Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IT Managed Services and Waffle House


So now you're thinking - What the hell does Waffle House have to do with IT Managed Services. Give me a minute and let me 'splain it a bit!

When you go into a Waffle House, immediately you get greeted at the door. Good morning! Welcome to Waffle House! If the place is full, you may have a door corps person to seat you in waiting chairs and fetch you coffee or juice while you're waiting.

When you get to the table, the Waitress sets up your silverware and ensures you have something to drink. Asks you if you have decided on what you'd like.

When they get your order, they call in to the cook what you'd like to eat.

A few minutes later, food arrives, drinks get refilled, and things are taken care of.

Pretty straightforward, don't you think? One needs to look at the behaviors and mannerisms od successful customer service representatives to see what behaviors are needed in IT Managed Services.

1. The Customer is acknowledged and engaged at the earliest possible moment.

2. Even if there are no open tables, work begins to establish a connection and a level of trust.

3. The CSR establishes a dialog and works to further the trust and connection. To the customer, they are made to feel like they are the most important customer in the place. (Focus, eye contact. Setting expectations. Assisting where necessary.)

4. They call in the order to the cook. First, meats are pulled as they take longer to cook. Next, if you watch closely, the cook lays out the order using a plate marking system. The customer then prepares the food according to the plate markings.

5. Food is delivered. Any open ends are closed. (drinks)

6. Customer finishes. Customer is engaged again to address any additional needs.

7. Customer pays out. Satisfied.

All too often, we get IT CSRs that don't readily engage customers. As soon as they assess the problem, they escalate to someone else. This someone else then calls the customer back, reiterates the situation, then begins work. When they cannot find the problem or something like a supply action of technician dispatch needs to occur, the customer gets terminated and re-initiated by the new person in the process.

In Waffle House, if you got waited on by a couple of different waitresses and the cook, how inefficient would that be? How confusing would that be as a customer? Can you imagine the labor costs to support 3 different wait staff even in slow periods? How long would Waffle House stay in business?

Regarding the system of calling and marking out product... This system is a process thats taught to EVERY COOK and Wait staff person in EVERY Waffle House EVERYWHERE. The process is tried, vetted, optimized, and implemented. And the follow through is taken care of by YOUR Wait person. The one thats focused on YOU, the Customer.

I wish I could take every Service provider person and manager and put them through 90 days of Waffle House Boot Camp. Learn how to be customer focused. Learn urgency of need, customer engagement, trust, and services fulfillment. If you could thrive at Waffle House and take with you the customer lessons, customer service in an IT environment should be Cake.

And it is living proof that workflow can be very effective even at a very rudimentary level.

1 comment:

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