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Flying colours at
June 2014, Issue 2, volume 16
Last February I visited Paris for a couple of days. It was nice to
spend some time in a different environment. It might have
been the fact that I had to communicate in French. Perhaps I
enjoyed fguring out the Parisian metro system. Whatever the
reason, I returned to work on Monday bursting with energy!
Stepping outside your comfort zone from time to time can
provide you with new insights and successes. In this magazine
you can read how the University of St Andrews changed its
culture to achieve success. They recently became the frst
European university to receive a three-star service desk
We also explore the topic of shared service management,
how you can improve trust between departments, and tips
on creating effective customer satisfaction surveys. I hope
this magazine gives you plenty of inspiration to seek out new
Enjoy your read!
06 FLYING COLOURS AT ROC MONDRIAAN
10 THE SECRET TO SERVICE SUCCESS
The University of St Andrews’ success story
14 SHARED SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Expertise is better shared
20 FROM NO TO YES
Trust during implementations
22 OH NO, A SURVEY!
Measuring customer satisfaction
24 WORKING SMARTER
SMS alerts from TOPdesk
28 TIPS + TRICKS
ON THE COVER:
Mariska Hoogerdijk, senior service
desk employee for the ROC
Mondriaan education group
YOU CAN SEE THE
IN THE SERVICE
TOPdesk Consultancy team leader
Read more on page 14
CONTENTS June ’14
@TOPdesk_UK Craig Jeacock from
@CoalAuthority discusses Solid
Metrics. Visit Theatre 3 at 10:00
to learn more about effective KPIs
and reports #SITS14
@CraigJeacock Enjoyed presenting
this morning at #SITS14 in Earls
Court – thanks @TOPdesk_UK for
Congratulations on the terrifc
fundraising! #mib #ronasailing
@UCISA @TOPdesk_UK Thanks for
your generosity in donating prizes
– we can’t have a raffe without
@Zenza07 @TOPdesk What is the
URL for TOPdesk’s user forum?
Haven’t visited in a while (but have
@TOPdesk The TOPdesk
Community is available at
TOPdesk releases version 5.4
On 24 April, TOPdesk released a new version
of its service management software: TOPdesk
5.4. This release brings you the latest
innovations for ITSM, CAFM and eHRM.
TOPdesk 5.4 introduces the revamped
Contract Management and SLM (Service
Level Management) module. The new priority
matrix lets you specify the service levels
within your SLAs (service level agreements)
down to the fnest detail. This lets you be
even clearer about the agreements in your
Product and Services Catalogue. You can
use a malfunction’s priority and impact to
determine the duration of a call, for instance.
In the Call Management module you can
easily apply SLAs to calls.
TOPdesk Mobile has also been improved.
Operators can now use their smartphone to
create calls on location. They can also easily
group tasks by date, branch or operator group.
In addition, TOPdesk 5.4 provides a number
of great new options for departments that
use TOPdesk eHRM, such as an improved
authorization system, extra felds for employee
data and HR dashboards. Other new features
include options for the Knowledge Base, the
Form Designer and major call monitoring.
TOPdesk 5 customers can download the new
version for free. Want to know more about
the most important new functionalities?
Go to www.topdesk.co.uk/topdesk54
Stay up to date
To stay up to date on the latest TOPdesk
news and service management
developments, follow us via the
Visit TOPdesk at
TOPdesk will be present at the European
Facility Management Conference (EFMC) on
5 and 6 June. This year’s edition takes place
in Berlin, Germany. We will have a stand on
the showroom foor, and share our expertise
with industry professionals.
The EFMC is the most important network
event for European Facility Management
professionals. This year’s theme is: FM –
Innovation, Integration, Vision. The event
focuses on topics such as innovation,
technology, business models and facility
More information about the EFMC is
available at www.efmc-conference.com.
Hilton Metropole, Birmingham
TOPdesk on Tour
Support Services Conference
Crewe Hall, Crewe
TOPdesk on Tour
TOPdesk on Tour
TOPdesk on Tour
TOPdesk on Tour
TOPdesk on Tour is in full swing. We have
already visited a number of European
countries, with more German and Belgian
visits to come. What’s more, this autumn
we will also hit the road in the UK. Visit
TOPdesk on Tour for an inspiring day
of presentations, practical cases and
interactive sessions. Keep an eye on our
website for all the dates and locations.
fnalist for SDI Best
TOPdesk is happy to announce that we have
been selected as a fnalist for the prestigious
SDI Best Vendor Award 2014. The SDI (Service
Desk Institute) presents this award to the
IT service vendor with the best track record
in customer service according to the most
important critics: the end users themselves.
Customers were able to nominate their
preferred supplier, with the four highest-rated
suppliers making it to the fnal. TOPdesk is
honoured to be selected, and would like to
thank all of our customers for their support.
The award ceremony will be held on 18 June,
as part of the two-day SDI conference in
Birmingham. TOPdesk will also be exhibiting
at the show.
For more information about the award
and the conference, visit
6 CUSTOMER IN FOCUS
“No two days are the same,” says Mariska Hoogerdijk, senior
service desk employee for the ROC Mondriaan education
group, of her job. With her team of 5 she supports 27 schools
comprising about 2,200 employees and 22,000 students.
FLYING COLOURS AT
Text: Timme Hos
CUSTOMER IN FOCUS 7
Mariska Hoogerdijk, senior service desk employee for the ROC Mondriaan education group
Photography: Aad Hoogendoorn
8 CUSTOMER IN FOCUS
The ROC Mondriaan, which offers vocational training, general
education and job-related courses, has its headquarters in the Dutch
city of The Hague. Hoogerdijk and her team share the fourth foor with
other services, such as HRM, Finance and IT.
