First Choice Homes Oldham’s ICT service delivery manager, David Gorman, describes the process of choosing and implementing House-on-the-Hill’s hosted helpdesk software.
SupportDesk was recommended to me by a colleague who had seen it demonstrated at a conference. We were searching for a new service desk software tool that had the ability to be either hosted or in-house.
We asked them to demonstrate the software and we received an excellent product demonstration. The product met our requirements to support incident, problem, and request processes, and to be simple to use. It had a full set of map-able processes and offered a self-service portal for customers. A flexible knowledge base and configuration management database were also important features.
The availability of both cloud and on-site deployment methods means that our ICT team can focus on ensuring that SupportDesk does exactly what they want, rather than being confined by the deployment option. The fact that we could start with a simple solution to get things up and running quickly and then add extra functionality was a very important part of our implementation plan.
We opted for a cloud-based service desk with a monthly subscription. This is not only good value for money but it also meant that there was no need for the technical installation of SupportDesk. The software is hosted by House-on-the-Hill so maintenance, upgrades and hardware upkeep are all taken care of. All that was required was our system URL, and we could get started with our configuration straight away.
A knowledgeable consultant from House-on-the-Hill was allocated to the project from start to finish, and she worked alongside us to understand our requirements, our processes and help build them into the system. SupportDesk is very configurable so we could create unique workflows, service level agreements and email triggers to make our processes as automated and customer-focused as possible.
We support around 450 end users and log an average of 40 calls per day, so we have a very busy service desk for a small organisation, and we operate a flexible staff structure with people having to cover multiple roles; service desk, support roles and project roles. SupportDesk’s customisability in terms of editing log-in roles and individual access privileges has therefore proved a huge advantage; each team member can see and do exactly what they need to.
A typical day-to-day call that is logged on our helpdesk might be about a remote worker who can’t access a system via a mobile device. The customer logs the call by telephone, then the call is logged at the service desk, taking down customer and device information and issue details. The SLA is then automatically set by the system based on the selection of call type and service, and because SupportDesk operates using a multiple-tier breach system, the SLA then automatically populates response, warning and action times.
Emails are sent at pre-defined stages of the call. An email is automatically generated and sent to the customer confirming the call details and reference number. The call is then allocated to an engineer to investigate, and another email is generated and sent to the engineer to confirm that the call has been assigned. We have also integrated an auto-emailing function based on the selection of an external partner organisation; if the engineer discovers that a partner’s support is needed, the selection of the partner will automatically generate an email notifying the external party. Then, once the call has been resolved, an email is generated to the customer confirming details of the call and explaining the resolution.
We are trying to develop a whole cultural change through the business around how customers interact with ICT by using SupportDesk to enable self-service. The self-service portal will now be used as an option rather than just telephone and email for customers to log issues, access FAQs and track their calls. We have also integrated case-based reasoning, so that possible solutions pop up based on keywords typed by users.
David Gorman is ICT service delivery manager for First Choice Homes Oldham.