I believe that an IT department's best tool for keeping customers happy is through communication. When I turn the monitors on, login, and begin the day's first task I expect to find what I need on the network quickly. I want to get my first task done and move on to the next. It's like flying - I want to get from point A to point B and then move on to the next trip. There is nothing worse than showing up for a flight to find it is delayed for some unknown amount of time and some unknown reason. I traveled two to three times a week during most of the nineties. Unfortunately this was probably the worst period for airline communications. This was the time of the big IT build-out, and IT was hearing the same thing the airlines were, "Tell me what the heck is going on!".
IT Service and Bragging Rights
IT services are much more reliable overall than when we were just figuring out how to deliver networks on a large scale. TCP/IP winning the protocol wars was a big step forward. Not that TCP/IP was the best layer 3 and 4 solution, it was the most widely accepted and the deal was done when Microsoft and Novell announced native support for TCP/IP. IT is by no means an easy job, you have to know a lot and be able to connect the dots in pressure situations. Coordinating hundreds of flights every day can't be easy either. I don't know if the airlines are actually doing better than they were 15 years ago, but I feel more confident traveling now because they have improved so much in communicating with passengers.
Here are three steps I see IT following today to make their users more confident when an issue arises:
- Detecting the issue.
- Assessing the impact.
- Communicating the issue to the users.
Then IT does something the airlines probably will never do; they ask you how your experience was. Not only that but they communicate the issue status all the way through to resolution.
IT Service Management Automation
If you have read many of my blogs, you know I'm a huge fan of automation in IT. Without automation the above steps would take a long time. So, what are the gears that make this automation possible?
- Network Management System (NMS) fault and performance alerting.
- NMS alert to Help Desk ticketing.
- Help Desk task management, messaging, and surveying.
When the above are all tied together, IT manual task and process overhead are greatly reduced and the user knows that IT sees the issue and is on it. With SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, Server and Application Monitor, and Web Help Desk you will have this covered.
Now if I could just stop the airlines from charging me for extra for some leg room......