SupportWorld, Jan/Feb 2013

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modest increase in distance support, we've actually seen a marked demand for in-person support. From our perspective, mobility has made it easier for our clients to come to us, rather than us having to go to them. Tearing Down the Wall With more and more people coming to our office for help, we saw that we needed to change. Though we were configured to handle walk-in traffic, our building was located on the periphery of campus, which wasn't ideal for visitors. With a renewed focus on strategic alignment, we made a proposal to move our help desk from the periphery to the busiest and most central building on campus. We literally wanted to bring down the walls that separated us from the communities we serve, to remove the barriers to entry and provide visibility into our services and our people. Walk-in support is extremely common in the higher-education industry: HDI research has shown that 80 percent of higher education institutions offer walk-in support. Through the HDI Higher Education Forum meetings, I've also had the opportunity to learn about the many different approaches to designing walk-in support, as well as seeing it in action in other organizations. We've looked at Apple Stores and large corporations, such as Google, and observed their walk-in support configurations as well as commercial implementations. Based on these observations, we decided to set up an open room with spaces for multiple functions. Branded as "The Zone," this centralized space houses our call center and a walk-in support counter, in addition to spaces where faculty and students can check out new and different types of multimedia technology. There is also a computer lab and an area to print documents. The Zone has become a hub and a symbol of our commitment to concierge service. Knowing Our Boundaries Our customer care staff had many concerns, both about these new concierge initiatives and physically relocating our help desk. The staff wasn't excited about the prospect of working in a fishbowl; they were uncomfortable being on display. There were also many concerns around boundaries, expectations, and the fear of an increased support load. As we moved forward, we tried to address these concerns, but we knew going into it that there was a lot we didn't know. The fear of an increase in our workload was a valid concern. At the same time we were increasing BYOD support and making our walk-in support more visible, we introduced several additional service offerings. Rather than heavily communicating our move, we opened up The Zone. As a result, we saw a slow and steady increase in walk-in traffic, instead of a massive charge. In fact, rather than see a marked increase in support tickets, our walk-in traffic began to take the place of what would have been escalations to desktop support. Fortunately, we were well prepared for this shift. Desktop Support at the Help Desk Our approach to desktop support has been what the 2012 HDI Desktop Support Practices & Salary Report defines as "a support center function where analysts rotate support center and desktop roles as scheduled."1 But the numbers show that our approach actually puts us in the minority. Only seven percent of organizations approach desktop support in this manner, while 59 percent of the industry treats desktop support and support as distinct and separate functions. This left us questioning what desktop support actually is. HDI defines the desktop support function as "primarily responsible for responding to tickets (incidents, questions, and service requests) from end users that relate to IT hardware, software and applications used directly by the end users."2 This definition is very similar to ITIL's definition of the service desk: "The single point of contact between the service provider and the users. A typical service desk manages incidents and service requests, and also handles communication with the users." At Boise State, there's no difference between desktop support and the help desk. We're divided more along the lines of having one team focused on first contact support and a second team that provides dispatch support. This definition is the key to understanding the cost element. The 2011 HDI Support Center Practices & Salary Report stated that walk-in support was the most expensive support channel (median = $20). We wanted to couple this data with industry costs on desktop support. In our analysis, we found that desktop The initial thought was that BYOD would be a free-for-all, that the entire community would show up demanding that we support a backlog of broken technology. But this wasn't the case. Instead, we drew a line at hardware. We had one simple rule: "We do not crack the case." In our situation, this boundary helped us set reasonable expectations that we could meet with our customers. ____________________ 1 Jenny Rains, 2012 HDI Desktop Support Practices & Salary Report (HDI, 2012), p. 14. To view this report online, visit 2 Rains, 2012 HDI Desktop Support Practices & Salary Report, p. 5. | A Professional Journal for the Technical Service and Support Community 29

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