The secret to a service experience that works for all ages? Choice
In 2017 it’s becoming more common to have four different generations working within a single organisation: from the boomers born in the 20 years following 1946 to the generation Z employees now making up an increasing proportion of the workforce.
While this is positive as far as diversity’s concerned, that diversity also translates into a complex mix of different wants and needs that organisations increasingly have to cater for. And this is particularly true when it comes to the way people interact with the service desk.
One thing we’re seeing is a huge trend towards younger people looking for a technology experience at work that reflects the one they have with consumer brands.
People’s expectations of how their technology should work for them are high – and rising.
Take Amazon’s use of predictive analytics to give people that personalised experience, for example, or Uber’s appeal to those wanting an on-demand service.
This is the kind of service we want to replicate in IT support: something fast and driven by insight. Something that knows who you are, what you really want and provides options – one-size-fits-all, prescribed support is no longer enough.
But this isn’t about generalising entire groups of people based only on their age.
It’s about offering choice – accommodating all ages, tastes and levels of technical ability by enabling them to choose the type of service that works for them as and when they need it.
Why does this matter?
There are two main benefits to offering more proactive and preventative IT services: increased productivity and higher retention of employees.
By empowering people to carry out find a fix (or execute one themselves) in a way that is quick and convenient for them, you free up more of their time and avoid them becoming stressed out or frustrated. This inevitably has a positive impact on their output.
But it’s also about retaining employees by providing a technology experience that reflects their increasingly high expectations. If somebody uses technology in a smooth and personalised way at home, why would they want to come to work and experience something clunky and unintuitive?
The right technology can also give a good first impression when somebody joins your organisation, ensuring they don’t have to navigate through several IT systems during those already stressful first days.
And this isn’t just about having the right tech – it’s a cultural shift.
We want the whole service experience to reflect the consumer one – for people to be able to engage when it’s convenient in a way that reflects their personal preferences.
That is why we have to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and offer choice.
So what does that freedom of choice looks like?
It simply means providing a wider range of services in parallel with each other to ensure nobody in the organisations feels alienated.
Some people want to learn how to carry out a fix themselves – if your radiator breaks these days you can simply search YouTube and you’ll quickly find any number of videos teaching you how to repair it, and we can apply these same principles to the service desk.
But other people would rather go down the traditional support route and speak directly with an engineer.
It’s not about saying one way is better than the other, but rather putting the power in employees’ hands in terms of which route they take. And the same person might want to use different options at different times depending on what’s convenient in that moment.
To provide an ever-greater level of choice and flexibility we’re increasingly rolling out technology like augmented reality (AR).
AR offers another quick and easy way for people to ‘self-learn’. By holding their mobile device above an AR sensor on a device or piece of equipment, real-time instructions can train them ‘on the job’ without the need to engage with an engineer or even go to Google.
As this kind of technology develops the service desk experience will become decreasingly disruptive. Again, this will likely have a hugely positive impact on productivity.
Hopefully I’ve done a good job of explaining why choice is so important when it comes to the service desk in a multi-generational organisation and how you can ensure you provide it.
But it’s important to stress this isn’t about killing off the old ways of doing things – it’s about running new services in parallel with existing ones to let people choose how they engage.
The traditional ‘middle’ of the service desk is dying – you’ve got premium, face-to-face interaction at one end and automated or self-serve solutions at the other.
But if you can get both those high and low-end services right, you’ll be one step closer to workforce in which people of all ages are happy with their technology experience at work.
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