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Having experienced extended user downtime and low issue resolution under a mixed model service desk, the client engaged TEKsystems to deliver on-site 24x7x365 service desk support.

The client is an international legal practice that focuses on regulatory, corporate, financial, and litigation and arbitration issues as well as issues surrounding intellectual property. The client’s customer base includes enterprises, financial institutions and governmental entities.

Technology has become a critical component to businesses’ foundation. Whether emailing an internal stakeholder, phoning a client, faxing a vendor or teleconferencing a team—employees rely on technology to get business done. Yet, when it does not operate as intended, the value of technology diminishes and can result in lower productivity and excess spending on resolving the issue.

For many organizations, the IT service desk is essential to ensuring hardware and software are functioning properly so that users are able to do their jobs. The size and structure of service desk support depends on the needs of each individual organization. There are countless service desk providers available to help businesses build or strengthen their IT support so that they can maximize the value of their technology.

One common factor organizations need to consider when choosing a service desk partner is striking the right balance between quality and cost. There can be significant tradeoffs to favoring one of these variables over the other. Top-quality service desk solutions can come at a comparably high price, but promise to include expert support analysts who understand the business and deliver consistent, fast results regardless of the nature of the IT issue. Implementing the lowest cost option may result in a service desk comprised of less experienced analysts with little training or knowledge of the business. This service desk may generate low resolution rates, and high escalation rates and call abandon rates. Subsequently this would destabilize the use of technology, hurting the productivity of employees and thereby costing the business more money.

The challenge is deciding the best solution that will enable your business to run the most effectively.
24x7x365 service desk support
The client, a global law firm, had outsourced its service desk support; the service desk managed all IT-related issues—such as phone, desktop, laptop and printer issues—for predominantly U.S.-based employees. The outsourced vendor partner utilized a mixed support model, providing on-site services during core business hours then facilitated a rollover coverage plan during off-hours where calls were rerouted to the vendor’s call center. This mixed support model was not working for the client for two key reasons:

1. The support team working core business hours experienced very high attrition
2. Call center agents were not properly trained on the client’s environment

As a result of the high turnover from the core team and lack of training among the off-site team, the people supporting service desk issues offered little experience and depth of knowledge. In turn the client realized low resolution of end-user problems, which subsequently yielded extended user downtime and low overall customer satisfaction with the service desk. These were critical concerns for the client who, as a law firm, relies on billable hours as the source of its revenue stream. Any downtime would be felt. And at the same time, any issues that could not be resolved by the less knowledgeable service desk support would drive costs up, as those issues would be escalated to more experienced, higher-cost resources.

Given these challenges, the client required an alternative partner with strong service desk support capabilities that could resolve end-user issues on site in a timely and consistent manner. Additionally, because legal professionals do not typically work regular business hours only, the client needed a partner to deliver on-site support seamlessly, regardless of the time of day.
With low resolution rates generating less revenue flow and higher service desk costs, the client sought a partner to transition its mixed service desk model to a 24x7x365 on-site solution. TEKsystems would assemble a dedicated team of knowledgeable resources to implement this initiative.

Because the client’s previous vendor struggled with maintaining a consistent team, it was important to the client that its new partner could promise a greater level of commitment from its team. To ensure long-term commitment from our resources, TEKsystems would place great emphasis on keeping the team engaged over time. To do this, we would: find the right people who fit the company and role, and see the job as a career growth opportunity; keep salaries competitive with the legal segment and the client’s local market; employ a performance management process; and provide ample opportunities to learn and grow in this career path.

Leveraging a dedicated team of resources, TEKsystems would provide around-the-clock customer service desk support on client premises utilizing its tools and facilities. Throughout the engagement, we would track key service desk performance metrics including resolution rate, average speed to answer, call abandon rate and customer satisfaction. We would also measure the percentage of Tier One resolutions that would not require escalation to Tier Two or Tier Three levels. TEKsystems would hold monthly project meetings to review key initiatives as well as any changes in scope. This would ensure continual progress and improvement over time.

