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Create Value by Wasting Less: 3 Basic Steps for IT Professionals Jodi Beuder

improveITservices Create Value by Wasting Less: 3 Basic Steps for IT ProfessionalsToday's blog comes to us from Patrick Ven­turella, who writes for Con­ti­nen­tal Mes­sage Solu­tion, a 24 hour tele­phone answer­ing ser­vice. They take calls for busy IT pro­fes­sion­als who need to spend time trou­bleshoot­ing instead of talk­ing on the phone. Learn more here.

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In Paul Simoneau’s arti­cle 12 Chal­lenges Fac­ing IT Pro­fes­sion­als, Simoneau iden­ti­fies the areas in which the IT indus­try will face its largest chal­lenges going into the future. These chal­lenges range from issues with BYOD and BYOA to energy effi­ciency to the exit of Boomers from the work­place. Of these chal­lenges, cre­at­ing value can be the most dif­fi­cult to incor­po­rate in a plan for the future of your IT con­sult­ing firm.

What Does Cre­at­ing Value Look Like?

As ser­vice provider, your main goal is to pro­vide and con­tin­u­ally improve the IT ser­vices for your clients. That’s the bot­tom line. The more time you spend pro­vid­ing essen­tial ser­vices to your clients, the more valu­able you are.

The eas­i­est way to accom­plish this is to elim­i­nate non-essential tasks from your work day. There are many ways to elim­i­nate tasks from your day but the big ques­tion is what can you elim­i­nate? What are your non-essential tasks? How can you stream­line your oper­a­tions while still pro­vid­ing a valu­able ser­vice to your cus­tomers and clients?

These ques­tions are dif­fi­cult to broach as the ser­vices pro­vided by IT con­sul­tants vary. How­ever, there are tasks that every IT pro­fes­sional has to deal with that can be stream­lined.  Below are some start­ing points for you to start assess­ing what should stay and what should go.

Paper­work

Nobody likes paper­work. It is cum­ber­some, time con­sum­ing and takes time away from ser­vic­ing your cus­tomers. For­tu­nately, there’s many dif­fer­ent ways to go dig­i­tal. Going the dig­i­tal route saves time, but more impor­tantly, saves money. Which is always a good thing.

While it would be nice to live in a world com­pletely devoid of paper­work, the real­ity remains that some­times it is nec­es­sary. When you have to do paper­work, make sure you know how to han­dle it effi­ciently. In short have a sys­tem and stick to it.

One pop­u­lar approach to deal­ing with paper­work is called TRAF. This sys­tem come from Stephanie Win­ston, author of The Orga­nized Exec­u­tive, who sug­gests there are only four and a half things you can do with a piece of paper:

  • Toss it
  • Refer it
  • Act on it personally
  • File it

Read­ing it being the half of some­thing you can do with a piece of paper. This sys­tem requires you to divide your paper­work into these cat­e­gories and take action depend­ing on the cat­e­gory in which the paper­work falls. Adopt­ing a sys­tem like this not only stream­lines your influx of paper­work but it keeps you orga­nized. And orga­ni­za­tion is half the battle.

E-mail

No mat­ter what indus­try you’re in e-mail can be a bear to han­dle. Every­one in the pro­fes­sional world has had the expe­ri­ence of step­ping away from their e-mail for a short time, only to return to 20 some emails. And now, instead of doing the work you need to, you spend the rest of the day respond­ing to messages.

There are many dif­fer­ent apps that help stream­line your e-mail.  The impor­tant thing is to get what works for you.  Also, just like paper­work, you won’t ever be able to com­pletely elim­i­nate e-mail from your pro­fes­sional life. So, just like paper­work, you need a sys­tem and you need to stick to it.

And just like paper­work, there are sys­tems peo­ple use to stream­line the process. One of these processes is called the four D’s:

  • Delete it
  • Do it now
  • Del­e­gate it
  • Defer it

This sys­tem is very sim­i­lar to TRAF. It requires sort­ing your inbox into four cat­e­gories and tak­ing action, or inac­tion, depend­ing on the e-mail. Both of these sys­tems are sim­ple. They keep you orga­nized as well as keep your admin­is­tra­tive tasks to a minimum.

Phone

Much like email, if you’re not care­ful, you can spend the entire day on the phone deal­ing with client prob­lems. For­tu­nately, unlike paper­work and email, this prob­lem is more read­ily outsourced.

Many com­pa­nies offer out­sourced recep­tion­ist duties, answer­ing the phones and rout­ing calls where they need to go. And, many times, you only pay these com­pa­nies when they answer calls for you. So in many cases this is a much cheaper route than a full-time receptionist.

If out­sourc­ing phone duties isn’t an option, then at least know how to han­dle calls quickly and effi­ciently. Unfor­tu­nately there aren’t any snazzy acronyms for stream­lin­ing your incom­ing phone calls. But you should keep in mind that every call is not a unique occur­rence. You should have a plan in place for the top five rea­sons peo­ple call you.

If you adver­tise a free con­sul­ta­tion, know how to give one. If cus­tomers call with the same cou­ple of prob­lems, know how to fix them. If some­one calls ask­ing for more infor­ma­tion, know your sell­ing points. Hav­ing a plan not only makes it sound like you know what you are doing but it saves you time.

Get Started

Start­ing in these areas pro­vides a start­ing block for you to re-examine and stream­line your IT ser­vices.  And gen­er­ally, what it all boils down to is decreas­ing your admin respon­si­bil­i­ties and increas­ing your time as a ser­vice provider.

The less time you spend doing paper­work, respond­ing to email and on the phone with clients the more time you spend solv­ing IT prob­lems. And the more time you spend solv­ing prob­lems the more valu­able you are.

Jodi Beuder, Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence Advo­cate at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, believes cus­tomer ser­vice exists not just out­side the com­pany, but inside, too.. “To me, cus­tomer suc­cess starts before any con­ver­sa­tion and ends long after. It begins with pos­i­tive brand­ing and mes­sag­ing, in order to get the cus­tomer to the door. Cus­tomer engage­ment is moti­vat­ing and edu­ca­tional, and trans­ac­tions are easy and user-friendly. Cus­tomer suc­cess ends with the cus­tomer return­ing to that expe­ri­ence again.” With over 20 years in Mar­ket­ing Exec­u­tive roles, Jodi has ded­i­cated her career to assist­ing com­pa­nies grow their brand pres­ence and sales, and most impor­tantly, their cus­tomer reten­tion and satisfaction.
27 Create Value by Wasting Less: 3 Basic Steps for IT Professionals
Jodi Beuder
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