ITSM

How IT Affects Your Customer Experience Strategy (And Bottom Line)

How IT Affects Your Customer Experience Strategy (And Bottom Line)

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Customer Experience Management Matters

You might think of IT service management (ITSM) as an internal process that only affects the employees of your organization. However, a good (or bad) ITSM strategy can trickle down through your company’s internal pathways, and also impact your customer experience—regardless of your customer experience strategy. Through this channel, your ITSM strategy can affect your business’s bottom line, as well. Without a healthy bottom line, it’s hard to justify, well… much of anything, in terms of budget.  

So, for the sake of your customers, and for the sake of all your organization’s stakeholders (both internal, and external) it’s crucial to understand how IT and ITSM affects your customer experience strategy, and through it, your business’s bottom line.  Solid customer experience management should be a part of all internal departments’ strategy for success, no matter how present the customer may or may not seem.

Customer Interaction With Your IT Systems & Services

By and large, customers are affected by ITSM in two primary ways. They are affected directly through mobile apps, website, SaaS, and other direct points of contact with systems managed directly or indirectly by your organization. These are the obvious points of direct and indirect contact that must be managed proactively and effectively to provide the best customer experience management your organization can deliver.

Customers are also indirectly affected by ITSM by interacting with customer-facing employees who use IT systems to enhance their sales efforts, deliver products and services, and provide customer support during the transaction and in support of the transaction. This second pathway, between ITSM and the customer experience, is the one most often overlooked when developing a plan to deliver on customer experience strategy across an entire organization.  

The Service Desk—The Front Line for Reporting and Fixing Issues

The nexus of the relationship between ITSM and customer experience management is, in many cases, the Service Desk of the company. For the majority of customers, the Service Desk (or its analog), represents a key point of contact between the company and the customer. Further, how a worker uses systems and processes conceived of and managed by the IT group to resolve customer issues, will determine much of the customer’s service perception of the company and brand as a whole.

The customer has the expectation that the systems and processes working behind the person they interface with at the Service Desk perform exceptionally well – seamlessly, even – whether or not they consciously understand that this is their expectation. Good customer experience strategy, then, relies on the seamless support of the Service Desk employees.  

It’s crucial to understand how IT and ITSM affects your customer experience strategy, and through it, your business’s bottom line.

Key Components of a Winning ITSM Customer Experience Strategy

Incident Management

Incident management deserves its own careful planning and established protocols to ensure a quick return to full service as soon as possible, and the prevention of further incidents.

Problem Management

Problem management should be an ongoing effort to identify, diagnose, and work to fix underlying problems, independent of the incidents that they may lead to.

Demand and Capacity Management

Demand and capacity are also ongoing areas of focus in a winning ITSM customer experience strategy. Finding the appropriate balance between demand and capacity may be one of the most challenging aspects of ITSM, but operating at near ideal is a worthwhile pursuit.

Security Management

Security management may not at first seem to fit as a part of the customer experience. However, adhering to requirements for the establishment, implementation, operation, monitoring, review, maintenance, and improvement of your organization’s IT security is key to the customer’s positive experience of your products and services.

Change & Release Management

Finally, change and release management must be an integrated part of your ITSM customer experience management process for the simple reason that in order to provide the best possible customer experience, your efforts must be growing and adapting constantly.

All Departments, Even IT, Are Customer-Facing Departments

In the time of silos, before DevOps, before ITIL, and before ITSM, it may have been possible for some departments to remain insulated from the customer and from the customer’s experience. These days, though, all departments are essentially customer-facing departments; your customers demand it, and so does your business’s bottom-line.

Furthermore, integrating your approach across all the aspects of your customer experience strategy allows your organization to remain focused on developing, implementing, managing, and renewing the best practices in an ongoing manner that benefits both the customer and your organization.  

For more information on the critical role that IT plays in helping drive your company’s bottom line, visit our blog.

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Laura Miller is the Senior Director of Sales Operations, ITSM at SolarWinds. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.