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What the Customer Really Wants

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In today’s highly competitive business climate, the role and dependency of technology in most enterprises underpins their success. An unexpected failure of a business-critical service or underpinning IT infrastructure components can result in major financial losses, damaged brand credibility, or loss of organisational confidence.

Managing the customer experience and the affected services, along with the underpinning IT infrastructure, are increasingly vital to the IT function. Yet many organisations still struggle with sourcing and selecting the right supplier and IT Service Management (ITSM) software toolset to assist with this.

When ITSM support tools are well implemented, they ensure an effective management of IT services, which, in turn, improves the customer experience, satisfaction and contributes to the bottom line.

 

Define and agree requirements and expected outcomes from the start

Identifying the needs of customers to meet their IT support requirements is a crucial part of the implementation process. In an ideal situation, it would be useful to know all of the customer’s requirements from the start, but in reality, this isn’t always possible, but there is an underlying assumption gained from years of experience that organisations are driven to improving service by doing things more efficiently, economically and combined with great customer experience.

When Marval are selected as a supplier of choice, we commence by holding a scoping workshop to identify the real needs of the organisation. We carry out a simple SWOT analysis to gauge the IT strengths and weaknesses of the organisation. We then establish the required outcomes to be achieved, and the processes they want to improve, amongst other key considerations such as timing, project phasing and training. This analysis and scoping workshop provides the foundation of the service improvement plan which is measurable and agreed by all the team.

 

Clear Communication

Sometimes an organisation may be unclear as to the exact requirements they really need in delivering the optimum service, after all, it’s not every day a business has to select a new ITSM tool. At Marval we provide this type of help and assistance all the time and are excellently positioned to guide and influence the customer based on experience gained from similar organisations with similar requirements, and similar challenges.

To ensure a successful outcome, customers need to be honest about what they want to achieve within their organisational and financial boundaries. The IT team may be technical experts in their field, but may also be lacking in ITSM knowledge and experience. This is where Marval can really assist the organisation in choosing the right direction and approach including; people, process and procedures, alongside software implementation to ensure the project is successful.

 

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is critical from the start, and is a key part of Marval’s scoping workshop. Stakeholder engagement should not involve just the IT staff, but other areas of the organisation that will be relying on successful outcomes, such as the business sponsors and users. Remember, what might be important to IT staff is often vastly different to end user needs.

Choosing an ITSM solution and supplier should be a business decision, and not a technical one made solely by the IT team. The most common error made is asking the IT department in isolation what they want to get out of a software tool. This often results in requirements containing hundreds of features with barely a mention of the challenges the business has to address and the desired outcomes.

 

Top Tips in the Selection Process

  • Ensure that senior management is behind the service improvement initiative and there is strong leadership to see the project through
  • Be clear on your business outcomes and any technical/ organisational constraints, and then establish how the ITSM solution will meet them
  • Understand what you really need and identify ‘must have’ from ‘nice to have’
  • Do not set unreasonable requirements e.g. ‘the solution must integrate with ALL company X applications'
  • There is no such thing as a free lunch. Look at overall costs over a 3 – 5 year period outside of tool procurement/maintenance
  • Organisational change/staff buy-in will decide the project’s success, ensure adequate training is taken from the outset
  • Check the software provider's credentials and certificates - look into their background, qualifications and industry involvement
  • What do other customers have to say? Ask vendors for references that you can speak to
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