When the ITS Service Desk decided to install contactless lockers to limit in-person interactions for computer service repairs, there was no way to know whether customers would respond favorably to the change in a well-established process. After a semester of use, however, the Service Desk is expanding the number of lockers and installing another set in the Student Stores due to the lockers’ popularity.
“During the start of the semester it became apparent that 15 lockers were not enough to meet demand,” said Erin Towne, manager of Walk-In services at the Service Desk.
Demand for additional lockers
To meet this demand, the Service Desk will add another set of 15 Luxer Lockers to the existing unit in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union prior to Spring semester. Expanding the existing unit requires very little effort as it is a “plug-and-go” process. A new set will also be installed in the Tech Shop at the UNC Student Stores.
“Having two units in disparate locations assures redundancy if the Student Union building were to close due to COVID-19,” said Towne. “In addition, it has the added benefit of providing increased foot traffic to the Student Stores while opening up the possibility for customers to use weekend pick up and drop off hours.”
Pandemic fueled creativity
It is COVID-19 that provided the catalyst for the switch to a contactless drop-off system. The Service Desk made the change to keep both team members and customers safe from exposure by negating any in-person interactions. The locker use has also provided an extra benefit for both customers and the Service Desk.
“In order to use the lockers, customers must first contact the Service Desk via phone or live chat to have their issue assessed,” said Towne. “Given this, we’ve found that many issues can be handled remotely without the need to leave the computer, so the volume of issues via live chat has increased by nearly double.”
While the Service Desk used the lockers as a much-needed adaptation to one of its services, it has also gone one step further and adapted the lockers themselves.
“Previous to COVID-19, Luxer’s market was mostly in the package pick up business,” said Towne. “Using the lockers the way we have was new for them as well as us. We have worked closely with them to give feedback about where we might gain efficiencies with changes to their software as well as possible integration with the University’s ServiceNow problem-tracking software.”
Post pandemic uses
The investment into the locker system will extend past the pandemic, she said.
“This is a service we foresee using long term — even after COVID has passed,” Towne said. “Imagine on-the-fly drop offs with the option of being able to place your computer in a locker that has a pre-loaded loaner laptop you grab and then you come back to pick it up already repaired rather than waiting in line to sit with an analyst?”