On the other foors, the students attend their lessons. This means
that the service desk has a view of the Hair and Make-up course’s
salon chairs. “It’s not unusual for a student to walk in looking to cut
someone’s hair,” says Hoogerdijk with a laugh. “That’s one of the fun
things about sharing a building with the students.”
Supporting the campuses
Helping out students – from future soldiers to beauticians – is not
the service desk’s most important task. “Our main task is helping
the employees with all their problems and questions,” explains
Hoogerdijk. This is no mean feat for an educational institution with 27
schools in and around The Hague, spread over 17 locations and divided
into 6 campuses. “For each campus, we support the same ‘club’ of IT
specialists, caretakers and their supervisors,” says Hoogerdijk.
Regardless of the call type received by the service desk, Hoogerdijk’s
team picks it up. “If we can’t resolve it, we send it to the relevant
operator group.” There are about 50 operator groups active at ROC
Mondriaan. Some things are put straight through to an external
organization. “Like when something severe has happened, such as
a big leak,” says Hoogerdijk. “But we also put printer malfunctions
through to third parties.”
Getting started with TOPdesk
Early last year, the service desk started looking for a new software
package to meet ROC Mondriaan’s needs. “We were looking for a
broad facilities management package for creating and monitoring
calls, subletting contracts, long-term maintenance planning and
managing all our inventories. But above all: a user-friendly package
that does not require a lot of bespoke work,” says Hoogerdijk.
They soon chose TOPdesk. Hoogerdijk was the project leader for
the implementation process. “As the service desk’s senior employee, I
use TOPdesk intensively. Due to less than ideal experiences with our
previous call management package, I had a good idea of what we were
TOPdesk was implemented step by step. All employees were
registered in TOPdesk via a link with the HRM data. Once that was
complete, the required links were created, branches and locations
(including inventories) were registered in TOPdesk and the work
processes were analysed and described.
ROC Mondriaan went live with Call Management last year, with
the caretakers and IT specialists as the main operator groups. The
TOPdesk consultant was initially responsible for the training, but
WE SOLVE OTHER
IT’S FUN THAT THE
SERVICE DESK SHARES
A BUILDING WITH
CUSTOMER IN FOCUS 9
Hoogerdijk soon took over. “That was quite easy for me, because I
have a good idea of TOPdesk’s benefts, making communicating this
straightforward,” says Hoogerdijk.
A spontaneous launch
A little more than six months on, what are her thoughts on TOPdesk?
“It’s great that we can do more ourselves here at the service desk,”
says Hoogerdijk. “This is where we resolve problems at other locations;
it is very effcient. For instance, if there is a problem with the plumbing
that the caretakers cannot fx, we put it straight through to our
The Self Service Desk has been up and running for about four
months, and people are already making good use of it. “I recently
created an overview to see how we are doing. Things are going well:
the number of calls registered via the Self Service Desk already equals
the number we receive through other channels.”
The introduction of the Self Service Desk was more spontaneous than
initially planned, as Hoogerdijk explains. “We weren’t offcially live yet,
but the IT department had already prepared the link to the Self Service
Desk for everyone. Everyone just started clicking the icon and creating
calls. I really liked seeing that; after all, TOPdesk is very accessible.”
Looking forwards with TOPdesk
In November, ROC Mondriaan started using TOPdesk’s Reservations
Management module. “We want to use this for the various locations’
meeting rooms,” says Hoogerdijk. “People can make their own
reservations using the Self Service Desk. The reservation arrives at
the central desk, which takes care of the rest of the process. Internal
customers are gaining more and more insight into the entire process,
and you can tell that this is appreciated.”
Hoogerdijk also wants to take a closer look at how processes
can be registered in Change Management. “Imagine someone new
commences here,” says Hoogerdijk. “They would need an email
account, but that can only be created once they have a login code. We
want to map out step-by-step plans like that.”
Even if more and more activities are registered, Hoogerdijk still never
knows what the day holds for her when she starts work each morning.
“For instance, we had a problem with the network yesterday,” says
Hoogerdijk. “Everything was down: all locations, all power, telephones,
network. At times like that the service desk receives questions like,
‘What should we do with the students? Should we send them home?’
It is this kind of variety that I like about my job. The atmosphere at the
service desk is also great, defnitely now things are so much easier and
smoother with TOPdesk.”
ROC Mondriaan in numbers
5 service desk employees
27 schools in and around The Hague
Around 55 operator groups
Around 2,200 employees
Around 20,000 students
Around 1,500 calls per month,
of which 750 are registered via the SSD
10 CUSTOMER IN FOCUS
University of St Andrews
CUSTOMER IN FOCUS 11
“We support the university’s staff and
student community and visitors,” explains
Lorraine Brown, St Andrews’ IT Service Desk
manager. For the university, this means
2,200 staff, 8,000 students and almost
35,000 visitors a year – nearly a third of the
population of the town of St Andrews itself.
The university is an intrinsic part of the city.
No surprise, considering that the institution
is over 600 years old, making it the oldest in
The university may have a venerable age
but its IT Service Desk is undeniably modern.
With its self service facility, including online
tutorials and extensive FAQ section, online
suggestion scheme and IT Services Twitter
account, it is clear that St Andrews’ IT
Services department is utilizing the latest
developments to provide the best possible
service to its customers. They make it easy to
fnd the information you need, and equally
easy to contact them via the telephone,
email, online or in person if you cannot fgure
things out for yourself. The IT Service Desk
is transparent, accessible and highly visible
within the organization. However, this was
not always the case. Lorraine Brown, one
of the people responsible for turning the St
Andrews IT Service Desk around, explains
what it took to raise IT Service’s profle and
get everyone on the same page.
