Who is your customer? As a member of the IT staff (which most system administrators are), you are a part of the support staff in the company. This is not necessarily true in all cases (such as those that work for contractors or outsourcing firms), but most system administrators are helping their companies maintain the infrastructure and computing resources of the company.
In some companies, the IT department (like other support departments) is forced to “bill” its customers (the rest of the company). This actually distorts the relationship between the departments in the company, forcing each into a sort of adversarial relationship.
However, it is worthwhile to remember that you do have customers. Your service is to provide reliable computing services for your customers, and to respond quickly to problems that arise.
With customers comes the need for customer service. However, don’t be misled – don’t provide just customer service – provide what Tom Peters calls “the Wow Factor” – provide superlative customer service which is over the top.
I’ve begun rereading Tom Peter’s book Re-Imagine! and have also begun to read the book magnetic service by Chip and Bilijack Bell. I’ll have more to say on these, but having read portions of Re-imagine! already, I can say that it is an excellent book.
Are your customers happy?