In the service delivery and IT deployment world, we’re all still living in the fallout of COVID-19. Here’s what we mean, and what field services companies can do about it going forward.
COVID-19 & Its Ongoing Effects on IT Deployments
The pandemic shut down pretty much everything for a few months, and those early lockdowns feel like ancient history to most people by now. But, as anyone in the industry will tell you, you can’t just turn on the economy with the flip of a switch.
As quick-service restaurants and retail outlets came back online, so did their stalled IT deployment projects. But virtually every link in the chain leading up to a successful IT deployment faced its own issues and snags in attempting to come back online.
For example, when they came back online, factories struggled to fill backorders, let alone keep up with new demand. They faced their own labor and efficiency issues, too, sometimes leading to much slower production than in pre-pandemic times. Even if they had the necessary staff, adjustments for safer working conditions took time and affected efficiency.
These slow starts cascaded through the supply chain, making it hard even today for deployment professionals to source the needed items for stalled projects.
As if things weren’t complicated enough, businesses and brands didn’t stop queuing up new IT deployment projects. Instead, they more or less wanted to return to existing roadmaps, leaving service delivery professionals in a double bind.
Not only do businesses want your teams to deal with the backlog of stalled projects, but they also want you to start and complete new and future projects on time, too.
A Sensitive Time for Customer Satisfaction
The result of all this chaos is real pressure on customer satisfaction. You’re dealing with hard realities outside your control, but your customers and clients want results.
And even though they want those results fast, you know they don’t want speed to get in the way of end-customer satisfaction.
It’s a lot to balance. Here are our top strategies for doing so.
How to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Demand & Implement Transparency
When it comes to IT deployment, a few common business adages don’t hold up: “under-promise and over-deliver” isn’t going to work here since your customer most certainly won’t be thrilled if you show up to a project site weeks ahead of when you promised.
Neither does “Always say yes, then figure it out” lead to anything positive here.
Instead, transparency is the key. Get the most accurate and honest information from your customer as you can, and provide the same in return. Don’t guess at delivery dates or promise something you know isn’t likely to pan out.
Demand and implement transparency instead. Be open about the factors outside your control leading to delays, and give realistic answers to when you can meet service objectives.
Ask for Feedback
It’s been a rough couple of years for your team, but the same is true for every single individual at your customer’s company. If you’re getting the idea that your customer isn’t happy, a little human empathy can go a long way. Ask your customers for feedback about what success looks like to them at this point.
Yes, initial timelines didn’t happen, and the reasons are well-known. But what does success look like right now? You need to know what your customer thinks here before you can deliver that success.
Leverage Deployment Design
Deployment design can be a powerful strategy to tighten up both your execution schedule and your customer satisfaction results. We’ve described deployment design on the blog before, but here’s a refresher.
Deployment design goes beyond mere deployment planning, delving into the who, what, when, where, and how of every aspect of the deployment. So, where deployment planning might lay out a general timeframe for project completion, deployment design analyzes and documents the reasons for that timeframe and the business impacts of missing the time frame. Deployment design also dives down into which sites get updated when, factoring in blackout dates, available personnel and more.
For more on how deployment design can help you achieve customer satisfaction gains, check out our recent blog, Using Deployment Design to Execute Projects On A Compressed Time Frame.
Source & Vet Contingent Techs
As you navigate complex projects with a large geographical footprint (such as a regional or national retail IT deployment), you’re going to need to rely on contingent techs for on-site installation. These techs can give your firm a great reputation or a not-so-great one, so there’s a lot riding on the choice of contingent techs.
Vetting these techs becomes an essential part of achieving customer satisfaction, but it can be a monumental task.
Good news: there’s a better way.
When you partner with Kinettix, you gain access to our vast network of vetted contingent techs. We’ve already done this work for you across global regions, making Kinettix the global enablement partner you need for your stalled field services and IT deployment projects.
Ready to get started? Let’s talk.