With its high ceilings, long corridors and tucked-away staircases, the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) looks like the perfect building for higher education. Equally impressive is the large, open plan atrium where students and faculty meet and work at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. The departments and buildings on campus are all unique, but they have one reassuring thing in common: the service departments work together to provide the best experience for students, staff and visitors alike.
We talked to Andre, Jaco and Janneke about how they unite their efforts to improve customer experience. With nearly a thousand operators working in their tools and calls coming in through nine service desks, what has sharing tools and processes brought them so far? And how does collaboration in TOPdesk enhance the workday for students, staff, and operators?
Janneke Luyten-Koenraadt is Service desk coordinator at TU Delft and represents the 9 service desks and the student IT desks throughout the implementation. Andre Hilhorst was the project manager of the procurement process, and has been involved in the implementation of TOPdesk as project manager for the Service desk and IT processes. Jaco Rodenburg is information manager at TU Delft and has been involved in the procurement process and implementation of TOPdesk as project manager for facilities and real estate.
The university started working with TOPdesk to provide customers with a simpler way to submit their calls and requests. But working with a single tool isn’t just easier at the front end. In fact, the back end is where it all starts. Jaco explains: “It’s simple: we used to work with different systems and now we only have one. That in itself improves customer experience, because communication on call statuses is more consistent.
But the operators’ experience is equally important. We have about 1000 operators, but not all of them are working on calls all day every day. TOPdesk is easy to use, so even people who only log on once a week are able to do their work without problems. And of course that leads to better service.” Andre adds: “Plus, status updates to the customer are much friendlier and easier to understand.”
The service desks also asks questions within calls when they need more information from a customer, instead of sending separate emails. This means colleagues can see at a glance which questions have been asked for a call and customers can see at which point in the process a question comes up.
Implementing a new tool always comes with a few bumps in the road, but Andre, Jaco and Janneke were surprised by how fast their teams embraced the tool. “We hardly got any questions in the first few weeks. Of course that’s partly because everything is still new and shiny, but the whole process went very smoothly,” Andre relates.
Janneke: “When we went live, the first day went much better than expected. I thought the first day the calls would start piling up while operators were figuring out how to open and process them. But the application is really easy, so everybody just got to work from day one. We didn’t have to focus on getting the systems to work, so we could focus on implementing the right processes.”
The application is really easy, so everybody just got to work from day one.
The service desk at TU Delft functions as a one-stop-shop for services requests for IT, facilities and property management. Other departments, such as Finance and HR, will add their services in the next phase. Students and staff can go to any of the 9 service desks on campus with their requests. “We were already used to that way of working,” says Janneke, “but now that we’re all working in the same tool, we align our processes much more. The process for handling calls is now similar across departments, so it’s easier for us and our customers to keep track of calls.”
Jaco is also happy with the new one-stop-shop for all service requests: “Our main goal is to facilitate research and education. So if you need a lab with excellent ventilation for an experiment or a powerful server for a computer science project, you shouldn’t have to spend time figuring out which department you need. The customer simply files a request and we take care of the rest.”
The next step for TU Delft is setting up the self-service portal. Customers can already keep track of their calls, which provides a lot of transparency.
A recent pilot with bicycle reservations has been successful as well. “Each department has bicycles you can borrow,” Janneke explains. “Before we started working with TOPdesk, you had to go to the service desk when you needed a bike and ask for the keys. You couldn’t reserve it beforehand and if no bikes were available, we couldn’t tell customers when to come back.”
“We decided to add the bikes to Reservations Management in TOPdesk. Many colleagues, myself included, had their doubts. Isn’t it easier to simply hand over the key if it’s available? Why use a tool for that? But during the pilots we got to experience the benefits. What I like about reserving my bike? I have meetings all over campus, so I do a lot of cycling. Now I can simply go to the self-service portal on Friday and reserve my bikes for all of next week. I no longer have to worry about getting to my next meeting. Plus, the service desk can inform customers about when a bike will be returned, so it’s easier for both our staff and our customers.”