‘”Transforming IT service management (ITSM) processes is all about continual improvement. This new way of working has allowed us to develop a more mature support desk with a better IT service offering.’“Tara-Jayne Southwell, Head of Technical Support and Deployment
How has your professional background helped you in your work overseeing the support that Bleepa offers its customers?
I’ve got over 20 years of experience delivering support to customers, with much of that time spent leading and developing high performing teams. My last role was as a director of support services, leading a staff of around 70 people.
What that experience taught me is that companies aren’t simply remembered for their products or solutions, but for the level of service that they provide. You need to understand your customer and their culture and setup to understand the true impact and urgency of their requests.
Where possible, you need to be proactive, not reactive. Being patient and empathetic when dealing with the customer goes a long way but giving clear, concise, accurate and timely answers is what the customers require.
How has the way that Bleepa provides technical support transformed during your time with the company?
Our key challenge has been around how we scale-up our support offering in line with our growing customer base.
I’ve managed this growth with the introduction of IT service management (ITSM) processes, alongside the implementation of a new helpdesk software tool. This approach has helped us to become more responsive, efficient, and effective in the support we offer our customers.
Transforming ITSM processes is about continual improvement. This new way of working has allowed us to develop a more mature support function with a better IT service offering.
Being able to categorise the different types of incoming queries enables us to instantly differentiate a standard user-initiated request from an incident (an unplanned interruption to service), helping me to ensure the appropriate support resources are allocated.
Our new ITSM support platform also helps us to make important, data-driven decisions and better trend analysis where we can break down what needs to happen to resolve a particular issue. As a result, we are able to better prioritise workloads, leading us to improved response and resolution times. Customers now get the opportunity to score us on our level of service off the back of a resolved ticket, rating us ‘excellent’, ’good’ or ‘poor’. We’ve had a score of 100% ‘excellent’ being returned since we implemented our new system, which is really promising.
The benefit of this data-powered approach is that I’ve been able to introduce performance metrics to drive the increase in performance and productivity within the team. So benefits have accrued not just for our customers, but internally too.
Could you give us an idea of the typical issues that customers need help with day-to-day?
Thankfully, Bleepa is an extremely stable product with very few technical issues, but of course there are a whole range of things that a customer can get in touch about. For example, a user not being able to log in, which could be simply down to a locked account.
However, I’ve found that customers would much rather self-serve where possible, rather than being reliant on a service provider to fix their issue. So, in this scenario, this could be where we support a customer through the implementation of single sign-on allowing the customer to use their own on-site login method. On one hand this benefits the end user, as they’re not having to manage multiple passwords, and on the other, the customer can control the users’ role-based permissions.
We also investigate tickets automatically created from proactive monitoring alerts. For example, when non-conforming/unexpected data has been transferred from a clinical system (like a PACS platform) into Bleepa. One of my team will investigate and if necessary, escalate this to the ‘problem’ stage, allowing us to put in place a solution to mitigate the possibility that this problem will reoccur.
In addition to these examples of incidents, my team are responsible for managing assets, fulfilling service requests, overseeing problem records, and change requests, which are all key to delivering an excellent service for our customers.
Can you outline the ideal conditions for ensuring that a Bleepa customer feels supported throughout their user journey?
Ultimately, it’s about creating a journey map for them and communicating clearly and effectively at every stage. We need to provide clear instructions, answer questions promptly and set expectations of when something will happen. Beyond that there are three elements that ensure that we’re offering optimal customer support and are adding value for them.
Firstly, the key thing is for us to provide, where possible, a personalised support experience. We need to understand why the customer has made their purchase, and as a result, make sure that we’re delivering the right outcomes for them.
We also need to ensure that we’re speaking the same language as our customer contact. If we’re speaking to someone very technically proficient, we wouldn’t necessarily be going through each and every step of a technical process with them.
Secondly, it’s about the importance of adequate training and service implementation to make sure that the users are ready when Bleepa goes live. So we’re equipping them with effective training materials that are bespoke to their needs and their roles.
Finally, something that makes a real difference is introducing champions into the customer’s organisation. These are ‘go-to’ people who have received in-depth product training and can understand the particular pain points their organisation may face whilst getting to know a new system. Although raising a support ticket with us is a fast process, if a user being onboarded encounters an issue it’s a much better experience for them to have champions on hand to assess and review the situation quickly.
The key thread that runs through all our work within support and deployment is acting proactively in our customers’ best interests.
I’m looking forward to the next stage of our journey as a support team and providing support to our growing customer base.