I’ve always been fascinated and motivated by next-level service and support in the IT industry. I love drawing from the expertise of world-class hotels and restaurants to build white-glove IT services for internal or external customers. My service and support centre peers might remember me ardently suggesting phrases such as “My pleasure” rather than “No Problem” or “You’re Welcome” or going beyond just resolving the technical issue to ensure people are successful in their endeavours.
“Check out Will Guidara’s TED talk below”
In the modern world, where digital advancements are redefining every aspect of business, we are seeing a trend of the hyper-rational and hyper-efficient culture undervaluing or downright neglecting the intrinsic human skills of customer care. I’m hearing more often these days that ‘Processes’ are a company’s most valued asset, not the ‘People.’ I get it; the thrill of digital transformation is undeniable. From automation to artificial intelligence, technology has revolutionized our world in ways we hadn’t imagined a few decades ago. Yet, in this rush to digitize, a significant aspect is often left behind – the human touch.
I’m currently reading Will Guidara’s book “Unreasonable Hospitality – The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect” where Will illustrates how surpassing people’s expectations will take your service-based business to the next level! I’m only two chapters in, and I feel compelled and inspired to write this post, giving you my thoughts on a concept he calls “Service is Black and White; Hospitality is Colour.” At first glance, the statement might seem like a general commentary on the restaurant industry, but let’s break it down from an Information Technology and Support lens.
In this context, ‘Black and White’ in IT Service Delivery means performing tasks with precision, competence, and efficiency. In the IT realm, this could mean promptly resolving technical glitches, ensuring systems run seamlessly, or simply rolling out software updates. Essentially, it’s about getting the job done and ensuring everything is in its right place.
On the other hand, infusing ‘Colour’ into our services revolves around hospitality. And no, this doesn’t only pertain to the hotel and restaurant industry. Again, in the context of Information Technology and Support, hospitality is about genuinely engaging with the individual seeking assistance, understanding their concerns beyond just the technical aspects, and making an authentic connection. It’s the difference between a user feeling they had a problem that got fixed and a customer feeling they were truly heard and catered to.
Whether you’re in Cybersecurity, IT Operations, Cloud Engineering, DevOps, Software Development or End User Support, the canvas of opportunity is vast. Each discipline in every IT Department has the potential to be as creative and innovative in their hospitality approach as they are in their core services. All it requires is an intentional decision to place your team and your customers at the very heart of every choice you make. This is the unique shade of excellence that can set you apart from the monotone crowd. Far too many enterprises are engrossed in the allure of their products and services, inadvertently forgetting the people who use them. A state-of-the-art software might offer solutions, but it’s the IT Support professional’s empathetic approach that turns a frustrated user into a satisfied lifelong customer.
In the future, metrics of success will extend far beyond mere efficiency. While timely responses and proficient solutions are undoubtedly vital, they only scratch the surface of what modern clientele expect in our Service Economy. Efficiency, often seen in black-and-white terms, denotes a system’s ability to function smoothly. However, the essence of the true potential of IT support lies in its capacity to humanize these interactions, adding a little warmth, understanding, and care. This is where Will’s concept of ‘Hospitality’ plays a pivotal role. By integrating hospitality, IT doesn’t just fix problems; it creates memorable experiences, fostering a sense of trust and loyalty among users.
The most successful IT departments and businesses will not be those who merely offer rapid fixes but those who treat every support ticket as an opportunity to connect, reassure, and leave an indelible mark on the user. This is the art of blending the mechanical precision of efficiency with the nuanced strokes of a human-centric approach synonymous with hospitality. The vibrant hues of hospitality not only add a layer of personal touch but also ensure that technology serves its primary purpose: making human lives better, simpler, and more enriched. In a world teeming with technological marvels, the future will favour IT giants who remember that a human being is at the core of every tech interaction.