A helpless desk. IT support personal builds strong support relationship only to get in trouble with established system of performance. [Advice Line by Bob Lewis]
A reader writes to Bob Lewis about a information technology (IT) support person who is regularly praised for great performance and attitude, but is pressured by his manager to stay within the ticket tracking system. Most IT departments have a centralized tracking system, but frequently technicians handle end-users problems directly without tracking them-- even develop relationships with those supported doing work above and beyond the call of duties.
It is possible for strong business relationships to harm business practice. In this example, the IT technicians willingness to support key end-users is appreciated, but not tracking such efforts in a ticket system leaves the company blind. Often tracking systems are in place to support measurements that justify action-- while a end-user might want an immediate response, balance must be maintained by using the system.
This balance comes by knowing how much effort is taken in support of the overall end-user (customer) base. Details from tracking systems help determine budgetary requirements and provide reasonable measures of delays in the support effort. If some technicians aren't accounting for efforts, then those efforts may not be budgeted later. (This harms both end-user and support personal)
If you find friction developing between outstanding performers and their following of procedures, you've found a sign your system needs adjusted. Often those praised by end-users are censured by their own managers, this stress limits long-term productivity. Their managers focus is on tracking, while the support personal is on the end-user's satisfaction.
To reduce this friction, look at both how the system is used by the technician and the end-user. Identify ways to make the system easier to use, and simplify the tracking of new information. Also, educate end-users about the importance of the system to having these resources available in the future.
Managers must understand the individual isn't necessarily at fault for providing praise-worthy service, but not following the guidelines of a tracking system. If happy end-users is what is desired, then work on making the tracking system easier for all involved to use.
Instead of putting pressure on those most liked by end-users but least likely to track work-- look for the medium that supports happy end-users and metrics collection. After all, both are very important to sustained performance.
/ customer-service | employee-relations /
By Justin Hitt at October 6, 2003 6:03 PM Subscribe in a reader