IT customer support portal improves council shared service
A service desk serving Test Valley Borough Council and Winchester City Council is using richportal to further improve customer service levels.
The shared service manages incident, problem and change management for the two councils, offering IT support, deployment and mobile management services to approximately 500 IT customers. IT service desk manager Philip Deverill recently oversaw an upgrade of the existing richdesk product as part of his team’s continual drive to improve services.
“We’ve been using richdesk for a number of year and it is a key tool for us, it helps us prioritise and meet our SLAs. While the previous version was still delivering what we needed, I saw that newer additions to the technology could help us improve further.”
Although there have been a raft of enhancements to richdesk, one element in particular stood out to Philip. “We always had a support portal, but it had never gained enough traction. richportal looked far more user-friendly and intuitive, so we decided to upgrade.
“Each council has slightly different requirements and so keeping the portals distinctive was important. richportal allows us to run two bespoke portals all feeding into the same service desk system which ensures continuity.”
richportal is a workflow tool which enables service desks to build their own support pages. Using a drag-and-drop interface, it’s possible to quickly create customer support workflows and crucially, alter them as circumstance change. Philip explains the process.
“I spent one morning working with Phil at richdesk and this training was enough to help me begin. I started building basic workflows and I’ve now built the entire portal. You don’t need to code and it is logic based - so ‘if you click this, it goes here’.
The flexibility of CSP means that Phil has been able to create two portals, one for each council “Each council has slightly different requirements and so keeping the portals distinctive was important. richdesk allows us to run two bespoke portals all feeding into the same service desk system which ensures continuity.”
Building a better customer portal
It’s important to kerb ambition when building a customer support portal as Philip explains. “You have to be careful of scope creep. For the portal to succeed, it’s important that it isn’t too complex. Our starting point was launching a live portal that could help our customers fix basic issues. Now we’ve seen the success of this, we’re adding more complexity. The beauty of using CSP is that we can alter the workflow or fields easily. I’ve also set up banners on the front page of the portal which alerts customers to known problems and estimated fix times.”
“Using richportal, if the customer has a problem with their phone, the workflow asks them the type of phone. Depending on the answer, we offer different levels of support, and the subsequent questions are tailored to capture the rest of the information we need and ultimately lead them to the correct support option.”
In the month following the portal launch, uptake has been encouraging. Philip says that 5-10 calls are being handled on average each day, and some days this has exceeded 30. He believes that as customers gain confidence and the volume of knowledge expands, uptake will increase further.
The aim is to replace the email support option with the portal to improve efficiency. “The portal provides a better service than email because we can ask for the right information,” explains Philip. The traditional method of collating information via email often leads to multiple messages being exchanged before the help can be offered - a time-consuming process.
“Using the portal, if the customer has a problem with their phone, the workflow asks them the type of phone. Depending on the answer, we offer different levels of support, and the subsequent questions are tailored to capture the rest of the information we need and ultimately lead them to the correct support option.”
A feedback system has been created to ensure that the portal continues improving. “We are actively asking our customers for feedback and this means we can quickly respond to requests like adding buttons, altering fields and adding different knowledge resources.”
As for the upgrade of richdesk, Philip says the process was seamless. “The upgrade was easy. We knew the structure and Richmond provided us with a working document to guide us. They were always on hand to answer questions - Richmond work with you on your projects.”
richdesk are also responsive to feedback - if I ask for something that isn’t possible, they put it onto their product development agenda.”
Unlike some software providers, richdesk offers direct access to its product managers, which as Philip says, has proven to be invaluable. “I know if I have a quick question, I’ll get through to Phil and we’ll be able to solve it. richdesk are also responsive to feedback - if I ask for something that isn’t possible, they put it onto their product development agenda.”
Philip explains why he continues to work with richdesk.
“Without richdesk, prioritising our workload would be difficult. The SLA functions within richdesk are very powerful. When we select fields, the desk tells us the time limits we must work to. It alerts me and the analyst when we about to reach an SLAs, plus informs me of critical incidents. Richmond does what you need it to do and I always feel they are listening to me as a customer.”
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