At a glance
# of internal help desks
Ticket volume per week
Serving customers is at the heart of everything that Tesco’s 480,000 employees do. In the U.K. alone, they serve some 66 shoppers every second—and to help make that possible, it’s important they have the IT support they need to get the job done.
Robert Ainscough, Head of Technology for the Capability team at Tesco, is responsible for optimizing and overseeing IT helpdesk teams in 11 countries, including the U.K., China, and India. Over the last couple of years, he’s been looking for a way to improve the IT help desk experience and employees’ use of a ticket management system.
He began the search for a solution that offered cleaner data management and accessibility from any browser or device and selected Zendesk Support because they “needed something nimble, flexible and simple. That was a key driver for us,” he said.
Ainscough and his team were prepared to deploy Support in October 2015—a deployment that included 3,000 agents and 5,000 light agents—over 16 weeks and across all 11 help desks teams globally. The team utilized the Zendesk API to include six key integrations as part of the help desk launch. Compared to the overhaul project with their previous system, at a duration of 18 months, this felt ambitious.
Yet as the implementation got underway, concerns were quickly alleviated. The implementation team, made up of seven Tesco colleagues and two product support specialists from Zendesk, began hitting major milestones, enabling the implementation to be completed on time.
By adopting Zendesk Support, Ainscough’s team freed as much as 40 percent of their resources for product development.
Tesco began to realize the benefits of its new ticketing system almost immediately. One major change was that they reduced the number of ways they tagged incidents from 125,000 to 5,000 to gain better insight into how issues originated and how they were resolved.
“We use tagging really heavily, and I feel we use it well,” Ainscough said. “I think tagging is one of the strongest features of Support. It’s particularly important for us because of the complexity of what we do and who we support.”
Help desk colleagues quickly scaled the learning curve and the team has seen a dramatic impact on productivity. “We’ve at least doubled our IT productivity,” Ainscough said. “We went from needing a team of 10 just focused on our old ticketing system to a team of five that focuses on Support and other IT systems.” In part, this is thanks to the ability for Ainscough and his team to access Support through any web browser, on-site or remotely.
The team has freed as much as 40 percent of their resources for product development. “We’re continually improving, as opposed to standing still and treading water as we were before,” Ainscough said. “We had an urgent business project with a hard deadline to deliver a new employee help center within 90 days, and now we know that we can achieve that. Our business flexes and changes constantly, and it was important to find a solution that can flex and change alongside us like Support does.”
Providing increased visibility into the help desk has had a ripple effect. Tesco colleagues have a greater sense of control now that they can see the status of a particular ticket and no longer need to call for updates. The U.K. help desk now receives fewer than five calls a week from colleagues inquiring about the status of their tickets.
By integrating with JIRA, engineers are now looped in more immediately and closely with bugs that affect the colleague experience. Another key integration, with XMatters, allows Ainscough to make updates to data in bulk, adding to overall team productivity.
Tesco’s global help desk team processes more than 20,000 tickets each week. For the first time, they can monitor colleague satisfaction and learn the reason behind any spike or dip. On average, the team earns a CSAT rating of 90 percent and 75 percent of requesters receive a reply within 1 hour. Their backlog has remained flat, with approximately 7,500 open tickets at any given time.
The focus on employee satisfaction is a shift from their previous focus on internal SLA metrics.
“It was apparent that we needed to go from a place where we focused on trying to find a solution in an allotted time to a place where our focus is 100 percent on finding the right solution for our colleagues,” Ainscough said.
Each help desk support team now reviews dashboards tailored to their specific needs and, out-of-the-box, they’ve been able to monitor everything from incident to backlog evolution, resolution times, and ticket priorities on an hour-by-hour basis. “Today, all reporting is consistent,” Ainscough said.
All of the changes add up to newfound abilities to improve performance over time. “We’ve definitely moved towards where we want to be as a service provider,” Ainscough said. “Our goal is to empower our colleagues to do what they need to do to ultimately improve the overall experience of Tesco customers.”
“It’s all about value for us, and Zendesk Support has provided us with significant value.”