Did you ever notice how many questions a new employee has in their first few months? How can I submit my declarations? Who do I have to request a phone from? Et cetera. Of course you did! Generally, IT, Facility and HR all have their own procedures for this, and as a result the customer never sees the forest through the trees. They never get a definitive answer. What do you do?

The pitfalls of too many counters

Are you familiar with Belgian cartoons? In the cinematic masterpiece that is The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, Asterix and Obelix have to fulfill twelve assignments that are considered impossible. Cross a river full of crocodiles, resist the temptation of sirens, and eat all the dishes that are presented to them. One of the assignments turns out to be “getting a hold of ‘Permit A-38′ form in the ‘The Place That Sends You Mad’”.

And it turns out to be a bureaucratic hell. Asterix and Obelix are sent endlessly from one desk to another, from floor to floor, to request forms with which they can request other forms, et cetera. Eventually they succeed, but not before Obelix is put on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Does every support department need its own counter?

No real service organisation will be that bad, but the phenomenon is still recognisable. Each support department often has its own counter, or even multiple counters. HR has a telephone number, an e-mail address and a link on the intranet; IT a different e-mail address, different forms behind different links on the same intranet; facilities strongly prefers you to stop by – unless they are not there, in which case please leave a post-it on someone’s desk; and the Procurement and Communication departments have their own procedures.

With so many (digital) counters it’s not surprising that your customers don’t always understand at which department they have to request which service, and through which medium. Sometimes they choose the wrong counter. The result is that your customers are sometimes sent from place, to place, to place. And it sends them mad.

This is how Utrecht University implemented Enterprise Service Management

Dealing with negative customer experiences

Now, your customers will not get a nervous breakdown if they are sent from IT to Facilities for a smartphone application or vice versa. But they won’t be happy either. And certainly not if such a thing happens regularly.

In fact, the dissatisfaction with this kind of fragmented service will only increase. In recent years, customers increasingly expect to be able to address their questions in one place, partly through familiarisation with search engines such as Google. Having to gamble at which counter they have to ask which question is less and less “ok” with people.

Towards one service desk

Ideally, your customer has one place where he can go with all his questions and requests, regardless of which support department ultimately helps him. More and more organizations offer their customers an intranet or self-service portal for this. Some support departments go a step further and work together more closely together under the banner of Enterprise Service Management. You can develop Enterprise Service Management in different phases:

1. Shared tool
2. Shared service desk
3. Shared processes

Read more about the route to Shared Service Management in this blog

Does your organization have different offices for HR, IT and Facility, and do you want to make them more united? You can then choose to introduce a shared self-service portal, but you can also start smaller. Ask yourself: how many counters does your support organisation have? How many should you have? Maybe you find out that you can immediately cancel some channels or forms. Then you can do the same exercise with your colleagues from other service departments.

Step by step to better service

With this kind of simple measures you can work step by step towards a better service. The fewer counters you have, the clearer it becomes for your customers. And if a new employee is looking for an A-38, then it’s more likely that he submits his application to the right counter on first attempt. If you want to read more about breaking down the silo’s with Enterprise Service Management, we’ve collected some inspirational articles here.

Want more on better employee experience?

Creating a seamless customer experience requires some work, but there’s help! Get some practical experience and tips for how to help your customers be at their best at work with our Workforce Enablement toolkit.