Finding a framework
IT underpins every aspect of a person’s day-
to-day university life. IT Services comprises
over ninety specialists and the IT Service Desk
team is comprised of seven full-time analysts,
a manager, a supervisor and a number of
students working part-time. With such a
large, diverse department, it is not surprising
to hear that the department was not always
as cohesive as it is now. “When I arrived here,
there were lots of little groups working in
isolation,” says Brown. IT Services had to deal
with problems familiar to many supporting
Attentive readers of TOPdesk Magazine
already know: the University of St
Andrews recently became the frst
European university to receive a three-
star SDI accreditation. Read on to fnd
out how the university’s IT Services
department changed its culture,
adopted a new tool and increased
12 CUSTOMER IN FOCUS
departments: limited visibility within the
organization and communication with room
“The change began in January 2010, when
Steve Watt was appointed Chief Information
Offcer” says Brown. “He was absolutely
committed to IT Services providing excellent
customer service. He sent all of IT Services on
a world-class customer training course. That
took us a step forward. We also all went on ITIL
training, which helped, but we wanted more
change and needed help to drive this forward.”
Their search led them to the Service Desk
Institute (SDI), the leading professional body
for the IT and support industry. “We liked
what we read about the SDI. They work
within a globally measured standard. We
contacted them in February 2012, and by
April we had signed a three-year contract to
go through their certifcation programme,”
says Brown. The frst step towards SDI
accreditation is two stars. “We had our initial
audit in May 2012 – we didn’t meet the
two-star requirement, achieving a score of
1.64”. However, rather than be disheartened,
the IT Service Desk used the assessment as
a concrete starting point for improvements.
“We took the SDI feedback and developed
it into a project,” says Brown. “By December
2012 we had achieved a two-star
accreditation. Every year after that the SDI
came back for surveillance audit. In the same
period, the SDI reviewed their standards.
They do this as part of their continual
service improvement, and it made it much
more diffcult to get certifed. This had us
worried.” This turned out to be completely
unnecessary, however: the improvements at
the IT Service Desk were clear to see for the
SDI. “We achieved three stars!”
But how did they manage to become the
frst European university to achieve this
success? This is something that Service Desk
managers want, yet may fnd hard to realize.
At St Andrews, the key to moving forward
was ensuring the various teams within IT
Services worked better together. “I’d say the
big change for the service desk team was
when IT Services went on ITIL training. For
the frst time ever, we all started speaking
the same language: incidents, service
requests, escalations. It also helped raise
awareness of the IT Service Desk’s role within
the department, because it made second and
third line support see what we were stopping
at the door.” This new-found appreciation
and understanding helped get everybody
on board with the changes within the
department. “The turning point was when
the department started to see improvement.
Success breeds success,” says Brown.
The improvements within the IT Services
department are immediately visible – and
have had a clear impact on the department
as a whole. “Communication fow within IT
Services has improved unbelievably. People
now ask for advice from the front line service
desk before they implement anything.
For instance, a few months back we were
asked our opinion on a project’s proposed
time scale. We suggested it be delayed for
operational reasons. It was rolled out a
month later, and with more success than if
we had stuck to the original time scale. We
never had this level of interaction before.”
Engaging end users
With the framework in place and the ITIL
training getting everyone on the same
page, it was time for an even bigger push
towards a shift in culture. The frst step was
repositioning the IT Services department
within the university. The department
realized they were not visible within the
organization, but were not sure how to
remedy this. The solution was daring, but
undeniably effective. “We brought in an
experienced Business Relationship Manager
(BRM), Pauline Brown. She was able to
completely rebrand IT Services – giving the
department an identity.” With the BRM’s help,
the IT Services raised their profle within the
organization. “We changed all the images
we used: we started putting our front line
service desk staff on all our publicity material
instead of photographs of computers. We
wanted to be seen as a department who were
friendly, approachable, proactive and keen
to help our end users. We’re not just here to
provide systems, or help with emergencies.”
The department started actively reaching
out to users. An important tool was the
revamped IT Services homepage, which now
includes a welcome flm and a suggestion
page. “It’s an incentivized scheme: users
have a chance to win free coffee for a month
from one of the university cafe outlets,” says
Brown. However, this is not the only way they
solicit customer feedback. “We also have
postcard feedback stations near classrooms.
We want to make sure they see we’re there
to support them.” End users can also provide
immediate feedback on the services provided
thanks to the one-minute survey: every user
who logs a call is asked to comment on the
services. This has proven to be an excellent
way to get customer feedback, but it also
provides even more proof that the changes
are working. “We have an eight per cent
response rate, and in January 2014 we had
one hundred per cent overall customer
satisfaction,” says Brown. “We received no
complaints, nineteen suggestions and seven
compliments directly related to IT Services
Four stars and beyond
Despite the IT Service Desk’s impressive
achievements, Brown does not want to rest
on her laurels. “This year, we’re working
towards a four-star certifcation. If we
achieve that, we’ll be the only university
worldwide to do so.” This may sound
ambitious, but it is well within reach, as
Brown explains. “There are nine concepts and
each one is weighted differently. For instance,
the leadership concept represents fourteen
per cent of the total score, and we’re already
on four stars for that.”
However, the drive to continue improving
services does not mean that the current
three-star accreditation is seen as simply a
stepping stone towards something more.
“Achieving the three-star accreditation was
an effort by the whole department,” says
Brown. “We have worked really hard, and are
being rewarded with recognition now.”
The SDI accreditation is not the only proof
of how well the service desk is doing. “Every
year, we participate in the i-Graduate
survey. It provides valuable information
about student satisfaction across many
areas, including IT support,” says Pauline
Brown, Business Relationship Manager
The 2013 results are based on a survey
conducted among 227,579 students from
178 institutions worldwide. St Andrews
received a 21% response rate. “With our
recent excellent SDI results, this reinforces
that we are doing a great job in this area.
