Learn how Vision Express raised its SLA performance from 87 to 96 per cent in one year on its way to being nominated for the Retail Systems Awards IT Project of the Year 2009.
A familiar presence on high streets around the UK and Ireland, Vision Express has firmly built the reputation of its optical business around the quality of its customer service.
In order to keep its promises, the retailer has always had to maintain high standards for its internal processes, hence the IT service transformation project which it initiated two years ago. Central to the project was the implementation of service management software Sostenuto by Sunrise Software across the IT function as well as other areas of the business.
Sostenuto was deployed across the different parts of the IT team, enabling the store support and desktop services teams to manage queries from the 319 stores, head office, warehouse and central laboratory staff.
Change management is being implemented by the development team to manage its SAP (back office) and EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) related projects, in a way that ties up with the incident management activities carried out by the support teams.
Vision Express has taken its understanding of integrated service one step further by deploying Sostenuto to its product department, where it underpins the activity of the logistics helpdesk.
Desktop services manager Louise Smith comments. “Sostenuto is so easy to configure that it just made sense to use it in other areas of the business. After all, a store calling to track products on order is not much different from someone contacting the IT service desk about a problem with a printer. We’ve just adapted the processes, workflows and screens to match the different requirements.”
As well as integrating activities across the various teams, the project has resulted in major service performance improvements. The figures speak for themselves, with an increase in SLA performance from 87 to 96 per cent in the last year.
Unsurprisingly, the latest user satisfaction survey reflects this improvement, showing that 92 per cent of staff rate the service as a 4/5 or a 5/5.
Smith puts these results partly down to better communication. By simply ticking a box on the logging screen, the support analyst can generate an automated confirmation email with a reference number. “Users really appreciate being kept in the loop and I strongly believe that this kind of touch has changed their perception of our team,” she says. “Now we get users commenting that our service is the best they’ve every experienced in any organisation they’ve worked in.”
More efficient service
“The software is easy to use and allows us to work more intelligently,” says Smith.
“It’s been fantastic to have a repository for all of our configuration items across Vision Express. Each store has up to five dispensing machines and one lab machine which, across 319 branches, can be a challenge to keep track of. Sostenuto’s associations function allows us to link stores to specific configuration items, and deal with calls a lot faster.”
“If we want to view calls relating only to certain stores, then we can create a session filter to do this. Also if any of our stores are in need of some extra help, or a new store has opened, we are able to use the VIP function and email alerts to make sure they receive the attention they need. In addition to this, processes have been set up to avoid calls bouncing from one support analyst to another, as they did with the previous call queuing system.”
Reports that drive the business forward
The software has provided team managers with a tool to track workloads and resourcing more closely. By reporting on time logged vs time worked, they have been able to drive their teams towards 100 per cent logging of incidents. Publishing reports such as ‘number of calls logged and resolved’, and ‘time taken to resolve calls’ has acted as a great motivator across the different teams. These days even annual objectives are logged as incidents within Sostenuto, and their progress tracked accordingly.
“Now we know exactly what’s happening in the business. We can go into management meetings knowing that all the information we might need is at our fingertips. SLA reports give us an instant glimpse of trends and the information we need to correct them if they are going in the wrong direction.”
As a result, the feedback from senior management has been excellent, as they have watched the service get better and better each month.
Working with Sunrise
“I would definitely recommend turning to Sunrise for a project like this,” says Smith. “The service we’ve received has been spot on right from the start. The implementation went really smoothly. We closed the old system on the Friday and switched on Sostenuto on the Monday, without any hiccups at all.”
On the strength of its successes over the past two years, since beginning its IT service transformation project, the team is looking to help other areas of the business improve their processes, as well as developing its own processes even further. The awareness of Sostenuto’s capabilities beyond IT service has now conditioned people to think: “Imagine if we could…?” … and then to go off and actually do it.