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Case Study – Put CX at the heart of your helpdesk

Gerald Terblanche - General Manager: Operations SA MEA Service Desk
Gerald Terblanche - General Manager: Operations SA MEA Service Desk

When it comes to your help desk, the quality of service you provide should be the same as the service you’d provide to your customers.  Yet because it’s a tech-oriented service, that’s largely concerned with performance and process, it’s often low on the CX priority list.

But what if you could transform your service desk into a customer-focused operation AND save costs? That’s exactly what Dimension Data achieved for its Middle East and Africa (MEA) service desk, by working with Merchants to transform the whole operation.

As Gerald Terblanche, Merchants Service Desk Practice General Manager, explains, the goal was to create a central service desk that would deliver an excellent customer experience, at a fraction of the cost. ‘As well as moving the service to a new location, our aim was to add even more value to the service through better people engagement, an innovative new platform and new insights that would improve business performance and deliver cost savings.’

Rising to the challenges

As one of the world’s leading ICT companies, Dimension Data’s MEA operations had three goals:

  1. To reduce costs
  2. Enhance the client experience
  3. Embrace new ways of working

Handling over 55 000 interactions per month, the helpdesk is the primary point of contact for all technical queries, where agents field, diagnose and resolve common queries, before assigning them to second level support agents or teams to fix the problem.

Migration of the centre was the first challenge. By relocating the operation to a new purpose-built location, with a fresh design and lower overheads, the new centre offers improved facilities and amenities for staff including: arcade games, Xbox and multimedia play areas and basketball courts. The result: a new working environment that puts its people first and delivers cost savings.

The right mix/ a combination solution

As with any transformation project, Terblanche explains that Merchants looks at every element of the contact centre, leaving no stone unturned, ‘As customer experience experts, we had to take a proactive approach to finding opportunities and opportunity costs, and ensuring every person had the right support, with the right processes and technology.’ The audits of existing processes and procedures revealed some issues that needed to be urgently addressed:

  • High levels of client escalations and negative service perception
  • Lack of transparency and insight into services delivered
  • Lack of client feedback and insight into cause of negative perception

The 3 Ps: People, Process, Platform


Focused on driving employee engagement to deliver an improved customer experience, the Merchants team concentrated on getting the fundamentals right through:

  • Establishing the correct profiles for each service desk role
  • Using digital recruitment tools for improved profiling of existing staff and new recruits
  • Setting clear performance targets and new incentive schemes
  • Bespoke customer service training, and a safety net of trainers and coaches to ensure confidence from classroom to on-the-job
  • Establishing technical orientated learnership programmes
  • Providing career path progression and certified training focused around the needs of Technical Support agents

Process and Platform

By implementing the new in-depth Feebee platform, teams now have insight into the processes that need to be adapted, the causes of customer frustration and any infrastructure problems. Through a single dashboard, the new platform supports a new customer-focused way of working through:

  • A single view of performance analytics to keep on top of operations from anywhere
  • Instant feedback functionality to give clients feedback in real-time
  • Continuous weekly sprint cycles to analyse, prioritise and act on service performance and client feedback trends
  • Published weekly insights into performance trends, status updates and actions prioritised for the next week
  • A ‘gamified’ points system that challenges employees to delight customers and earn points for positive client feedback

Terblanche concludes that the new platform, location and workforce management practices are delivering on cost reduction and service levels. ‘As well as double digit cost reductions year on year, we’re focused on continuous improvement. The result is: employees feel more valued in making sure that every support client feels appreciated.’

Change the way you engage with customers