The additional measures we put in places
have gone a long way in creating a good
impression of IT Services with our student
community – and that’s extremely important
CUSTOMER IN FOCUS 13
Lorraine Brown and Steve Watt, University of St Andrews
Results: support average – IT services support
2013 2012 2011
Satisfed 93% 93.6% 92.3%
Internationally 1 (of 45) 4 (of 41) 4 (of 31)
UK 1 (of 22) 4 (of 28) 4 (of 24)
14 PROCESS AND PRACTICE
A quick glance at the last few years’ trends shows us how the largest
supporting departments within organizations are working to become
more professional when it comes to service management. This
focuses on delivering better quality for lower prices. IT integrates new
technologies and management models to make services easier to
manage and faster to change. More and more platforms are cloud-based,
ITIL is still popular and there is growing demand for (ISO) certifcation.
FM has been professionalizing services using a facility management
information system for a while now. This lets end users easily reserve
meeting rooms and request lunch via a portal. The Dutch NEN standards
are often used to make services, which are frequently outsourced,
manageable. In recent years, HR has switched to eHRM: supporting HR
services using service management software. This also uses frameworks
and best practices developed specifcally for the HR market.
It is notable that these individual departments are primarily acting
on their own initiative, and each takes their own approach. The HR,
FM and IT managers play a big part in this. After all, it is they who
determine the strategy for their departments, which is currently too
focused on their own services. However, the user has ever-growing
expectations. Previously people understood that it takes time before
a software package can be installed, and that it is complicated to
launch a web page or implement a change in a staff management
system. Now end users are less and less patient, but also less and less
understanding. This is a result of the Google effect.
Google effect vs. compartmentalization
The Google effect is people’s tendency to forget information that
is easy to fnd online using search engines like Google. This is the
conclusion of a joint study performed by the universities of Columbia,
Wisconsin and Harvard in 2011
Supporting departments within organizations have traditionally
focused on managing and continually improving their own services.
However, end users are becoming more and more critical and
demanding of services supplied by HR, FM and IT departments.
This is why it is time for supporting departments to combine their
strengths in order to meet the business’ high expectations in the
future. It is time for Shared Service Management!
… is a TOPdesk Consultancy team leader
Expertise is better shared
You can also see the Google effect in the service management
feld. People are now used to a fast, central and even cost-free way of
having their questions answered. Employees are gradually coming to
expect this at work as well. Common feedback can be attributed to
the Google effect: “I want to be able to do things easily, without using
complicated portals or forms.” “Why do I have to choose whether to
take my question to HR, FM or IT? I want to use a single desk for all my
questions.” “Why does everything have to take so long? I would have
been done by now if I had used Google!”
It will be diffcult for organizations with supporting departments
using only internally focused strategies to stand up to this new
commentary. The reason supporting departments are so focused on
themselves is the compartmentalization that has developed since the
departments’ creation. They are used to resolving the challenges they
face within their own department. Each feld has its own frameworks,
standards and methods (ITIL, ISO, NEN, etc.), the schooling is strictly
separated, and the knowledge platforms, shows and magazines all
focus on a specifc audience (HR, FM or IT).
It is obvious that the situation described here is not easily changed.
It is up to HR, FM and IT managers to reach a strategic solution:
working together to improve services where they truly overlap. The
solution is Shared Service Management
Shared Service Management
Shared Service Management (hereafter referred to as SSM) is a new
strategic trend. Supporting departments join forces to improve the
quality of services while cutting costs. It is important to acknowledge
the strength of each department while searching for the areas where
the services overlap and can be improved. This has a synergetic effect:
expertise is better shared.
We can see three categories among the projects observed to include
steps towards more shared services:
• Collaboration on tools
• Collaboration on organization
• Collaboration on process management
The SSM growth model has been developed to help organizations
achieve shared services. This growth model, based on experiences in
the feld, comprises four phases that can be seen as maturity phases
within SSM (see fgure 2). The way these steps are ordered creates
a logical, step-by-step change process, with each phase focusing on
one of three areas: tool, organization or process management. Each
following phase naturally brings together supporting departments’
services, increases the maturity of the departments and results in both
increased quality and lower costs.
PROCESS AND PRACTICE 15
Figure 1: Shared Service Management
Figure 2: SSM growth model
Phase 0: nothing shared
Each department uses its own tools to support its processes. This
can be anything from a professional service management tool to
sticky notes. The processes are not coordinated and vary greatly in
terms of maturity. Employees focus on their own department. This
phase’s greatest challenge is to share the information streams with
other departments when necessary. An example: employee changes
that require the various departments to swing into action. Each
department also uses its own service management tools.
Phase 1: shared tool
A shared service management tool is used to improve the information
stream. This also results in considerable savings when it comes to
licence costs and management. The various departments still use
their own work methods, based on their own culture. Nevertheless,
agreements must be made about the tool’s terminology and set-up.
The frst signs of project-based collaboration are visible. A tip: have
the Information Management department take a leading role in this
project to prevent IT dominating, and big discussions. After all, HR,
FM and IT are all end users for the service management tool. Not
much has changed for the end users; they still deal with the three
departments to support their work: HR, FM and IT.
Phase 2: shared service desk
The end user can now take all questions and requests to a single digital
and/or physical desk. With the exception of agreements about how calls
are registered and routed, each department processes calls in their own
way. However, the collaboration does intensify, because operators from
various departments must collaborate at the shared service desk. This
leads to a considerable improvement in quality for the end user, as
well as reduced costs resulting from sharing resources at the service
desk. A tip: promote this shared service desk using a slogan and a ‘face’
to prevent people from continuing to use the old channels.
It is primarily the front end that improves: the user sees
improvement, but still experiences different levels of service quality.
This is caused by the individual departments maintaining their own
work processes. Examples of this are inconsistent communication
about status updates and large differences in duration for similar calls.
