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It’s surprising how many IT organizations still rely solely on email and phone calls to channel customer service requests. You may as well ask people to put the request on paper and mail it to you. Yes, phone calls are good to get, but you don’t want your team picking up every call. You want the opportunity to prioritize service in advance of a telephone call.

There are many extremes but here’s a list of the minimum/optimal that an organization requires having excellent, effective customer service. On the scale of minimum to optimum here’s my list:

  1. Phone access. You’ve got to have quick phone access, but this is the least desirable method of communication – right up there with snail mail.
    • Centralize the calls through a reception point and store the request in a service ticket where they can be prioritized and distributed.
    • Phone access is the below the minimum and least desirable, and if it’s your only method of taking inbound requests you’re in trouble!
  2. Email. Customers should be able to send you an email and have it go directly into your incident management system as a ticket or service request. Email, in many cases, will represent the interchange of information between customer and technician in a larger issue. Email shouldn’t be necessary otherwise. (Don’t we all get enough email nowadays?)
  3. A Customer Self-Service Portal: Your launching point for all customer inbound and outbound activity. ◦Here is a place for customers to find ALL interactions with IT service and to add service requests.
    • Deflects many of the telephone calls/emails that are routinely received by your team. In some cases up to 50% fewer calls
    • Customers are typically happier with the service that they receive when they self-serve.
  4. Online chat. Online chat systems can all but eliminate telephone calls and emails.
    • 79% prefer it because their questions are answered immediately, while 51% prefer live chat because they can multitask.
    • Improved efficiencies gained by the IT team are significant.
  5. How about a Twitter Feed? Yes, this is the preferred method of communication by boomers and the current generation.
  6. Text Messaging. The current generation born after ’82 prefer text messaging above all else.
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In conclusion, your portal is a group of communication methods and channels all activity through it for the customer to manage, reflect on, research, etc. It should include all inbound tickets coming from phone calls, emails or form generated.

I invite you also to consider adding online chat, Twitter feeds and text messaging. Your costs may go up in technology, but your team will be able to do more, and your customer satisfaction levels will increase.


ITIL®, ITSM, USMBOK are all fantastic ways of organizing your IT teams, providing great tools and moving your customer service into the impressive range but where do you start. Read and enjoy!

See the portal in action by scheduling a demo.

Claus Skaanning. (2005, November). The costs and benefits of customer self-service. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from The Wise Marketer: http://www.thewisemarketer.com/features/read.asp?id=83

Tricia Morris. (2012, June 7). Live Chat’s Bubble is On the Rise in 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from www.parature.com: http://www.parature.com/live-chats-bubble-rise-2012/

Vaughn Rachal. (2010, January 31). Choosing how to communicate best…. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from www.sales-fx.com: http://sales-fx.com/choosing-how-to-best-communicate/ (defunct)

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