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From Service To Experience: The Much-Needed Journey From SLAs to XLAs

Updated: Jul 4

Service To Experience Agreements: The Much-Needed Journey

Bright Horse ran an event based on the Service Maturity journey, talking about how to move from Chaos and Reactive support to an Automated environment and Optimised support to deliver an excellent digital employee experience. The need to move from service to experience agreements has become an absolute necessity in order to retain happy customers.

When we look at the characteristics of each of these maturity stages, organisations are able to recognise where they are in their own journey.

There is a new area of focus emerging for ITSM, as technology has moved on in orders of magnitude and this coincides with the launch of the new ITIL 4 model for the digital era.

Employees are put first, as an outsider’s perspective of how they experience the technology they use in the workplace. Bearing in mind most people’s expectations are now driven by the technology they consume on a personal level. Cloud-based apps, no ownership of data, and immediate response and delivery of service. This is usually not the experience they receive in the workplace, where often response times to requests or issues take a long time to resolve, IT is reactive, and systems are unstable, slow or unavailable when needed.

Combine the fact that employees only use the Service Desk when there is a problem and it is a short step to IT being identified AS the problem.

IT needs to move from the fire-fighting mentality – to one of the fire prevention officers, to look at a more proactive approach that comes with well-trained IT teams who collaborate, have the right tools and robust fit-for-purpose tools in place that facilitate proactive support.

On average, research shows that UK workers lose 9 days per year due to technology troubles. However hard downtime metrics are only part of the problem, there are issues with focus when people are constantly interrupted and attention is shifted – it is difficult to recover and when this happens repeatedly – productivity is significantly reduced.

IT needs to understand whether the ITSM tool (Cherwell etc) they have in place is fit for its purpose, does it facilitate not only servicing requests and incidents, but also Problem Management as this is one of the next steps into proactive support.

The key issue with statistics is that they don’t capture the whole issue.

Firstly, the tool cannot collate all of the data to present a view of what the users experience on a daily basis.

Secondly, employees don’t report many of the issues they have with technology and applications. If their applications are constantly crashing they may well be rebooting on a daily basis, and IT has no sight of this. Lastly, Service Level Agreements historically have been written by IT and for IT, knowing they can achieve them, rather than it being an agreement of what the business needs.

A service level can be achieved and show ‘green’ for IT performance KPIs but the degraded levels of service may mean the employee experience is a world away from satisfied.

Working from home

The next generation of service tools, such as Nexthink, are able to capture and process data from employee endpoints and analyse it so that support and resolution can be delivered BEFORE the employee has called to register their complaints. This collector and data analysis allows IT to see what is happening from the employees' perspective – in real time.

No lagging reports with data a month or 3 out of date, this is real time analytics that show the health of the employee experience from every connected part of their experience from their device all the way back into the data centre. It can help with device performance, productivity tools such as office 365, and combine hard scores with employee sentiment – collected at the point of experience.

Nexthink have a Digital Experience score which is used alongside Hard Metrics to provide a more accurate representation of the customers’ experience.

Combine all of this with a need to ensure IT staff is trained in good Customer Service to ensure they have the Essential Skills needed to deliver a positive personal experience each time they interact with a customer – they need to communicate, manage expectations, treat customers with respect, be available and speak the customers’ language.

The definition of Experience is something that leaves an impression on someone.

The definition of Empathy is seeing something from the other person’s experience.

IT needs to get much better at delivering a quality Experience that supports workplace productivity and leaves an excellent lasting impression! Perhaps such a level of experience could be defined in writing. An Experience Level Agreement, or XLA, perhaps.

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