Phase 3: shared processes
The processes and procedures that require the departments to work
together, or feature a considerable overlap in activities, are designed in
collaboration. Call management and employee changes are the most
obvious examples with which to start. This will happen gradually, and
will not be equally relevant for all processes.
After implementing this new shared process, the process
management must also be centrally sourced. A tip: source this
process management at the front end, with the service desk team.
This is where colleagues physically meet. The management of the
various departments plays an important role in this. They will have to
understand and promote the importance of this phase and recognize
the authority of the process managers.
The right ambition
Recent research performed by TOPdesk among 210 respondents
indicates that many organizations have taken the frst steps towards
phases 1 and 2 (see fgure 5)
, but few have attempted phase 3.
The probable explanation for this is that the cut costs become
smaller and less visible the further one progresses in the growth
model (see fgure 6).
As long as IT managers focus only on saving money, organizations
will not progress much further than phase 2. Optimal results can only
be achieved when managers not only focus on saving money, but also
the quality of services (regardless of the phase). It is essential to look
beyond costs: the quality must also improve. If you wish to achieve
this, the ambition must always be right, namely continuing to meet
the growing demands of the business by combining the strengths of
the supporting departments. And saving a lot of money while doing
so. Not the other way around.
The business continues to ask for more against lower costs. They
want to do things faster and more easily, while having to think less
and receiving consistent service. This is not something that every
supporting department can resolve individually. This is why it is up to
the manager to adjust the strategy accordingly and consciously choose
to collaborate with other supporting departments to improve the
quality of services. To achieve Shared Service Management, strengths
must be combined when it comes to the tool, the service desk and the
processes while each department maintains its own expertise. The goal
is realizing more collaborative services with considerable savings. This
lets you guarantee customer satisfaction for end users in the future.
16 PROCESS AND PRACTICE
YOU CAN SEE THE GOOGLE
EFFECT IN THE SERVICE
1 Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our
Fingertips, Science, 15 July 2011, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043/776.
2 This term was introduced by TOPdesk during TOPdesk on Tour 2013
PROCESS AND PRACTICE 17
Figure 3: Different information streams
within HR, FM and IT
Figure 4: End users deal with
Figure 5: Survey results for research into
SSM maturity within HR, FM and IT
Figure 6: Relationship between quality
improvement and savings
Phase 0 Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
Shared Service Management
The natural way for all your departments to work together
Let your services fourish with Shared Service Management. TOPdesk’s
service management software features modules that are designed
specifcally for supporting departments such as IT, FM and HR. In fact,
it is the only tool that perfectly integrates these processes. Creating a
cohesive work environment has never been easier.
Want to fnd out how TOPdesk can also support your FM department?
Visit us at the Facilities Show in London from 17-19 June. Our experts
look forward to meeting you at stand Q1500.
Service Management Simplified
I still live near the coast, so I have spent my
entire life close to the sea. All four seasons
give me plenty of reasons to visit the
beach. In the summer I like to catch the
sun, in the autumn I enjoy the storms, in
the winter I get a breath of fresh air and in
the spring it’s where I go to eat the frst ice
cream of the year.
I have always wanted to be close to the sea,
even on holidays. I could be on the other
side of the world, where I could see and
discover everything and anything, but I had
to be able to see the sea and feel the sand
between my toes. After all, I can’t think
of anything better than the salty air and
frothing surf. To me, that feels like home,
which I suppose is rather strange. You go on
holiday to get away from home.
People have often told me that I am
missing out on a lot. I suppose they were
right. It is a shame to keep looking for
exactly that which you already have at
home. Beautiful inland areas did not
register on my radar when I was on
holiday. I did not see the lakes and the
jungles. The beach was my comfort zone
and I clung to it, even on holiday.
Realizing this made me consciously step
outside my comfort zone in recent years,
even on holiday. Now I head inland, which
yields so much beauty. Five years ago I
enjoyed a safari in the Krueger National Park
and I did not miss the sea or beach once.
I think a lot of people have a certain
comfort zone from which they too expressly
do not stray, even in their career. For
instance, your own department or desk can
be wonderful places to perform all your
tasks. However, staying in this comfort zone
means you miss out on other great things.
The unknown is where you fnd challenges
and innovation. It is when I deviate from my
usual patterns that I see so many chances
for new projects that could enrich my
work. It would be a shame for me to only
focus on Consultancy, my own department,
for example: collaborating with other
departments, such as Planning and Sales,
offers me many more insights.
Now when I encounter an unknown path
leading I know not where, I happily take
it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I
make sure to embrace chances with open
arms. My next holiday is already planned.
The destination? The Indonesian island
of Bali, a place with plenty of beaches
and ocean. My comfort zone is well
represented. However, I won’t be skipping
the inland areas either, with four nights
RON VAN HAASTEREN
I spend a lot of time on the beach. Not strange, considering I
grew up in a seaside town. My parents’ house was less than fve
minutes’ walk from the beach. That was always perfect for me,
whether for walking the dog in the dunes, or going for a quick
swim after school with friends.
… is a TOPdesk consultant. He has a degree in Communication
Studies and uses this knowledge when performing his tasks for
20 PROCESS AND PRACTICE
FROM NO TO YES
… is a TOPdesk consultant. She has extensive experience with
implementation processes at various types of organizations.
Good collaboration starts with trust. Nothing is better than
a colleague doing what he or she promises. Nevertheless,
mistrust holds sway over many organizations. How can you
go from ‘no’ to ‘yes’?
Collaboration is paramount. This is also the
case during TOPdesk implementations. The
project group collaborates on the TOPdesk
set-up. You have to survey various colleagues
for information essential to the set-up. In
addition, it is becoming more and more
common for different departments to work
together in TOPdesk.
During implementations I sometimes hear
about the trust being in a poor state: “They
don’t even understand how to turn on a
computer, never mind log in to TOPdesk.” “My
customer won’t call the service desk, they’ll
just talk to me at the water cooler.” “You have
to request things from IT at least two months
in advance.” Such comments stem from what
I call the ‘no’ mode. I will return to this later
on in this article.
