Improve Internal IT

If you think it hard to retain IT talent, spare a thought for the leader of customer service. 83% of customer service agents feel overworked and 62% consider quitting. IT cannot give them a pay rise or remove obnoxious customers, but we can give them useful IT systems.

28% of customer service workers agree completely or somewhat that their IT systems help them do their job. That leaves 7 out of 10 who feel their IT is working against them. When was the last time you sent an expedition out into the trenches of your organization to find out what was bothering your users the most? Sometimes, there are little things that IT can easily do to dramatically improve the effectiveness of internal IT.

Fancy or Usable?

Do you want something that works or something that looks fancy? Sometimes, these two objectives come into conflict. Too often, the IT professionals can’t imagine a solution that does not involve touchscreens and mobile apps.

I’m staying in an upscale hotel in New York this week, and the control panel for heating and lighting is definitely old-school. But it works. And it can be understood and operated by every age group likely to frequent the hotel.

Meanwhile, back in Denmark, we are currently rolling out a new central authentication system. You will have to figure it out in order to do online banking or access public services. It was designed by tech-savvy young people and is very fancy. Too bad it has left hundreds of thousands of non-computer-literate citizens desperately calling the understaffed phone helpline.

Are you sure the solutions you roll out have been tested by the entire target audience?

Don’t Whine, Fix the Problem

In a rare communication misstep, Tesla is on the wrong side of public opinion for once. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested a recall of 158,000 cars because Tesla is using cheap memory chips that fail after a few years. That leaves one of the screens in the car blank, making the user unable to activate features like defrosting the windshield. Tesla has now grudgingly issued the recall, but whines that “It is economically … infeasible to expect that such components can or should be designed to last the vehicle’s entire useful life.”

If you have cut corners and delivered a defective product or service, and you are called out on it, the right way to communicate is not to whine that it’s too expensive to do it right. Steve Jobs was exceptionally charismatic and could get away with telling iPhone users “you’re holding it wrong.” Everybody else should just apologise and fix the problem.