Nottingham based company Retail Assist, has won the globally recognised ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ Award at the Service Desk Institute’s (SDI) Annual IT Service and Support Awards. If you’ve not heard of Retail Assist before, they provide managed services for the retail sector and some of the brands they support are Pizza Hut, Vue Cinemas, Cath Kidston, Karen Millen, White Stuff and Oasis.
The Service Desk Institute Awards
The SDI annual Awards identify the excellence of outstanding service desk teams and individuals, and celebrates their success.
After reaching the Final 3 last year, Retail Assist was keen to re-enter with a host of fresh innovations to its service desk provision. ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ was a tough category – in the Final 3 were SCC based in Romania, and Maersk Group headquartered in Denmark. However, Retail Assist impressed the judges with the level of investment demonstrated in their Help Desk, and focus on the customer; providing a proactive, quality service to enable them to reach their goals.
Dan Smith, CEO of Retail Assist, commented on the achievement:
“We are extremely proud to have won the award, and to claim the title as the World’s ‘Best Managed Service Desk’. We have progressed significantly over the last 17 years to support many of the leading retail and hospitality brands, but this really gives the team the recognition they deserve for all their hard work and dedication to providing the best possible service to over 8000 global locations around the clock.”
The Retail Assist Help Desk team enjoyed an impressive gala dinner event, receiving the award along with winners in each of the awards categories, at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole last night. The £1000 prize for winning the award will be donated to Emmanuel House, Retail Assist’s chosen charity for the financial year.
I caught up with Dan this week to find out more about Retail Assist and how much the win meant to his team. The Retail Assist Service Desk provides IT support services to 8,000 locations across the globe 24 x 7 x 365 in 8 different languages – that’s a lot of tech support! The Service Desk is made up of 50 – 55 analysts with over 3,000 procedures to ensure that all the essentials are covered and that the team always have something to refer to.
From speaking to Dan it was clear that a fantastic customer experience was the objective of every single person in the team. As Dan explained it; the Service Desk had two main objectives:
- Fix the issue quickly and effectively (no nightmare automated menu systems for RA customers; it takes just 40 seconds from calling their number to connect with a Service Desk analyst)
- Look after the customer so that even if the Incident can’t be resolved at first line; the customer has a workaround, information or an escalation to second line support and is in a much happier position.
So often in the Service Desk world we get so hung up on measurements, metrics and statistics that we forget about what’s important – the customer – so it’s brilliant to see Retail Assist putting the customer at the heart of everything they do. The attention to detail is fantastic, RA will work with their customers to provide proactive support as well as world class Incident Management.
One of the examples Dan shared with me was that when the latest Star Wars film came out (seriously – how awesome was The Force Awakens? All three of my children sat through it, completely entranced from beginning to end – even my 3 year old which is nothing short of a miracle I can tell you) not only did the RA desk ensure that extra team members were on shift, they also made provided extra wrap around support for early in the morning and late at night, as well as working with Vue to ensure all tills were tested and fully operational prior to the premier date.
Another example Dan talked about was for a retail customer in central London. A fire at a local BT exchange effectively took out their card systems during the weekend. The RA analysts were able to remotely dial in and set a £50 floor limit to enable the customer to be able to take debit and credit card payments of up to £50 so they could continue to trade. As someone who worked in retail all the way through college (Hi Tesco & Easons!) being unable to take card payments at the weekend is the stuff of nightmares so all power to the Retail Assist guys for being able to come up with a workaround.
One of the things that really impressed me about the Retail Assist Service Desk was its commitment to it’s people. There are two permanent trainers on the team, there is an Application Academy for further reading and all team leaders go on the ITIL foundation training. The Service Desk supports career progression, some examples of next roles include second line support, project management and analyst programmers. The procedures and work instructions are there to support rather than limit the analysts who are encouraged to use their judgement and skill to look after each caller.
A big well done to the Retail Assist team for their win and fair play for donating their winnings to charity – you rock!
Has the Retail Assist win inspired you to enter your Service Desk into next year’s SDI awards? Let us know in the comments!