The client had partnered with TEKsystems Support Services in the past, which enabled us to establish a strong relationship and level of trust with IT decision-makers at the organization. Additionally, as a law firm, the client has a sense of urgency associated with each and every service desk issue, so working with an IT services partner that has proven experience in the legal industry vertical was a high priority. Based on all of this, the client was confident in our ability to deliver this solution and selected TEKsystems for the engagement.

Since 2007, TEKsystems has successfully delivered a 24x7x365 service desk solution on site at the client’s facility in Washington, D.C. We have provided a team of 13 high-quality, knowledgeable resources including a dedicated project manager, two team leaders and 10 service desk analysts. Over a 10-week transition period, the initial implementation included personnel onboarding, training, building out of our knowledge base, facilitation of standard operating procedures as well as configuring all customer-owned tools.

Over the years since inception, we have continued to deliver consistent and quality support, significantly improving the service desk support the client had in place prior to our involvement. And while our team has remained mostly unchanged and our cost model has remained flat, our performance has continually improved and the scope of our work has steadily increased. We have taken additional responsibility for tasks outside the original scope of this program, and we are there to deliver support beyond what is explicitly stated in the contract. For example, when our analysts are available to offer assistance, we help the client’s internal desk-side support group. We have taken on off-hour environmental scanning. We have also provided coverage to supplement desk-side support at smaller offices when the internal resources at those locations are out of the office.

Our solution has enabled the client to realize considerable value and return on investment since implementation. In fact, we have reached 100 percent attainment of all service level agreements (SLAs) since 2007:

 

 Service Desk
 Performance Metric

 Service Level
 Agreed Upon

Actual
 Performance

 Service desk resolution rate

 65%

 > 80%

 Average speed to answer (ASA)

 < 60 seconds

 < 20 seconds

 Call abandon rate

 < 5%

 < 1%

 Customer satisfaction rate

 > 90%

 94%

 

Our impressive delivery has been grounded in the commitment provided by the team. Throughout this multi-year engagement, TEKsystems has recognized less than 10 percent attrition of our resources. The average analyst tenure has been over two years, while the project manager has remained constant from the beginning.

Because TEKsystems’ resources have been consistent over time, we have been able to retain knowledge and best practices. This is a significant accomplishment given the client’s previous service desk partner struggled with retaining resources. The team has become very familiar with the client environment and well-versed on the various issues service desk users might have. As a result, our support has reduced user downtime and minimized the need for issue escalation—saving the time of internal staff with expertise to resolve those higher severity issues, freeing these resources to work on other initiatives. We have resolved approximately 85 percent of issues before needing to escalate to Tier Two or Tier Three support; our performance on this measure is stronger than industry standard which is about 60 percent.

Ultimately, the client was able to see increased user productivity and with that, greater cost efficiency of the service desk.

  • IT Talent Management Expertise. We continuously implemented processes to manage our people and keep them engaged in the work. The team received constant feedback on their performance. We coached them and helped them identify areas where they could improve as IT professionals. Each member of the team felt positive about their role and viewed the engagement as a career growth and learning opportunity. By managing our talent, we were able to provide the client with a consistent team over a multi-year engagement. The team was able to acquire and build knowledge and best practices that enabled us to continuously improve the performance of the service desk.

  • Partnership. TEKsystems has developed a close relationship with this law firm, and our on-site service has grown to become tightly integrated with the client’s internal IT department. Over the years of partnership, we have built trust and dependability. The client does not view TEKsystems as a vendor but rather as part of the fabric of the IT department and its services.

  • Iterative Improvement. With 100 percent attainment of SLAs, TEKsystems Support Services exceeded client expectations and drove efficiency of the service desk. This success would not have been possible without the dedication of our people and our consistent approach to this project. We have continuously monitored our performance, identifying areas for improvement. This enabled us to learn from our progress and steadily improve the service desk.