At your service!

Everyone, at some time or another, has needed to get a new key cut, or to have an office painted or to get their hands on a document without knowing who to ask. People who have been at CERN for many years obviously don't experience this very often, but picking their way through the Laboratory's many services can be a real challenge for users and new arrivals. The Service Desk is now there to help !


The service desk team in Building 55.

The new Service Desk is a one-stop shop for information on CERN. Physically located in Building 55 it has a single telephone number (77777) and a web portal (the CERN service portal) that can be accessed 24/7, providing all the answers to your logistical questions. The IT and GS Departments have been collaborating on this project for nearly a year and a half. Today, all the services offered by the GS and IT Departments are listed in the CERN service portal. "The CERN service portal is simple to use and works just like a key-word search engine. A list of results is displayed and the user selects the result which best fits his enquiry," explains Mats Moller, member of the IT Department and one of the project leaders. Once the user is logged in, all past queries and results are shown on the home page.

Although the portal doesn't yet list all services provided by all Departments, the Desk is manned by six staff whose job is to answer any question (and possibly orient the requester in the right direction) by phone on 77777, by e-mail at or in person from 7.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (see box). Reinoud Martens, one of the project leaders within the GS Department adds: "Today we're determined to change the way users interact with CERN. You will get answers to your questions here without having to know the Laboratory inside-out."

The Service Desk has other advantages, such as setting up a standard process which can be extended to all services. "Whatever the user's enquiry, the resulting procedure will always be the same. Also, careful analysis of the enquiries will enable us to pinpoint the needs of the CERN population and thus respond to them more quickly, using the adaptability of the web portal to our full advantage. The ultimate aim," Reinoud Martens concludes, "is to have a one-stop information shop for all CERN's in-house services."

So this is only the beginning and now that the GS and IT Departments have set the ball rolling, the HR and FP Departments will be joining the project shortly.

Tested for you !

We were curious to see how the Service Desk really works, so we put it through its paces. We had three opportunities to do this: both of our telephones – the landline and the mobile – were on the blink and we no longer had access to job application files on the recruitment website. We contacted the Service Desk via two different routes: for the phone problems we called the 77777 hotline and for the web access problem we sent an e-mail to We got a swift reply in both cases. For our mobile phone the Service Desk was able to advise us which service to contact and for the landline, the problem was already being repaired. They didn't have a solution for our web access problem, but after just three weeks in business and given the diversity of enquiries, the results are very promising. And with each day that passes the Service Desk gains in efficiency.


by Laëtitia Pedroso