butwe still don’t know why”.
1
Froma theoretical point of view, thisapproach is perhaps interesting, yet virtually unusable in practicebecause quality, according to this
denition, cannot be accounted for
nor measured.The second – technical –approach is exactly the opposite.According to this approach, of which Frederick W. Taylor laid thefoundations in ‘The Principles of 
Scientic Management’ (1911),
quality can be seen as an objectivestandard that can be measured.In this case, any divergence fromthe standard means a reduction inquality.Finally, the client-oriented
approach leaves the denition of 
quality up to the client. Quality isthus subjective and depends onthe client’s individual experience.
According to the denition of 
Joseph M. Juran, expert in qualitymanagement, the quality of aservice is good when the client isconvinced that it’s good.
The Technical Approach
Currently, numerous ITorganizations use the technicalapproach to measure the qualityof their IT services. By employingobjective quality standards,organizations can acquire insightinto the technical quality of theservice: How many questions arebeing answered successfully?How many disruptions are beingrestored? How many bugs are
being xed? To guarantee this
quality, checklists of qualitystandards are drawn up; forexample, the telephone at the helpdesk must be answered withinthree rings.To a certain extent, this is a usefulmethod of measuring quality;however, it is no guarantee forsuccess. In the example above,help desk employees could answerall incoming calls within thegiven three rings, only to put thecustomer on hold. Sure, the qualityrequirement is met – the phonedidn’t ring more than three times– but has a good service actuallybeen delivered? Figures areconjured up out of thin air, creatingthe illusion that the service hasbeen made measurable. Thedanger of this technical approachis that help desk employees aim tomeet the quality standard, withoutit actually leading to a generalimprovement of the service.
Whether the client is satised
with the provided service doesnot depend on what is delivered(the technical quality), but also onhow the service is provided (thefunctional quality). The telephonemight be answered quickly, butis the help desk employee at theother end of the line actuallyfriendly? Does he or she use toomuch jargon? And if the clientis offered a solution, is his or herschedule taken into account?
The Client-orientedApproach
Research reveals that it is exactlythis functional quality that isdecisive in the perception of clients.
2
The reason for this isthe nature of providing service:services are not tangible, but areeffected as the result of interactionwith the client. The client is oneinseparable component of theservice. Therefore organizationsthat wish to gain real insight intothe quality of their service, shouldthen consider applying a client-oriented approach. What does theclient think of the service? If anIT organization is really strivingfor client satisfaction, then the
“Quality is subjective and depends on theclient’s individual experience”
 
 
THEME 
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