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A large multinational consumer electronics retailer selects TEKsystems to support the design, execution and ongoing support of its first telecommunications-focused service desk.

The client—a large multinational consumer electronics retailer—was founded in the late 1960s and has evolved into a global leader in this space, offering products and services through its in-store, online as well as mobile sales channels. Operating under several different brand names, the client boasts a comprehensive product portfolio including computing, mobile, entertainment, appliance, audio and navigation products to its customers. The client also offers product-related services such as contracts, warranties, delivery, installation, repair and call center support. TEKsystems has engaged with this consumer electronics retailer for over 10 years.

Communication is a function that plays a crucial role in any organization. Employees need to be able to talk to each other regardless of location, and customers and clients need to be able to have access to the business’ support. As the size of the organization expands, scaling a communication system can become more complex and challenging to achieve.

With the constant evolution of technology, the options available for communicating in a business setting have expanded. More complicated and high-tech advancements bring conveniences and efficiencies that organizations rely on in order to stay operationally competitive.

One common communications platform organizations everywhere utilize is telephony, which consists of any form of communicating that involves telephones transmitting data and information back and forth. Over time, telephony has developed to include telephone and mobile communication, Internet calling, faxing, voicemail as well as video conferencing. Organizations broadly make use of telephony in day-to-day business to drive efficiencies and streamline internal communications. However, ensuring the telephony system is running securely, reliably and without a hitch can be difficult, especially at large retailers; specialty resources with telephony expertise should be available to help organizations resolve telecommunications issues. 

CA Service Desk Manager, inContact automatic call distribution (ACD) software, Cisco IPT
As a large consumer electronics retailer, the client had well-established communications channels. The retailer relied heavily on its ability to quickly and seamlessly communicate across its internal teams. Having a secure and reliable communications infrastructure was also necessary in order to allow end-customers to contact the retailer. Yet, any issues with the client’s phone-based system could be timely to resolve, require in-person assistance and ultimately interrupt and negatively impact the organization’s ability to communicate efficiently. Telecommunications issues could be caused by any number of things such as problems with the phone configuration, the switch or router, cabling or even external, underground and outside causes. Meanwhile, internal PC-related collaboration issues could be resolved remotely and in an expedient fashion.

The nature of issues resulting from telephony systems were entirely more complex and diverse than those resulting from PC-based systems. In terms of telecommunications, there are a broad range of problems that need to be considered; these issues can be more difficult to resolve from remote locations, and the level of urgency escalates quickly when the problem cannot be fixed right away.

A telephony-focused service desk solution would enable the client to proactively combat issues that threaten the fluidity of client communications with internal and external audiences. While the client already had an existing service desk function to address PC issues, it did not have support for the more demanding telecommunications-related issues that are associated with telephony systems.
The client sought to implement a separate service desk designed to address telecommunications-related issues. With a telephony system in place, the client would be able to evaluate phone-based service desk tickets and course-correct quickly with little service interruption. Additionally, the client would realize increased resolution rates of all issues by separating telephony and internal service desks.

TEKsystems helped the client map a plan for establishing and implementing a standalone telecommunications-focused service desk. We allocated six to eight weeks up front to information gathering required for supporting this transition.
 
During this period, TEKsystems sourced, screened and retained nine service desk analysts with expertise in resolving telecommunications issues; this team would be available 24x7x365 for receiving all of the client’s telecom-related issues across its U.S. retail stores. Service desk analysts would be responsible for:
  • Opening telephony service desk tickets
  • Performing triage and troubleshooting of problems
  • Performing remote diagnostics with callers
  • Performing problem escalation processes, if required, and filtering to the appropriate
    independent vendors
  • Coordinating and managing independent vendor meetings, as necessary
  • Managing incidents through to their resolution
  • Providing regular updates on Severity one or Severity two incidents
  • Providing daily ticket status updates to the client

Also during the preparation period prior to the go-live date, TEKsystems set up the technology equipment and trained the analyst resources in order to ensure that they could handle three different types of ticketing systems: (1) the client’s internal system, (2) a third-party communications vendor’s system and (3) TEKsystems’ system.

