Manchester goes LARGE with SDI!


Last week the Co-op HQ building, that was only last year opened by the Queen, kindly hosted the latest SDI event for LARGE service desks, sponsored by Bomgar and Hornbill. These desks have their own challenges and the day was spent networking with 40 peers and colleagues from across the country.

SDI Founder Howard Kendall opened the event with some scene setting and Tom Finlinson, Services Manager at the Co-op and our host for the day, gave us a ‘warts and all’ first case study session highlighting how the very public troubles at the Co-op had actually been a positive for the service desk.

They had been able to use them as leverage for implementing ‘Project Ted’ to both improve quality and drive down costs. Ted is actually a team member’s dog, but the name resonated with the team and has now achieved great momentum! Talking team, Tom told us how a multi-skilling strategy with excellent training and induction where needed had really helped, as had the drive to boost self-service take-up and development of the knowledge base. Whilst there was still a way to go with the project this was already driving down incident levels.

Processes had also been refined, and root cause analysis and a continual improvement ethos had led to ‘big hitters’ that dragged down service levels being driven down and / or eliminated.

After several questions Tom was allowed to kick back for the rest of the day, and Bryan Sharkey, Customer Service Director at the ATM and Banking clearing system business Vocalink showed how working their way up to SDI certified 4 star level had been used to help boost service quality to Vocalink customers.

They had developed a service desk ‘Brand 6789’ which is the phone number called, and have combined mission and vision statements alongside this to position the service desk as THE aspirational place to work, and to reflect the passion and empowerment now present in the team. The people were now either the ‘right stuff’ or encouraged to move on if not……managed out where needed, so no drag on performance occurred. Lots of questions here and many were jealous!

Self help usage had increased well due to consistent promotion and customer feedback was good –in turn a ‘you said, we did’ thank you letter was used to boost customer input to the quality improvement programme. Alongside an effective ‘back to the floor’ programme for senior managers and celebration of service desk successes, this had raised the service desk profile hugely. More to do, but very happy with progress!

After sampling the delights of Co-op’s food over lunch, Philippa Hale from Open Limits told us how their methods to boost relationships and commercial savvy really boosted team performance. She gave us 5 key ways to get lasting collaboration between teams:

  • Set up resourceful relationships
  • Talk/listen more and better
  • 10 commercial ssvvy questions to answer
  • Plan and prioritise by business impact
  • Learn together

Understanding each other’s drivers was crucial and ‘winners’ are willing to be vulnerable. Lastly, always adopt a plan-do-check-act strategy. Workshops cemented our understanding of how this worked.

Our last case study of the day was the now reviving Lloyds Bank, presented by Yvonne Sneddon. Based in Pudsey Yorkshire, her team had faced similar public business issues to the Co-op, and had had cost containment as a watchword recently. However, colleagues had responded really well to the parallel service ‘boost’ initiative that sought to boost performance and the service offer. They’d attacked people, process and technology, sought executive level support and sponsorship, built accountability and set process business priorities to fit the new age.

Part of the solution was setting ‘top 10’ quality improvement ‘hits’ and this had helped overcome the size and complexity of the support brief, together with some strategic investment. ‘Best banking’ was now being achieved and new more stretching targets being set from a consistent performance base.

Closing the day with the ever popular working groups, Howard facilitated solutions developed in the following areas:

  1. Getting self serve up in usage – where identifying stakeholders and impact was key, bribing, using gamification and educating customers  to use self service, dropping priority of password resets to force people to consider it, selling on all calls….
  2. Achieving better team collaboration – sell the benefits to all with examples, talk to rude unhelpful types and possibly show them error of ways thru call playback!, spend time understanding everyone, be open.
  3. Consistent multi-shift communication – use a buzz/white board to inform all centrally on changes, stats, critical stuff, use emails or intranet for urgent stuff ( possible ‘I read it’ response asked for?) and to connect with all, do a blog or sharepoint for summary of future and weekend events that may affect stuff.
  4. Effective Business value measures ( or how to get a halfday off on Fridays! ) – firstly translate into local business speak what we do so they understand YOU, use service catalog to say what you offer in services, selling top choices, and set up a customer set of KPIs so you can demo value from future technology.
  5. Implementing best web chat – use different team to do web chat/phone support as skills are different, know the skills you need and recruit, promote the benefits of chat well and a lot, link to self service and service management platforms to integrate responses.
  6. Boosting 1st time fixes without using more call time – speak with 2nd level support to migrate stuff 1st line could do and upskill 1st line team and reduce 2nd tier workload, use pre-populated logging templates to save time and use local ‘floor-walkers’ to offer deskside support and education in problem hotspots

Preparing for working groups

All in all, what a brilliant day!

The next event hosted by the Co-op is the Keeping Your Customers Happy – Improving IT Service Delivery event, for more info click here


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