Customer Service and IT: Keys to Successful End User Support – Part 4 – Website
Susan Koetzle Hoffman
This is the fourth of several posts that will address customer service and IT. To read previous posts in this series, click on Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.
Helping people to help themselves provides the best benefits for all in your organization. Most users appreciate the availability of information whenever needed—no waiting required. Technology staff members relish the ability to concentrate on the bigger issues rather than repeatedly answering the same common questions over and over again. Everyone is able to get on with the work at hand; and those among us who love creating all these tip sheets, guides, blogs, and newsletters never have to worry about what to tackle next! In fact, the possibilities are endless, but, given the need to start somewhere, the first place to focus attention is the technology website.
If you have not taken a good, objective look at your website recently, now is the time to do so. Your site should be the go to site for all users at your institution—students, staff, faculty, parents, and visitors should be able to find the most needed technology information here. When people go to your institution’s website, make sure they can find the technology area without difficulty. You may think it odd that I state this, but a year ago when doing a survey of local school district webpages, it was not always easy to find technology information. Once on your page, insure that all pertinent information is there and create links to pages that address the following:
- Include staff listings with hierarchy, titles, and contact information for the department. If people have questions, there should at least be a central contact number, and email addresses for key personnel should be listed.
- Specifically detail how users should contact the department for support. If you use a ticketing system, include a link as well as an explanation of how to submit and follow a ticket. If you have an emergency line, explain when this should be called and what to do for non-emergency issues. If there are different procedures for staff, students, and parents, clearly indicate this and provide the steps to obtain help from the appropriate source. By providing clear instructions, you set a positive tone that can help ease the user’s frustration rather than compound it.
- Provide links and access information for websites used throughout the district. A clearly designed page for staff containing all needed web addresses and login instructions eliminates many unnecessary phone calls. New employees can easily find the links they need, and current employees do not need to go into a panic if something happens to their bookmarks. Be sure to keep this page up to date if any link or login details change over time.
- Do not forget the students! Create a student page similar to the staff page, and include links to all sites students use in their various classes. This page is also a good place to include other student technology information, login information, and tip sheets.
- Reach out to parents and guardians as well. If your school grants access to student grades or other online information, create a go to page for parents where they can sign up and sign in.
- Create and feature tip sheets/videos for using equipment, software, websites, etc., and highlight these on a special page.
- Tech staff blogs can keep users up to speed on new and old topics—share your knowledge, insights, and new discoveries.
- Digital newsletters are also a good way to spread the word about new technology initiatives, useful software and website features, and troubleshooting tricks and tips.
The list above is just a starting point. Each organization is different and has unique information to impart. Your webpage is important—take time to re-examine it today and make sure if fully answers the needs of your institution’s users.
Next time, we will look at how to create all these tip sheets, blogs, and newsletters and create order out of the plethora of information available. If you have more thoughts on website content, please comment below and share the things you are doing.
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