DAILY INSIGHT: We closed another work order, but does anyone know if the customer's happy?

By Steve Young, CIO Advisor

With school budgets being filleted and diced year after year, many school districts’ IT departments have spent a lot of time trimming fat, cutting products, and squeezing budgets and employees for efficiency. One of the big dangers of all this cutting is that we will lose sight of the end goal—keeping our customers happy.

This year in our IT department we wanted to step back and look at how our customers perceived our day-to-day work. So we embarked on creating a simple tool to measure how well we were doing for every work order we completed. Every day, we send surveys to customers when their work orders are closed. The survey simply asks customers if their problem was solved and five questions about our service.

An interesting by product of this measurement is that we now have a way to identify customers who had a bad experience, and we can try to go back and work on making the issue right or reopen a work order if their problem was not solved to their satisfaction the first time around.

Each weekend, all help desk technicians (all of our IT staff) get a report showing how they did for the week. They also get a list of free-form comments left by customers, both happy and unhappy. Additionally, each staff member also gets to see where they rank in relation to their colleagues. The openness of this data has certainly caused many of us to step back and think about how we are interacting with those we serve. It may be simple courtesies while on the phone or writing out our work-order solutions with correct grammar in complete sentences, but either way the end result should be a better customer experience.

In the end, paying attention to the many details is what builds a great team and great customer service, which we do not want to sacrifice, even in the name of efficiency in lean times.

Steve Young is CTO of Judson ISD in Texas and founder of the San Antonio Area Technology Directors group.He blogs at CTO Technotes, where this is cross posted. Follow him on Twitter as @atemyshorts.