Once the team was assembled and trained and the equipment was set up, the new service desk went live. The first 90 days were focused on stabilizing the desk support and closely monitoring processes and team development to ensure these factors met client expectations. From there, TEKsystems continued to maintain a close relationship with the client, allowing us to align with any shifting client demands or business objectives and stay on top of industry and environmental changes that would require adjustments to the service desk.

With the guidance of TEKsystems’ Support Services practice, the client was able to successfully launch its first telephony service desk designed to resolve telecommunications-focused issues. The service desk has been fully operational since 2001.

TEKsystems sourced, screened and onboarded nine service desk analysts who were experts working to assess and fix any telecommunications problems. From TEKsystems’ Support Center in Maryland, this team was dedicated to providing 24x7x365 support for all telecommunications issues across the client’s massive network of retail locations; this ensured that tickets were resolved in a timely fashion and in order of urgency and escalation requirements.

Regular client touchpoints were held to help them stay abreast of any shifts in business objectives and provide transparency into our progress. Over time, the analyst team earned the client’s respect, as they were perceived not as a vendor but as an extension of the organization’s internal telecommunications team. The team remained on the pulse of changing technologies and offered training opportunities to the client’s IT team in order to share that knowledge.

To ensure the client was maximizing the effectiveness of the service desk and achieving expected outcomes, TEKsystems also monitored the performance of the service desk and provided ongoing reporting on trends.

  • Average speed to answer (ASA): The monthly ASA target of 30 seconds or less has been up to par with client goals.
  • Response rate: On a monthly basis, the client targeted to answer at least 85 percent or more of inbound calls within the first 60 seconds.
  • Abandon rate: The service desk maintained an abandon rate of 5 percent or less on monthly inbound calls.
  • Mean time to resolution (MTTR): Within the first year of implementation, the client realized a decrease in its MTTR for all telecommunications issues, which remained at a consistent level throughout the remainder of the long-term engagement.

To ensure the service desk continued to succeed and the client relationship was fostered over time, TEKsystems appointed a dedicated engagement manager who oversaw the progress of the client account and managed client requirements and expectations for the duration of this initiative. This provided the client with a single point of contact for making requests, changes, escalations and any other account-related activities, and guided the ongoing success of this initiative.

This long-term initiative was able to succeed and thrive over the years as a result of our emphasis on:

  • Delivering the right people. Businesses are only as strong as the people that support their operations. The resources TEKsystems provided for this initiative were at the core of its success. To start, we focused on understanding the client’s business and what makes its sales channels effective for end-customers. This knowledge informed how we identified and trained qualified service desk analysts in order to maximize the potential impact of the client’s first telecom service desk.
  • Honing in on client goals. Prior to beginning any client assignment, it is critical to ensure the client’s business objectives are clear and the proposed solution aligns to accommodate those goals. TEKsystems formed a close partnership with the client by maintaining a clear understanding of the business goals, not just before, but throughout the evolution of the initiative. And as the initiative evolved—technology advanced, the organization grew and developed, etc.—business objectives shifted. TEKsystems continuously worked with the client to assess goals over time; this enabled us to make timely adjustments to our approach in order to ensure shifting goals were attained.
  • Building lasting relationships. When hiring a vendor, organizations want a partner they can trust. Trust can only be earned by consistently demonstrating a level of care for a common purpose and building relationships around that purpose. With this client, the common purpose was to implement an effective service desk that could address telecommunications issues. Grounded by this purpose, TEKsystems established trust and forged lasting relationships with the client as well as its independent vendor partners. These relationships were significantly important to the outcome of this initiative. The client needed to trust that their business goals were of top priority, while vendors needed to view TEKsystems as a collaborative partner working with them to achieve client goals.