Vistaprint Builds a Better Help Desk

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Help Desk

At a global e-commerce firm that produces marketing materials, the need to improve ticketing and help desk processes led to a revamp of internal capabilities.

Fast and accurate online order fulfillment is a challenging task, particularly when small and custom orders are part of the picture. For Vistaprint, a global e-commerce firm that prints and produces business cards, calendars, brochures, coffee mugs and other marketing materials, the need to improve internal ticketing and help desk processes recently led to a complete revamp of internal capabilities.

"Previously, we had people going outside the system and using it in a highly inefficient and sometimes counterproductive way," says Gen Kallos, associate director of production solutions at Cimpress, the parent company for Vistaprint.

With approximately 5,000 employees scattered across 24 locations, internal service and support had emerged as a serious problem for Vistaprint.

"We were using outdated software that would support only the Internet Explorer 8 browser, not Firefox and Chrome," Kallos reports. "Many our processes were inconsistent. When a ticket came in, we did not have good visibility about the current state of the request, and we could not route tickets intelligently."

All of this resulted in delays, breakdowns and errors. "Either work wasn't getting done or it wasn't being tracked correctly," she adds.

After exploring a number of options and vendors, the company turned to a service desk automation solution from Atlassian. In April 2014, after a two-week pilot, it rolled out JIRA Service Desk to its worldwide locations over three additional weeks.

Because the firm primarily uses email to manage tickets, the transition required remapping and redirecting emails to the new system, as well as setting up a portal. David Sonderling, Vistaprint's tech manager for internal tools, says that the transition took place smoothly using a default configuration that required only a few tweaks.

The JIRA Service Desk runs on an internal server and is available via the company's intranet. However, the system also supports email, which is essential for Vistaprint. "Most of the staff use email to handle tickets and process requests," Kallos says.

Smart routing features have introduced sophisticated capabilities. For example, trouble tickets aren't just sent to the general service desk, where a person has to act on the issue or route it to a local support team. The ticket is sent automatically to the correct group.

What's more, teams have full visibility into active tickets, and it's easy to escalate tickets, if necessary. "In the past, staff members didn't have adequate visibility, and, as a result, things would get bogged down for hours and sometimes days," Kallos recalls.

Vistaprint has realized other benefits. "Previously, comments and history were lost when a ticket was transferred or escalated," Sonderling says. "That meant people often had to do the same work again, and there was a lot of time and effort lost in transitions."

"We are now able to assign tickets to staff in a way that more closely matches their skill and qualification level," Kallos adds. "We also are able to share comments, which helps others understand which techniques and approaches work and what doesn't work.

"We have gained a more streamlined and efficient workflow and have helped the business operate faster and better."

This article was originally published on 2015-03-11

Samuel Greengard, a Baseline contributor, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.

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