With customer expectations on the rise, it’s more important than ever for IT departments like yours to put customers – and their needs – first.
But in practice, IT departments typically focus too much on processes. Not to say that processes aren’t important, because they are. But customers should always be part of the equation.
Adapt or fall behind: embracing flexibility in IT processes for evolving customer needs
Think about it: your customers’ needs are constantly changing based on their experiences with B2C organizations, technological improvements and bigger changes in the world.
Does it make sense, then, for your IT department to have rigid processes in place that you cling to with all of your might – even if these processes don’t actually help you meet your customers’ needs?
Introducing Best Practice Service Management (BPSM)
Instead, your IT department should focus on iterative improvement: taking small steps to improve your services based on customer needs, with processes being a part of the puzzle – not the end game.
In comes Best Practice Service Management (BPSM). BPSM is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: delivering services based on best practices, which will help your IT department become more efficient and more customer-focused – all at the same time.
It’s based on three principles:
- Using services as your starting point
- Using as few processes as possible
- Using customer needs as your guiding principle
Start with the services you already offer
Best Practice Service Management is based on the services you already offer your customers. This is the most logical approach: after all, your customers don’t care which internal processes you follow (and whether you’re into ITIL or Knowledge Centered Support). They just want you to help them.
Don’t fall into the trap of only thinking about how to best implement specific processes. Use the services you offer as your starting point instead. If you’re not sure which services your IT department does and doesn’t support, you can’t control your team’s workload. Standardizing your services and recording them in a service catalogue will help your team spend less of their time and energy on handling requests and improve the efficiency of your IT support.
BPSM will help your IT department become more efficient and more customer-focused.
Limit the number of supporting processes
Once you have a clear overview of all of the services your department offers, the next question is: what do you need to support these services? That’s where processes come in. But only the ones you actually need to deliver your services and meet customer needs.
Because let’s be honest: do you need 103910 different processes to do your job?
ITIL, for example, is a great framework. But because it has so many different processes, sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. If you stick to ITIL alone, you may have to go through up to four different processes to resolve a simple request, causing unnecessary delays for the customer. (Find out more about why you should use ITIL as a framework and not a set of rules in this blog.)
Best Practice Service Management, on the other hand, only has a few supporting processes:
- Reactive management: a process for questions about services your department supports
- Relation management: a process for questions about services your department doesn’t support
- The change process: a process that allows you to make changes to your standardized services, based on customer needs, for example.
- Two follow-up processes: proactive management, through which you can proactively maintain your services, and a process to iteratively improve your services.
BPSM in practice
Here’s what BPSM looks like in practice:
Your customer has a request.
If this request is about one of your standard services, you simply process it according to current agreements (reactive management).
If the request concerns a service that isn’t available, explain to the customer why you can’t (or can’t yet) provide the service and offer them a different solution (relation management). Or adjust your current service to meet your customers’ needs via the change process.
Once these reactive processes are under control, you have the time to invest in maintaining your services periodically to ensure you can keep offering them (proactive management). And don’t forget to improve your services based on frequent disruptions, new technology, or changed legislation, for example. But remember: it’s all about iterative improvement, not a quick fix.
Implement BPSM in just 5 steps
Ready to bid process control goodbye and say hello to customer-focused IT services and iterative improvement? Download our Best Practice Service Management e-book to get started with BPSM in just 5 simple steps.