Over the past 15 years I have worked in many different roles for both Managed Service Providers (MSP) and End Customers alike. The single biggest issue I have faced in both roles is the accuracy of measurement of technical Service Level Agreement (SLA) data and how that translates to the human experience.
As a Customer Services Manager for a Global MSP, I relied heavily on the technical SLA information collected by machines (and the interpretation of said data) to be an accurate portrayal of what my customers end users were telling them. All too often I would stand in front of a customer with an ‘all green’ dashboard only to have him bemoan the fact that his users were complaining of poor application performance!
My response was to explain (ever so politely) that our data was accurate and that it had to be an issue out of our visibility and control.
A number of years later, I joined a global financial services organisation where I was in charge of vendor management. One of my job functions was to meet with Customer Services Managers (CSM) from various vendors and discuss service management reports (…can you see where this is going!!).
Each month I would have any number of vendor CSM’s tell me that the dashboard was ‘all green’ and (ever so politely) explain to me that their data was accurate and that it had to be an issue out of their visibility and control!
For the first time I experienced the issue that plagues the vast majority of Service Level Agreements in operation today. That is to provide the customer and the vendor with an accurate measurement of the Technical Metric AND the Human Experience for any given service!!
So off I went and scoured the 4 corners of the earth (…well just the Internet mostly) to find a means to fix the SLA conundrum and am happy to report that my search led me to one such piece of software that does just that…Actual Experience.
The product that they have spent the last 10 years developing not only allows me to accurately quantify the End User experience of any application, it also gives me visibility as to which pieces of infrastructure, in the end-to-end service chain, are contributing to their dissatisfaction.
I now have this clever piece of software deployed across our IT estate. It not only highlights to our own engineering teams where the problems are, it also gives me the collateral I need to explain (ever so politely) to the vendor CSM’s that although their dashboard is ‘all green’, there is a definite problem within their infrastructure and this is the device causing it.
I am happy to report that they liked our chats so much, they are now actively looking at Actual Experience as a means to capture and deliver a better quality of service to all of their end customers.
So End Customers and Service Providers alike, if improving internal and external customer satisfaction is of critical importance to you and your business (according to Aberdeen Group, at least 55% of you agree), then take a serious look at Actual Experience.
I did and it is solving my problem!