The Key Skill Service Management Leaders Need to Gain

The key skill IT service management leaders need to gain is Business Relationship Management. You need to move forward together with your customers, and therefore, you need to be aligned with their needs and wants. Service management is no longer simply about your customer providing you with a set of requirements and you simply reacting.

At that stage, it’s too late to provide value or alignment. Your customer is too far down the road. If you get the relationship with your customer right, you can agree on the requirements together so you move in the same direction at the same time.

Business relationship management is about having a collaborative approach, understanding the strategic objectives from both sides, and having a 360-degree view. You will both have drivers, but you need to remember that where you’re going is where they’re going.

The interaction between a service provider and a customer has changed. We are now more than ever in a consumer-driven environment. People are now much aware of what their service provider can do, should do, and have a greater understanding of what this all means. This increases expectations.

Technology will ever change, but if you deliver it the same way, people’s experience will always be the same. What you need to do is engage and deliver technology in a more meaningful way. A new laptop that goes a bit faster but doesn’t improve a user’s experience is just a new laptop. You need to understand why this person wanted a new laptop. Perhaps he wants a lighter laptop or more connectivity or more storage. You need to ask questions, and drive the expectation to understand what your customer actually wants. He or she may not necessarily know.

This is your chance to lead. You can shape people’s thought process. The business doesn’t necessarily have all the answers, but by asking questions, leading, engaging and having that relationship, you can come up with the answers together and be united going forward. If this isn’t the case, a poorer service will be received, and due to the speed of business generated by digital transformation, your customer will receive a poorer experience quicker and faster than ever before.

Embrace business relationship management. Understand what it means, and what it means to your business.

There is no “one size fits all” approach. Understand the needs of the business, the speed it wants to move, the people, and set and manage expectations. Disconnection and dissatisfaction occur due to lack of communication. Have a strategy. Understand what you want to be, and take the steps to get you there. Understand what your customer wants to achieve and how he or she wants to achieve it. Understand your role in all of this and how you can enable it.

Importantly, make sure you have, at all times, visibility of the service you are delivering. Make sure this visibility, this pulse, is the same one the customer is experiencing. There’s no point in thinking you’re delivering a great service if your customer doesn’t agree. You need to see it through their eyes. Make course corrections. Be honest.

Lastly, understand the expectations of not just the person paying for the service but the person using it.

This is a brave new world of collaboration, and service management leaders lead the way forward.

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