Vodafone listens to helpdesk users

Taking the time to identify user and customer needs before embarking on a major helpdesk project has paid off for Vodafone New Zealand.

Taking the time to identify user and customer needs before embarking on a major helpdesk project has paid off for Vodafone New Zealand.

Vodafone’s IT support desk wanted to improve the service of its internal helpdesk so it surveyed staff about the level of service already on offer.

General requests were for higher visibility of calls placed to the service desk; a more efficient understanding of the status of calls; the ability to report problems faster; and the ability to negotiate service level agreements. More specific needs were speedier turnaround on problem resolution; better and more comprehensive reporting to management; the creation of a knowledge base in order to learn from past experience; the integration of alternative communications such as paging; and the addressing of licensing issues affecting user access to the system.

After the survey Vodafone looked at five vendors before narrowing the choice down to Remedy, Heat and Peregrine. Vodafone client support manager Rebecca Ackroyd says the company decided to go with Peregrine Systems’ ServiceCenter 3.0 running on HP UX on HP servers. Get.Service, a Peregrine web interface which lets users initiate, track and manage requests, was installed on a Compaq NT 4 server running Microsoft Internet Information Server.

Major choice factors were ease of implementation and the flexibility to expand as business needs grew, says Ackroyd.

The original service desk, which cost around $400,000, was initially set up with 80 users handling around 4500 support calls per month from Vodafone’s 1200 staff throughout New Zealand.

Vodafone ran a pilot of the new helpdesk for four weeks and included three support and three user groups. At the end of the pilot, feedback was applied to the project to further develop the service. The implementation took six weeks during April and May last year. The service desk is now being rolled out to a further 60 staff.

The primary reasons Vodafone gives for success are the time spent identifying user and customer needs, and the commitment to address those problems first; time spent documenting and matching its processes with those of ServiceCenter and altering where appropriate; and staying as close as possible to a shrink-wrapped solution.

Ackroyd says the system now includes performance measurement, whereas prior to the new system support staff couldn’t measure how well they were doing or where they needed to focus attention.

Vodafone is also creating an internal knowledge base, which means users can learn from previous problems.

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