When your company mantra is ‘Service Excellence’, and awards adorn the organisation from the CEO down, any team can become frustrated if circumstances mean they are offering anything less. Faced with an outsourced IT Service Desk, which was a cause of dissatisfaction for the employees at foodservice provider, Bidfood, the IT leadership team felt a significant change was needed to turn around the perception of IT along with providing a more personal service to its employees. With over 4,000 UK employees and a thousand vehicles on the road delivering food and ingredients to over 45,000 customers, Bidfood is a familiar name across the UK. Service is at the heart of its success, ensuring that customers have access to unrivalled food choice coupled with the reassurance that deliveries will arrive exactly when needed. There are over 2,500 office and remote employees who have an account with IT, and rely on devices and systems from phones and laptops, to bespoke logistics applications to keep the wheels turning.
Bringing the service desk back
Bidfood was reliant on an outsourced IT service desk to support its staff and technology, however a lack of understanding the intricate business operations and frustrations often present in an outsourced service desk had led to some challenges. Early in 2016, the business made the decision to undertake steps to bring the service desk back in-house. To successfully achieve this, Bidfood’s Head of IT Services, Matt Wilsher, began looking for a proven software provider with which they could build a strong and lasting relationship. Sunrise’s ITSM SaaS offering was selected following demos and competitive analysis of ten vendors. Underpinned by the IBM Cloud infrastructure, Sunrise provides Bidfood with a flexible ITIL-based platform to log incidents and implement both problem and change management processes, as well as an easily adaptable, user-friendly Self-Service portal. “Our company mantra is ‘Service Excellence’, whoever the customer, and we wanted that personal touch from our ITSM partner. We saw that Sunrise’s employees are really enthusiastic about the company and hugely experienced. That made our decision very straightforward – Sunrise is just the right partner for us. Adopting the SaaS model means we don’t have to worry about release cycles or server management either, as it’s all managed by Sunrise,” said Matt.
Sunrise ITSM’s configurable approach was key to Bidfood’s fast track implementation which went live in mid-2017. “We’re not rigidly ITIL based so the vanilla framework for incident, problem and change management which we can ‘tweak’ to meet our needs has been really empowering,” said Matt. ITIL is not a recipe that Bidfood necessarily follows to the letter though. Speaking honestly, Matt says it can also be a ‘distraction’ if adhered to too rigidly. “If we see a trend and think there’s an issue, sometimes intuition and being pragmatic must override process.” There are undoubtedly positive outcomes to applying the ITIL framework though – Change management being one ‘big win’. Reporting runs at the touch of a button, replacing the manual spreadsheets which ‘kind of’ worked.
Face your public
Gaining employees’ acceptance of Self-Service from day one was critical, and although asking for feedback on IT services can open a huge can of worms, especially when frustrations are already known, Matt’s approach has always been to bite the bullet and ask. Friendly ‘IT Champions’ across departments were involved early on with visualising the design of Self-Service and its key steps, gaining buy-in across the non-technical areas of the business. Prior to launch day, the switch to the in-house team and the portal was promoted across key office areas with posters alongside the companies Intranet and email promotions, making a splash to encourage use of the new approach.
Proof is in the pudding
The team is now overachieving against its SLA sat between 95-98% of target and Customer Satisfaction hasn’t dropped below 98% for over 12 months, at which many would be content to sit back, but for Bidfood there’s always scope for better. Improved response and communication via the in-house team has had a knock-on effect on user behaviour too.
As a result of IT’s customers having more confidence in the outcome, selecting a call’s priority has seen a big change. With the bar now set at ‘please only phone us only if you cannot work – otherwise use Self-Service’, the team now only receives around 30 ‘phone calls a day, when it previously received 150 plus – with everyone logging calls via SelfService unless they have an urgent requirement. Similarly, those classed as ‘major incidents’ have dropped from 10-15 per monthly period to just 1 or 2, some months achieving none at all. The consequent refocus has in turn freed up IT to use its time more effectively to progress other key work with more agility and overall problem management to reduce call volumes significantly The strategy has clearly paid off in employees’ eyes too, a recent customer service survey gaining a big thumbs up for the Service Desk: “quick & professional”, “always assist us in minutes”, with 100% positive feedback.
Automation plays its part
With thousands of IT users, high volumes of incoming Spam can be a risk, and it’s essential to identify potential problem messages yet give legitimate emails from customers and suppliers a clear path. Sunrise ITSM plays a part, automatically logging calls for suspect emails which are then routed to the appropriate team. Sunrise’s flexible automation workflow helps simplify the more complex service requests too. For example, if a user requests both a laptop and mobile phone for a new starter, a ‘dual stack’ is created with two branches, though a single job is closed off when resolved. Escalations are also automated, with emails to the service team and an employee’s manager initiated when updates or action is required.
Each area of IT has a Service Excellence roadmap and services’ goal is to reduce calls by use of Self-Service, so work on optimising the user experience continues. Adding a comprehensive knowledge base is the long term goal, but with overwhelming priority being the user experience, Matt and his team won’t be rushed to compromise speed of delivery over quality of content and usability. Along with Asset management – largely still run on spreadsheets – there remains scope for this aspirational project to further improve the life of every Bidfood employee. Matt concludes: “Our users had been frustrated when logging calls, so getting Self-Service live was step one, with intelligent & pragmatic second line support teams behind that. Our ongoing goal is to personalise the experience and make the customer feel special. An SLA on a call is no good if it’s not updated, equally if a faceless, formal email update assuring of progress is sent out. We’re aiming for a truly unique experience!”