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MEA service desk case study | objectives achieved by drawing on credible in-house resources

CHALLENGE

  • Introduce next level of support
  • Focus on improved end user satisfaction levels
  • Increase efficiencies

SOLUTION

  • Relocate staff to a lower cost, custom-built site
  • Analysis of the as-is situation as well as the future needs
  • Integrate business support from all Operational support structures

RESULTS

  • Scalable operation that can easily respond to clients’ changing needs
  • Average of 95% CSAT scores achieved
  • FCR of 90% on Incidents and Service Requests
  • Lower cost to serve through more effective scheduling

The Challenge

As businesses become more dependent on IT, connectivity and online services, the technical Service Desk operation becomes necessary for most large organisations. A smooth-running Service Desk can have a positive impact on employee productivity and levels of satisfaction with their job as technical issues are dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

Dimension Data has over 30 blue chip clients across the Middle East and Africa for whom the provision of a 250-person Service Desk is part of their offering. In 2016 Dimension Data handed the operation and management of this desk to Merchants.

This decision was made as Dimension Data saw that Merchants would be able to introduce the next level of support with a focus on improved end-user satisfaction levels, increased efficiencies and the introduction of self-service options.

Merchants have been able to achieve these objectives by drawing upon a sizeable pool of resources who have been focused on these objectives within the large-scale consumer environment and combining it with tried and tested technical disciplines.

The Process And Solution

The first action was to realise some immediate cost saving initiatives that followed the relocation of all staff to a lower cost, custom-built site. Once this was complete Merchants set about making improvements based on analysis of the as-is situation as well as the future needs. Driving all initiatives was the intention to improve the levels of end-user experience and their satisfaction, it was important to ensure that cost reduction did not mean a drop in service.

As Merchants is a leading provider of BPO services within South Africa, we have a large team of operational support specialists to assist us in further efficiency improvements and enhancing the end-user experience. We integrated business support the from Training, Quality Assurance, Management Intelligence, Recruitment, Workforce Management, Technology and Human Resources teams. Through this we brought cost conscious, Best Practice ideology in and further ensured that business strategies were met, along with the development of agents who are always capable of exceeding the customer’s expectations.

A crucial element of the deliverables is that Merchants did not lose sight of the technical requirements of a professional Service Desk, in concert with providing easy, positive and brilliant customer experiences. Consequently, our operation is aligned to ITIL principles specifically supporting the Service Operations pillar by carrying out:

  • Service Request Fulfilment
  • Incident Management
  • Event Management
  • Resource Management Co-ordination

In executing against these categories, the following services are undertaken:

  • Catch and dispatch
  • First contact resolution
  • Logging and tracking of complex queries
  • Remote resource allocation
  • Escalation and call management
  • 24×7 support for 365 days a year

To deliver these services we have Engineers from Tier 0 to Tier 2 working within an environment with ISO 9001: 2008 Certification for Incident Management and who have accreditations including CCNA, A+, N+ and MSCE amongst other globally recognised certification.

The Initiatives

The Service Desk maintains close relationships with the Dimension Data Centre of Excellence and their engineers to provide a seamless service to clients. In addition, we use this relationship to collaborate on living the shift-left principle and expand our list of FCR tickets and transferring knowledge between the teams, moving as much activity as possible to the lowest cost source of resolution. This has improved First Contact Resolution, Customer Experience and efficiency, reducing hand-off and the work load on senior engineers.

The Service Desk maintains close relationships with the Dimension Data Centre of Excellence and their engineers to provide a seamless service to clients.

One of the most important enhancements made by Merchants has been in the area of improving end- user satisfaction. To achieve this, the existing post call survey mechanism has been expanded to include an automated e-mail asking if the person was satisfied or dissatisfied by the service. The data collected by this then undergoes root-cause analysis categorised by user, engineer, technology and ticket type so that we can close the loop and take actions based on the experience. This is fed into trend analysis from the QA team and FCR results to effect continuous improvement. Since taking over the Service Desk we have seen end-user satisfaction levels over the targeted 95% on a consistent basis.

Mid-way through the first year of operation, Merchants undertook a trial of a case-based reasoning tool. This led agents through a series of steps to support their decision-making based on the technology, the contractual obligations and the symptoms. As a result of this we saw an improvement in time to competency and quality outputs. We took this one step further by working with Dimension Data to expand our documented knowledge base and further support our people to provide accurate and concise resolution on the first call.

Another area where we were able to realise improvements very quickly was in the scheduling of staff. We utilised our Merchants Workforce Management specialists and their tools to optimise staff schedules. This allowed us to reduce headcount through natural attrition while maintaining our service deliverables and positive customer experience as well as and giving our client a cost reduction.

One of the most important enhancements made by Merchants has been in the area of improving end- user satisfaction.

The Outcomes

As a result of this collaboration with Merchants, Dimension Data have a scalable operation that can easily respond to clients’ changing needs. We are able to add clients to the environment so that they can utilise established systems, people and processes without the steep learning curve. Since managing the operation, we have even expanded to include French speakers to support a client in West Africa.

The centre is achieving an average of 95% CSAT scores, the result of the continued focus on the end-user experience and a FCR of 90% on Incidents and Service Requests. These improvements in the metrics are coupled with a lower cost to serve through more effective scheduling and keeping a close eye on individual outputs and achievement of KPIs.

Our people have access to external accreditations and have clearly developed career paths that keep them engaged and striving to deliver exceptional service to our clients. We have attrition rates under 3%, and a growing list of people with certifications who have also undertaken additional training to enhance their communication skills and provide a consistently good service in the ever-changing IT landscape. This combination of technical and customer service skills is one of our key differentiators in providing an enhanced level of service.

Our people have access to external accreditations and have clearly developed career paths that keep them engaged and striving to deliver exceptional service to our clients.

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