Skip to main content

Service Level Management Relationships

One of the most important goals of Service Level Management (SLM) is the need to build strong relationships between the customers and users of IT Services. It is incumbent on the roles of the Service Level Manager and Business Relationship Manager (a role defined with Demand Management) to serve as the Voice of the Customer. SLM must act as an agent on behalf of business customers, since those individuals or groups must focus on executing business processes or serving further the end-users of a company’s goods and services. The business should not have to spend its time worrying about the value they need from IT Services.

SLM needs to create a strong bond with the business and end-user customers. This bond needs to be a familiar and personal link that shows the customer that IT truly cares about the needs and success of the business. Good Service Level Management cannot be conducted solely through emails or phone calls. A good Service Level Manager knows they must meet their customers face-to-face and understand the customer to serve them in the best possible manner.

So how can a Service Level Manager (or Business Relationship Manager) build a strong personal and professional IT Service-based relationship with their customers? Here are some suggestions that I have found invaluable:

1. Visit your customers—Do not wait for your customers to come to you looking for help. Go to them proactively and offer your help. Find out what their needs and issues are before they even realize they have needs or issues.

2. Take your customers to lunch—Take some time to learn about your customer in a more relaxed and less intimidating atmosphere. Your company may have policies about actually buying the meal. That’s okay. But you can sit down and talk over coffee or tea about their needs.

3. Get to know your customer—Not just from a business and professional standpoint. Learn about their families and hobbies, likes and dislikes. They will begin to reveal their needs in subtle and informal ways.

4. Create a relationship of trust—Build a bond based on mutual respect, admiration and trust. Honor your customer with your words, deeds and behavior. Give them a reason to fully trust you.

5. Change the conversation—Move away from the never ending loop of “What do you want? What have you got?” to the more pragmatic “What do you do for your work? How can I help you do it better using technology?”

These are just starters. It is up to each Service Level Manager to build that individual link and bond with the customers they represent. That is the key—you must not simply serve your customers, you must represent their best interests before your own. This fosters trust and respect. They will then reward and compensate you equitably based on that feeling of trust. That is what a truly excellent IT Service provider and receiver relationship looks like.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you.

Roles and Responsibilities:
Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance.Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables. An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and the policies (r…

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service".
I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize:
SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle.
ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs …

Incidents when a Defect is Involved

Question: We currently track defects in a separate system than our ticket management system. With that said, my question is does anyone have suggestions and/or best practices on how to handle incidents when a defect is involved? Should the incident be closed since the defect is being worked on in another defect tracking system if it is noted in the incident ticket? I am considering creating an incident statuses of 'closed-unresolved' so the incident can still be reported on in our ticket management system but know it is being worked on/tracked in the defect system. With defects, it is possible that we may never work on them because they are very low priority and the impact is low to the user. However, in some cases a defect is being worked on. Should we create a problem ticket instead?
Thanks, René W.

Answer: RenĂ©. In ITIL, the activity you are describing is handled by the Problem Management process. ITIL does not use the term “defect” but it does use the term “known error” to…