Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

Like this article? We recommend

Improving the Situation

What can be done to improve satisfaction? Here are some simple steps to making customers more satisfied:

  • Meet their expectations. Customers who expect more than they receive will be dissatisfied, no matter how good the service is. If your department has a reputation of giving customers "happy talk," or future promises to keep them at bay—watch out!

  • Believe their complaints, not their vision. Customers are not necessarily the best determiners of technology choices. They tend to define their needs based on what they know, not what's possible. However, if you offer options, customers can select among the options and articulate flaws. Customers are best able to help correct flaws in interfaces, usability issues, and functional deficiencies. These complaints should not be criticized, but noted and corrected as soon as possible.

    Customers are notoriously bad at helping define directions for system development or in helping define architecture. There are some exceptions to this rule—people who have had training in reengineering are a possibility—but IT needs to be the keeper of the IT vision, not customers.

  • Empower your customers. A common complaint I hear from IT is that customers set up their own "shadow IT" departments and don't use the institutional systems. This is particularly true in high-tech organizations with an abundance of computer-literate staff, who are often frustrated at the slow pace of change and the lack of control over systems they use daily.

    There are two solutions to this problem. One is to become an IT dictator, refusing to allow your customers the freedom to move forward on their own. This is not a very good solution, as your customers will revolt. The second solution is to empower the customers by giving them some control over setting priorities.

  • Involve your customers. Customer involvement is essential for the success of any system. We still meet IT managers who believe that they can work with the customers through a requirements-definition process, create a design document, and then turn it over to their developers for delivery. Wrong! Customers must be involved at each step, through techniques such as functional walkthroughs, conference room pilots, and frequent discussions about business plans and future needs. IT must assume that every system will change throughout its lifecycle.

  • Don't ask customers technical questions. That's your job. In a recent meeting, the discussion turned to the uptime requirement for a new customer-management system under development. The project manager was trying to decide whether the project needed a high-availability server with automatic fail-over, or whether an inexpensive, off-the-shelf server would suffice. She said her customers told her that 99% uptime would be fine and that they would put it in writing in the specification document. Therefore, she could buy a standard, single server. Wrong answer! This project manager had fallen into a common trap. She asked her customers for a technical answer. Even worse, she was going to try to hold them to it! Do the math. Ninety-nine percent uptime for a 12x5 system implies total outages of about 3 days per year, which is unlikely to be acceptable to anyone, especially for a customer-management system. Having a signed document saying that 99% is okay will not save you when the complaining starts.

  • Measure the quality of your service, and communicate it with your customers. Independently verifiable performance metrics are essential in satisfying the customer. Good IT shops measure all aspects of their performance and regularly communicate the quality of their work. There are several important impacts of metrics. First, everyone knows the quality of the work, and often can use the metrics to prevent problems from becoming critical. Second, metrics become the basis of objective discussions with customers about the acceptability of service, and the cost of making it better. Customers won't support your efforts to improve service unless you can objectively demonstrate what they receive and why.

  • Test yourself against outside sources—your customers do. Every IT department should regularly benchmark itself against the standards of IT best practices and be prepared to act on the findings. There are many ways to do such a benchmark exercise. Compare yourself against the many surveys conducted in the trade press, such as CIO magazine or Information Week. Consultant organizations such as EDS, etc. or industry watchers such as Gartner Group maintain databases of best practices and standards of productivity and efficiency. Conduct benchmark discussions with your peers in other companies. As long as your benchmark partners are not direct competitors, most companies are eager to share ideas. One good source of benchmark data is suppliers, who are often eager to share ideas so that they can help improve your commercial relationship with them.

    Good candidates for benchmarks are your internal service bureaus, such as help desk or data center operations, or customer service functions, such as system administration or training. If your results are seriously out of line with industry practice, begin improving them right away. Outsources and consultant companies who are anxious to demonstrate their capabilities are continuously approaching your customers. There are a lot of outsourcing companies who prey like wolves on weakly performing IT organizations. Compete and control your destiny—or someone else will.

  • Keep your attitude positive and your frustrations in check. IT management is not primarily a technical function. It's a service business. When you become frustrated with your customers, remember that you're in your job because they have theirs. We see frustrated IT managers who wish for a better class of customers: "Why can't my customers be more technically literate and trainable?" Dream on. Take your customers as you find them.

    If you become frustrated and lose your poise, you'll lose your ability to communicate, and "push back" instead of listening. Your customers will become dissatisfied with your service. Maintaining a positive attitude is the key to customer satisfaction (and indeed, to many other things in life).

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020