300,000 requests, and just as many answers

Created almost three years ago, the CERN Service Desk has already simplified the lives of thousands of people at CERN. Here we look back over the history of this success story.


The Service Desk team.

The CERN Service Desk was created in 2011 and consists of a team of six people who are ready to take your call at 77777. It was launched on the basis of one simple and effective principle: centralising requests for information or assistance from the CERN community and dealing with them using a standardised procedure, regardless of which services they relate to. Nearly three years later, the record is looking really impressive. The Service Desk manages an average of 400 problems every day, which equates to more than 300,000 since it was launched. “When we started, the service had 400 supporters,” recalls Reinoud Martens, a member of the GS Department and of the team in charge of the project. “Today, we work in collaboration with 1,000 supporters." Their common goal is to find answers and solutions.

“We can be contacted by telephone at 77777, in person in Building 55 from Monday to Friday, 7.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., or through the Service Portal. We can also be contacted by e-mail at service-desk@cern.ch. Whatever the request, the Service Desk does its best to find a solution,” explains Emilie Kirschner, Service Desk Team Leader. "We deal with all kinds of problems, from the most common to the most unusual. For example, in the past, we have helped a woman who was looking for a breast-feeding room.”

Most of the requests sent to the Service Desk are quickly (in no more than 10 minutes) referred to the relevant service to be dealt with. However, around 20% of the tickets received are resolved by members of the Service Desk team themselves. “That is made possible by the ever-growing experience of the team members, and also by the continuous improvement of our Service Portal catalogues. Of course, we aim to increase this figure, but it's very difficult considering the enormous variety of topics brought to us,” says Barbara Brugger, Service Desk Manager. The HR and Finance Departments are now joining the system, which raises the question of confidentiality. “There’s no problem in that respect,” adds Olaf Van Der Vossen, the project co-ordinator. “We can create confidential tickets that only people directly concerned are authorised to see."

Always ready to help!

CERN’s Service Desk has been presented at numerous European and international conferences and is being emulated elsewhere. “More and more public and private organisations want to put this kind of system in place," Reinoud says enthusiastically. "Several organisations have even sent their people here to see the Service Desk and the Service Portal infrastructure in operation for themselves.”

Friendly and helpful no matter what, the members of the Service Desk are always ready to help. If, however, you encounter problems in the resolution of your problem, let them know using the ticket system's feedback function. “All feedback, negative as well as positive, is of course welcome, as it allows us to continually improve our service,” Barbara concludes.

77777, an efficient partner for the Open Days

Exceptional times call for exceptional measures: for the Open Days weekend on the 28 and 29 September 2013, the members of the Service Management team created an operational cell with extra team members in order to be prepared for every eventuality. In total, 270 tickets were handled, 560 calls received and as many made to co-ordinate the teams on the ground on Saturday and Sunday until 9.00 p.m.


by CERN Bulletin