The Pursuit of Award-Winning Service Improvement: A Case Study from Oath


by Team HDI
November 1, 2017

Oath was a finalist for the
HDI 2017 Service Improvement Award.

Now Oath, our IT efforts began when we were still Yahoo. Yahoo is the guide to the internet. We provide a variety of products that delight, entertain, and inform our users—bringing them new tools and content that enhances their internet experience. Our group specifically handles internal IT support for the more than 8,000 people who make Yahoo run. OathWe find solutions to their problems, improve their working experience at Yahoo from a technical perspective, and remove any IT roadblocks from their day, making easier for everyone to do their jobs better. We service nearly 58,000 requests and inquiries per year and offer support for dozens of special events, from localized all-hands meetings to Olympics and sporting events.

What was the situation before the launch of the service improvement initiative?

We here at the GSD adopted an IT environment that prioritized the number of tickets closed over the experience of people seeking help from IT support. When this team first took stock of the IT standard in place, we realized we had a team of people separated across multiple buildings in the same office location, support that was stratified across digital solutions and in-person assistance, and analytics oriented around using data to infer the success of the group as opposed to speaking to those who interacted with the group on a daily basis. Our organization was initially designed to care about numbers instead of people, disregarding the actual human experience of IT support in favor of what looked compellingly effective on paper. Common complaints were about how long it took to get a situation resolved, how knowledge was scattered and inconsistent, how little we communicated through the process, and how unapproachable the staff was.

What was the improvement strategy?

We have revolutionized the IT experience at Yahoo and are striving to set the industry standard for what a positive IT experience looks like. Instead of a customer-hostile environment, we have redesigned our physical spaces and online experiences to delight users and make it easier for them to find answers to their questions. For so long, the mantra of IT had been about seeking guidance via ticket metrics and focusing on tools and systems above all else. At Yahoo we say no more to that.

Our goal is to put the customer first, to meet their needs as they see them instead of telling them what they should be and to focus on creating an experience for them that makes their day easier. Instead of ticket metrics, we focus on customer satisfaction scores. Instead of focusing on the 1s and 0s we focus on the people in front of us and how we can make them happy. We are turning the paradigm of conventional IT support on its head and putting people first, above all else. Thanks to QSTAC, we were getting actionable, qualitative, and quantifiable feedback. The strategy was to align every roadmap, strategy, and product improvement to the feedback we got. It was to change our way of thinking to “customer first,” to proactively look at our customer experience.

Instead of ticket metrics, we focus on customer satisfaction scores.
Tweet: Instead of ticket metrics, we focus on customer satisfaction scores. @ThinkHDI #CSAT #ITSM

How was the success of this initiative defined? How has that success affected business objectives?

By putting the definition of our progress in the hands of our customers, we let them be the judge of whether we were successful in reaching our goal. From the start, we knew we wanted to reach an 85% rating using the QSTAC system, which was defined as the best-in-class IT support throughout the industry. At the start, we came in at 50%, and one year later, we had achieved 74%. All of this is determined by our customers. They help us keep a pulse on whether the changes we implement are effective and how we can continue to improve to reach that 85% across all of our offices, worldwide.

By building a strong, customer focused relationship with our customers, we’ve built lasting reputation, brand, and partnerships with all the right people. We now not only provide world class IT support, but are a valued and beloved part of our company culture. This is our biggest business objective.


HDI is the first professional association created for the service and support industry. Since its founding in 1989, HDI has remained the source for professional development by offering resources to promote organization-wide success through exceptional customer service. We do this by facilitating collaboration and networking, hosting acclaimed conferences and events, producing renowned publications and research, and certifying and training thousands of professionals each year. At 150,000 people strong, HDI is a community built by industry peers and leaders that gives its members the resources, knowledge, and drive to be great at what they do.


Tag(s): supportworld, customer experience, customer satisfaction, IT service management, ITSM, metrics and measurements

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