By Cassa Niedringhaus Posted January 23, 2020
One of the key challenges IT professionals face is building trust in their departments as they’re flooded with tickets and blamed when tools break. However, one of the ways to bridge the gap is by providing quality customer service, in which the “customers” are organizational users. That’s why we’ve put together an IT guide to building a customer service-driven department.
JumpCloud’s IT Support Engineer, Ryan Bacon, shared some of the lessons he’s learned in his career as a system administrator and the ways he’s striven to build customer service-driven IT departments. He’s found that doing so can increase trust, decrease shadow IT, and help companies do work better.
Foster Trust in the IT Department
Admins should be responsive and friendly, as well as work to build rapport with their customers: end users. Bacon pointed out that it’s not just beneficial to the users — it’s also a good way to monitor how resources are functioning across the company.
“If you want people to come to you to fix problems, and even tell you about problems, they need to trust that you’re not going to talk down to them, that you’re going to put forth your best effort to fix these problems,” he said.
At a previous job, Bacon worked to build trust in a department that had dwindled before he started. He’d go to fix something, and, while he was there, someone would ask him to fix other problems (like a printer that hadn’t been working for months). Users had avoided IT rather than alert the department to problems or seek solutions.
As he built trust, Bacon found that users began to go through the proper channels to gain access to their resources or raise a red flag when a service was malfunctioning.
“One of the big reasons why shadow IT becomes a problem is that people don’t feel comfortable going through the proper channels,” Bacon said. “You’re never going to fully do away with shadow IT, but one of the biggest weapons against it is trust.”
Trust is a valuable tool for preventing shadow IT, but how does an admin foster it? Bacon suggests that a good helpdesk system is the place to start.
Implement a Streamlined Helpdesk System
In the past, Bacon didn’t see many distinguishing features between helpdesk systems.
“Past experience for me has been that a helpdesk system is a helpdesk system is a helpdesk system,” he said.
However, he’s seen gains in a Slack®-native helpdesk system, Halp, that’s streamlined for both users and the IT department.
Users can send a Slack message to anyone on the IT team or post a request in the IT support channel regardless of their issue without worrying whether it warrants a ticket or not. This reduces internal friction by keeping people in the space they are already communicating in daily, instead of pushing them to a form or other program to get help. It also has some key traits of a good system –– including a functional log and record-keeping.
Halp’s system can be further bolstered with existing Slack features, such as automated recommendations to common questions like the guest WiFi password, all while keeping a personal touch by allowing the user to edit the response before sending it.
“A properly implemented helpdesk is a tool that is very easy for the end user to use and very easy for the technician to use,” he said.
The number of helpdesk tickets has increased, but Bacon said he’s transparent with users about whether the ticket is critical and when the department will be able to address it. This is a strong way to build trust, as it gives users insight into the department and its processes.
Use Tools to Equip End Users
Bacon recommended finding other tools — beyond the Slack-native helpdesk system — to equip users.
“Frankly, I think JumpCloud is a great tool for that sort of stuff,” he said.
He cited JumpCloud’s password self-service functionality. Users can change their passwords themselves through the JumpCloud User Portal, and Mac® users specifically can change their passwords through the Mac app nested in their toolbars.
Another example was that he could use the JumpCloud platform to push printer access to the systems of users who struggled with set-up after the move to JumpCloud’s new facility in Louisville, Colorado.
“That gives a good experience,” he said, “and when they have problems in the future or have needs in the future they can say, ‘Hey, all these other times I’ve interacted with IT, things have been smooth and easy. I have no reason not to go to IT with this problem now.’”
If you’d like to hear more from Bacon, check out our Q&A with him: “Through the Lens of Our Very Own IT Admin.” He talks about what it’s like to help transform a key piece of technology in the industry and gives advice on other IT-related topics.