When Assistant Director Ingrid Camacho took over the leadership of the ITS Service Desk on April 1, she was readily prepared for the responsibilities of the job. What came as a more unusual challenge, however, was taking on those responsibilities in the face of a pandemic.
“Boy, did we get into it right away with COVID-19,” Camacho said. “Redesigning how we do things and deciding how we offer our services in a different way to our customers — for me, that was the first strategic duty of the job.”
Preparation was key
The ITS Service Desk already had extensive experience working remotely to provide services, so the full-time transition of both phone and chat services to remote work locations for employees was relatively seamless. The real challenge, however, lay in a different part of the service: the in-person walk-in support.
“The challenge was for the walk-in because they didn’t have as much experience in needing to do off-site work,” Camacho said. “We did a lot of preparation leading into it, though. We trained them on doing chat and web tickets as well as ServiceNow queue management, had strategic meetings with the team, provided documentation, schedules, and they knew exactly what they were going to be supporting. I think that helped their transition.”
Shifting walk-in personnel onto chat and web services also had an unexpected benefit. Naturally, the Service Desk served a larger than normal number of requests for help with connectivity tools such as VPN, Zoom and Microsoft Teams during the campus community’s first two weeks of remote work. In all, the Service Desk handled 3,293 requests in the first week and 2,577 in the second week. An average week is 2,200 requests.
What’s striking is that the Service Desk was able to significantly decrease the wait time for phone support from the first week to the second week. For the first and busiest week, the phone average wait time was three minutes, 27 seconds, which is still fast especially since the University was in the early days of adjusting to a pandemic. By the second week, the Service Desk dropped the phone average wait time down to one minute, 15 seconds. That’s pretty much the normal wait time.
“Having the walk-in staff take over some of the phone staffs’ other duties allowed the phone staff to focus solely on taking calls rather than having to attend to any other services,” Camacho said. “That has impacted the customer experience greatly because we have an average wait time of 40 seconds, which is unheard of.”
“Customers have been phenomenal. We got some extra kudos from people being so grateful they are being helped over phones, over chat with their issues,” Camacho said.
As the ITS Service Desk has transitioned into its “new normal,” Camacho keeps up the morale of her management staff with regular check-in meetings, encouraging emails and reminders to stay connected to each other. She is proud of her staff’s strong bonds that were forged well before the pandemic and fostered over time.
“We are so good at so many things,” she said. “The depth of our knowledge, the tenor of our team and the passion for customer service that everyone at all levels always shows is not something you can replicate easily. Often we say that we are not the typical service desk and we’re not.”