Semco: success through trust
Leading Brazilian entrepreneur Ricardo
Semler proves that trust is the foundation
of business success. In a 2013 Backlight
documentary by VPRO, Semler explains
how he built his Semco business empire
on the basis of happy employees. “Happy
employees create good business results,”
Semler says in the documentary. One of the
reasons behind his employees’ happiness is
the trust they receive from direct colleagues
and managers. This of course requires
discipline – correctly using the freedom
offered – but in practice most employees
honour the trust. In other times, it was
not unusual for dissatisfed employees to
cease work. However, there have not been
any strikes in the past 26 years. Semler’s
method proves that trust yields results. The
company sees both proft and growth, and
the employees are satisfed.
Trust starts with
Everything seems to go smoothly at Semco:
trust your employees entirely and everything
will be fne. Everyone is happy and you can
rake in the money. However, anyone who has
ever had their trust betrayed knows: trust is
hard won and easily lost. If a colleague has
made a mess of things in the past, it is hard
to have faith that they will get it right next
time. When a department is known for being
stiff and stubborn, it may well seem unlikely
that they will switch to a new, carefully
It is important to realize that learning
to trust starts at home. The frst step is
Photography: Menno van der Bijl
PROCESS AND PRACTICE 21
communication. Have you agreed with a
colleague that he or she will pick up a task?
Emphasize the possible consequences of not
performing the task. As a consultant, I can
tell the project group to do their homework
and trust that this will happen. However, I
can also say, “Make sure the current points
are completed, so that next session we can
fnish the set-up and move on to the next
module.” In that case, the project group can
determine what they fnd most important:
performing other tasks or completing the
current points for the project. I trust in the
department to make the right choice.
From ‘no’ to ‘yes’
Earlier in this article I described the ‘no’ mode
I occasionally encounter among individuals
or even entire departments during TOPdesk
implementations. These ‘no’ modes require
a lot of energy. But how do you change a ‘no’
to a ‘yes’?
Firstly I would advise you to leave your
assumptions at the door. Do not assume
that someone does not understand, does
not want to do something, or cannot do
something: ask frst. You will see that you
receive more positive answers than you
thought. I once had a 67-year-old take part
in one of my Call Management training
sessions. At the start of the session I
assumed that the participant would quit
halfway through. I could not have been more
wrong: the participant was the most curious
and enthusiastic one in the entire group.
It is also important to put yourself in the
customer’s position. For instance, have you
ever wondered why your customer does not
want to do something, or why you have to
wait so long for your colleague? Customers
and colleagues generally only want two
things: to be helped properly and to help
others to the best of their ability.
Take the customer from the start of this
article, for instance. They wanted to maintain
the ‘tell me in the hallway’ culture. If, in this
customer’s experience, they are best helped
by talking to someone in the hallway, then
that will remain their ideal way to go about
things. However, if a customer like this has
an equally good – or better – experience
with the service desk, they may well use
the service desk in future. So basically, in
the best case, you could adjust a situation –
such as introducing a new process – in such
a way that your customer ‘automatically’
This is your challenge. I trust that you will
make it a success.
THAT TRUST IS THE
22 PROCESS AND PRACTICE
How do you respond to survey requests? Do you click them away? Your
customers probably respond the same way when you send them a
work-related survey request. While it is these measurements that are so
important to the improvement of your services. How do you make sure
your customers provide the feedback you need?
When introducing a customer satisfaction survey, it only makes sense
to begin with the question: what do I want to measure? You determine
which parts of your services are the most important, what you want
to know about them and create a list of questions. Nevertheless, in
practice it proves to be diffcult to get people to respond and it takes
your department time to process all the information. What is going
wrong? This approach has you asking the right questions, but you are
missing the most important prerequisite: you are forgetting to think
from your customer’s perspective.
What is a logical survey moment?
It might be a bit much to posit that you are not thinking from
your customer’s perspective. After all, you send them as few surveys
as possible. Just the one per year, for instance, so as not to overwhelm
your customer. However, this assumption is not quite right and
does not get the desired results. You eventually send a huge list of
questions about all aspects of your services and receive hardly any
responses. For your customer, the threshold is high when faced with
a long survey to fll in – higher than with several smaller surveys. It is
not that you approach your customer with as few surveys as possible,
but approaching your customer at the right time.
If a customer has just used your services, it will feel logical to them
to provide feedback. There is a reason to send him or her a (short)
survey and to ask about his or her experiences with the process: a
so-called process measurement. This measurement answers questions
such as, have we processed this call well? What did the customer
think about the communication regarding progress updates? You
can perform such measurements after completing a project for your
customer, for instance, or even after processing calls. Before you
introduce process measurements, you must frst map out how the
department handles contact with your customer: which services does
the customer use and which contact moments can we identify? This
measurement concerns a completed whole, so you can keep the survey
short while using open questions to gather higher quality input. The
customer will be more like to answer the questions and processing the
answers will not take much time.
When should you ask what?
A process measurement answers the question of whether you
are doing things well. However, you probably also want to know more
generally whether your customers are satisfed – the answer to the
question: are we doing the right things? Your customer understands
that you can use recurring surveys to improve your services and is
happy to fll in a survey once a year. You do not need to send surveys
more often; your customer’s opinion of your services will not change
from month to month. Do think about when to send the survey: take
into account the holiday periods and make sure the survey does not
coincide with other instances of customer communication.
During the process measurement you ask specifc questions
about certain processes, so you are able to keep recurring customer
Text: Nienke Deuss
PROCESS AND PRACTICE 23
satisfaction surveys brief. Such surveys answer questions like: are we
supplying the services that our customers expect? Are we focusing on
the right aspects of our services?
