A Strategic Guide for Local Government On: Outsourcing
Managing Customer Satisfaction
For Indianapolis and Marion County, an end-user customer satisfaction survey was conducted semi-annually. The outsourcer’s customers were the city and county’s employees who used the outsourcer’s services. The city and county outsourced an extensive list of IT services, including help-desk support, IT services, network support, and more. Using a rating scale from one to five, with five being the highest possible rating, the city and county used the survey to ensure that the vendor was providing its customer satisfactory services.
The survey asked the end-user to rate the outsourcer on help-desk support, IT services, network and systems stability, and availability and usefulness of the govern- ment’s enterprise PC applications.
In addition, the survey provided the opportunity for the end user to rate the out- sourcer’s availability and average time to repair computing hardware and enterprise PC applications.
O t h e r q u e s t i o n s f o c u s e d o n r a t i n g t h e o u t s o u r c e r ’ s :
Understanding of the department’s technology needs, value of the services provided, and overall satisfaction in areas of communications and responsive- ness, commitments in meeting project deliverables, problem-solving, business consultant services, application development/maintenance and support services, network support services, and production services (reports, batch jobs, etc.).
Attitude and demeanor, such as how respectful the outsourcer’s employees are, whether they deliver what they promise, and if they’re friendly and enjoyable to work with.
General quality of services. For example, if the vendor maintains high standards of quality services, successfully meets employee’s needs, provides a simple process for employees to get information or help when needed, and has an effective process for employees to make suggestions or escalate issues.
Finally, the survey asked open-ended questions, including:
What do you consider to be the vendor’s strengths and/or weaknesses?
Have there been any services/technical support that your department has requested, but was not provided? If so, please explain.
What additional services and/or technologies would you like the vendor to pro- vide for your department?
What other comments would you like to make to the organization or vendor about your IT needs?
Most organizations outsource to increase serv- ices to their citizens, while enabling them to focus on core competencies. The questions often asked are, “Is the outsourcing improving customer satisfaction? Are we doing a good job? How do we capture it?”
The city of Chicago retooled its contract after the first year to better focus on customer satis- faction. A baseline survey showed that only 50 percent of employees were satisfied with the current services. After increasing focus on sat- isfaction, the percentage of satisfied employees rose to nearly 70 percent.
The city uses its customer satisfaction-driven SLAs to improve customer service. Weekly program management meetings focus on the dissatisfaction factors articulated in the survey. By following up on the root cause for dissatis- faction, the city and vendor are able to improve customer service.
Indianapolis and Marion County included verbiage in a new contract to ensure the ven- dor performs end-user satisfaction surveys at a minimum of once a year and within 180 days after the commencement date of the contract. The surveys must cover a representative and statistically significant sample of end users along with a separate sample of senior city/county management.
The city and county will help the vendor to identify the appropriate sample of end users, distribute the surveys, and encourage participa- tion in order to obtain meaningful results. (See “End-User Surveys” sidebar.)