In these measurements, customers are often asked to supply
scores: how important does he or she fnd the service and is he or she
satisfed? This results in a matrix that helps you determine your most
important points of improvement.
How can you ask for feedback?
The easier it is for your customer to fll in the survey, the more
likely they are to actually do it. Printing, flling in and returning a Word
fle will not result in many responses, so try to think of ways to make
this simpler. Of course you can use a web form, but also consider using
quick surveys (about three questions) or ‘likes’. Answering a question
by clicking an option is easier than typing a response. For instance, you
will receive many more responses by providing only three buttons as
possible answers: .
Tip: the biggest threshold for your customer is actually starting the
survey. If you let customers answer questions on your website with a
single click, they are also more likely to answer the following question.
After all, they have already decided to help you with their frst click.
This means you can have a link on your site open a number of follow-
up questions. There is a good chance that your customer will also fll
Tip: do not ask unnecessary questions. Can you link the personal
information from your staff fle to the respondent’s email address? If
so, do not make the customer fll this in themselves.
What does your customer want to know?
Communication is very important, both before, during and after
Before: a customer who knows what you want to measure, as well as
the goal of the measurement, is more likely to fll in your survey. Use
existing communication moments to explain this and announce the
measurement, write a message for the newsletter and think of an
email footer. When you send the actual invitation, it is important to
manage expectations: does your survey comprise eight questions? Say
so in the invitation.
During: to make sure that the customer flls in the entire survey, it can
be useful to provide information about the progress while they are
taking the survey. Think, for instance, of a progress bar and completion
percentage at the top of the screen, or the number of the question as
it relates to the total number of questions. If the fnish line is in view,
the customer will probably complete the survey.
After: your customer will be curious about what is done with their
input. When the survey is completed, communicate what the next
steps are: when you will share the results, and whether the customer
can expect a response.
What does the customer expect afterwards?
It is important to communicate the results to your customer
after you have processed the answers. Your customer took the time
to provide input, and will appreciate it if you let them know that
you take their opinion seriously. Tell your customer what you will do
with the feedback. Discuss the results within your department and
try to connect concrete action points to the results. Approach your
most unsatisfed customers personally and ask them for additional
information. This provides more insight into why the customer is not
satisfed and will ensure the customer feels heard.
Tip: save the scores and answers per customer. This lets you compare
these over the years and refer to them when you contact the
Of course you cannot take absolutely everything into account,
and not every survey will be as easy to fll in. However, do take a
moment to consider how the customer experiences things when
creating your customer satisfaction survey. Think from your customer’s
perspective and who knows: maybe your survey will result in better
customer satisfaction rather than mere irritation.
… is an information distribution coordinator. He is specialized in
technical issues and optimizing processes.
Nowadays, most people have a mobile phone, and all mobile phones
can receive SMS messages. This is why SMS is the perfect way to
reach operators outside ofce hours, or to alert them to urgent calls,
or to reach operators outside ofce hours. Such messages are also a
good way to keep callers up to date on the status of their call.
TOPdesk’s Event Management module lets you send
HTTP requests to SMS service providers. For this
article, we will use MessageBird as our example.
You send TOPdesk data from a card, such as the
brief description or the caller’s telephone number,
using an HTTP request. The SMS supplier sends the
actual SMS message and processes any responses.
MessageBird divides messages longer than 160
characters into several SMS messages, and charges
The following technical steps are required:
1. Create a MesssageBird account: https://www.messagebird.com/en/user/create. The
frst three SMS messages are free. Use TOPdesk’s Action Explorer to create one or more
HTTP requests for your desired card. Enter the following data: server: api.messagebird.
com, port: 80, frst line: POST, URL and HTTP/1.1. (Test the URL in a web browser before
flling it in.)
2. Indicate where the action should be active: Self Service Desk and/or the Operator’s
3. Activate the action by clicking Active.
4. Create one or more events to trigger sending a message.
5. Link the event(s) to the action(s).
6. Refresh the TOPdesk system settings and reopen a card to apply the change.
24 WORKING SMARTER
Photography: Robin Kuijs
Controlling MessageBird via HTTP request
The HTTP request URL comprises the following elements:
• MessageBird account login name and password
• Recipient (or recipients’) telephone number
• Message content
• Message sender (can be a name or a telephone number)
• Reaction type (for status information for the operator)
• Method of sending (standard SMS, business SMS or text to speech)
You can try the following URL:
To use the URL in TOPdesk, replace the values with TOPdesk insertion
felds, remove ‘http://api.messagebird.com’ and enclose the URL within
\U and \u. The HTTP request will then look as follows:
In this example, TOPdesk sends an SMS message to the operator’s
mobile phone number. Other commonly used places in TOPdesk to
register relevant telephone numbers are:
• Operator Group
• Contact for linked object
If necessary, create optional felds on the cards listed above to register
the recipient’s number.
TOPdesk displays response codes if you select Show response in
the HTTP request. It is possible to only display a reaction when the
response code is not equal to 01|OK (Are not present). This means
that you will only receive a response when a message is not delivered.
It may be worth keeping an eye on this during testing when you
manually send SMS messages from the Operator’s Section. After
adjusting the HTTP request, it is not necessary to refresh the TOPdesk
system settings or reopen the card.
Sending an SMS to a group
You can send an SMS message straight to several recipients by adding
the telephone numbers, separated by commas. It is also possible to
create a group within MessageBird and enter this as the recipient. You
can determine which recipients are in a group. MessageBird is working
on a functionality allowing people to add or remove themselves from
a group by sending an SMS message. This lets operators log in at the
start of their shift, and log out when they are off duty.
Processing message responses
You can assign &inbox=true instead of &sender. If you do this, the
responses to the SMS message will be sent to a general MessageBird
mobile number, after which it can be automatically forwarded. An
example: if a call is sent to an Operator Group via SMS, the frst
response from an operator can be automatically sent to the caller or
the Operator Group. You can forward responses to an email address,
URL or mobile number. If desired, you can adjust the set up so that the
sender immediately receives a response. This lets them know that their
message was received.
TIP: you can manually send an SMS message from a card
in TOPdesk. To do this, create HTTP requests and indicate
the context menus for which they are available under
Special events. This is a useful step to verify whether
or not the action works, even if you automate the
trigger. When testing, you can include the &test=true
parameter. The API will respond, but MessageBird will not
send the message – and will not charge any credits.
WORKING SMARTER 25
26 WORKING SMARTER
Download this issue and more at
The TOPdesk Magazine covers subjects
that are topical in the world of
professional service desks in IT, facilities
and other service providing organizations.
TOPdesk Magazine is intended for
managers, service desk employees,
facilities organizations and electronic
city councils – anyone who is involved
with supporting clients on a daily basis.
This concerns both the processes and the
technology behind these services.
TOPdesk Magazine is a TOPdesk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 803 4200
Editor-in-chief: Milou Snaterse
Editors: Nienke Deuss, Timme Hos,
Stefanie Klaassen, Milou Snaterse
Translators: Leah Clarke, Nicola van der
Contributors: Nienke Best, Ron van
Haasteren, Fiona IJkema, Patrick Mackaaij,
Layout: Louise van der Laak
Photography: Menno van der Bijl, Aad
Hoogendoorn, Robin Kuijs
Copy editor: Nicola van der Velde
A print run of 7,500
Languages: Dutch, English
Sending callers SMS alerts
You can enable callers to send an SMS message to operators. To do this, create an event that
triggers on the Call type feld. Add an entry such as ‘Urgent call via SMS’ to the drop-down list.
You can add more information to the form using an additional comment on the frst line Call
Card via Module Settings > Self Service Desk > Call Management.
Business SMS for improved reception
If you pay a surcharge of 20 per cent, you can be even more confdent that the SMS message
reaches the receiver’s mobile phone. Change gateway_id to 1 in order to have MessageBird
send the message straight to the recipient’s telecom provider. To send the SMS as a spoken
message, change gateway_id to 8. MessageBird sends the message using computerized text-
to-speech. Soon recipients will be able to choose to listen to the message again. Until then, you
can send (short) messages twice in &body.
MessageBird’s prices incorporate incremented discount: if you purchase more messages,
the price per credit drops from 13 to 6.5 eurocents. MessageBird can automatically send a
notifcation and create a new invoice once your credits drop below a specifc threshold.
If you wish to screen off your server communication, or check whether a message was
sent by MessageBird, you can whitelist MessageBird. For more information, please consult
MessageBird’s HTTP SMS API Technical Specifcation document. You can use your own
MessageBird mobile number (VMN) to further automate the processing of received messages.
You can fnd more examples at www.messagebird.com/en/sms-explore.
In practice: Spar Netherlands
Spar Netherlands uses the SMS integration between the telephone exchange and the telecom
provider to send SMS messages. Instead of sending SMS messages directly from TOPdesk, Spar
Netherlands has incorporated an extra step for more fexibility. TOPdesk creates a task fle for
an SMS message for a specifc form or card feld. If a specifc fle exists, the server triggers a
script. This script sends an SMS message to a group of recipients, based on the name of the fle.
The recipient can be a caller who has requested a password reset, but the message can also be
sent to one or more branches in the event of a malfunction or recall. The lists of the recipients’
mobile numbers are exported from the CRM system on a daily basis.
TOPdesk provides everything you need to quickly process your calls,
reservations and more. TOPdesk is the only tool to perfectly integrate
FM, IT and HR. Manage all your information at one location, while
each department maintains its own secure work environment.
With the newest version of TOPdesk you can beneft from functionalities
that make your work easier. In the new Contract Management and SLM
(Service Level Management) module you can set up and manage your
own product and services catalogue, as well as ensure that it is
properly observed. Moreover, operators on location can view and
create calls on location with TOPdesk Mobile.
Want to know more?
Safeguard your services
Service Management Simplified
28 KLANT IN BEELD
Quickly close multiple tabs
While working in TOPdesk, you soon have several tabs
open. After all, you usually navigate from card to card using
the various links and references. This is useful, because
it ensures that you have immediate access to all the
information you need to complete a certain task.
When you start a new task, you want to be able to quickly
close all open tabs. You can do this one by one, by clicking
on the x in the top right corner of the tab.
However, you can also do this more quickly:
• Click on the folder icon at the top right of the screen.
• You can now select from:
- Close other tabs
- Close all tabs
This option can be useful if you work from the To do tab,
The Close all tabs option closes all tabs, including the active
tab. The Home is a tab that always remains open, because
this page is the starting point for all your activities.
Default columns in overviews
When you open an overview – such as an overview of all frst
line calls – for the frst time, the overview displays a certain set
of columns by default. Which columns these are exactly differs
per card type. Every operator logged in can adjust this overview
to meet their wishes.
Organizations can help their employees a little, so that
individual operators do not have to fgure out the best set-up
for their activities. Use the default settings:
1. Log in as an administrator.
2. Click on Set up overview .
3. Click on Default.
4. Adjust the set-up using the arrows. Columns can be made
visible and invisible, and you can adjust the column order.
5. Click on OK.
6. When a logged in operator goes to the overview in question,
they can click on ‘Default’. Doing so will copy the saved
Useful to know:
• Overviews that have not yet been opened by the operator
automatically use the default settings determined by the
administrator instead of the factory settings.
• TOPdesk remembers the last used settings. This means that
operators only have to specify their ideal set-up once.
TOPdesk UK limited
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t +36 1 301 0190
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t +45 7015 7500
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