“While Zendesk doesn't allow us to predict and fix everything before it becomes a problem, it has allowed our service engineers to be on the frontlines. When people need help, we can go straight to where they are and help them,”
Executive Director - Wintec
Decrease in ticket volume
Departments using Zendesk
Self-driving cars, drones, and AI bots have taken over thousands of formerly human-powered jobs. With the world economy changing so quickly, today and tomorrow’s workforce must acquire new and advanced skills so it can stay ahead of the competition.
One of the largest institutes of technology in New Zealand, Wintec, or the Waikato Institute of Technology, is a leading provider of vocational and professional education in the Waikato region and beyond. Wintec’s IT Services (ITS) department is crucial to the institute’s success: it ensures that 15,000 students and 800 staff have a seamless experience with the technology they use on campus. “We want technology to be seamless and enable people to be successful. That’s our purpose. That’s our mission,” said Bradley Vines, director of Information Services.
Since Wintec teaches students how to manage and operate successfully within a business, it’s important to Vines that ITS itself succeed at managing its own operations. This includes overseeing thousands of software titles and close to 80 different online platforms, all cloud-based services that students and staff members can access from anywhere, on any device, and at any time.
Before 2013, both ITS and the facilities department were struggling to provide timely, transparent support with legacy, ITIL-governed service management systems. ITS found these rigid solutions were getting in the way of doing what was right for the user.
“ITIL is great for establishing guidelines and a common language in service management, but it can be cumbersome in a fast moving environment like ours. We were governed by process and felt distant from our users. To do what was right by them, we needed an open, transparent and more flexible system,” Vines said.
The ITS team was also looking for a solution that supported deep integrations, was intuitive, enabled users to self-serve, and freed up service engineers’ time so they could connect with users in the field. In August of 2015, ITS chose Zendesk as its new partner. The team’s service engineers found Zendesk Support so simple to use, they didn’t need training. When the Student Enrollment, the Faculty of Trades, and Marketing departments came on board, the ITS staff were able to offer the training themselves.
With Support, Wintec now has a single user request database in use across six separate departments, and communication with users is more transparent—a change which boosted CSAT to 94 percent in the years immediately following adoption, and that climbed to 97 percent by 2019. Better internal communication has also helped solve issues faster.
“What I really like about Zendesk, from a user’s point of view, is that all they have to do is send us an email. Then everything is managed behind the scenes. It’s seamless,” said Sanjay Weerasinghe, manager of Technology Services.
Wintec’s enrollment team uses Zendesk Support and Chat to serve both prospective and current students. Since implementing Zendesk, Wintec has had more insight into, and control over, its operations, even during the busiest times of the year. “Zendesk gives us better visibility into our communication, volume and quality of interactions, and email histories. The reporting allows us to identify trends so we can improve staffing and therefore manage peak times more effectively,” said Shannon Conning, an Enrollment team lead.
A team of nine full-time ITS staff and 17 part-time team members assist with requests; only four manage the Zendesk ticket queue on a rotating basis. Over the last three years, ITS has seen a sizable 24 percent decrease in ticket volume and this has allowed the team to be out in the field, helping students and staff in-person. Weerasinghe attributes that trend to a number of factors: “Our equipment is current, providing excellent customer service is our default position and we’ve made big improvements to the password recovery process.”
This trend has allowed ITS’s service engineers to invest time into other user-centric projects. Seeking to stay on top of emerging issues and grow its external knowledge base, Wintec rolled out a “Student Voice” section on their help center so students can see each other’s questions and so the Wintec team could gather more feedback on what’s working and where there is room for improvement. The team also sends out proactive emails and creates informational support articles around system changes so that users are notified ahead of time. These initiatives have equipped students and faculty with the information they need, often before they knew they needed it.
“The relationships between ITS and the other departments has flourished, which means that we get notified and can address issues a lot earlier,” Weerasinghe said.
Wintec is proud to be a nimble, modern institution in an evolving landscape. “The education market is changing. It’s no longer about sitting in front of a lecture hall and the traditional stand-and-deliver lectures,” Weerasinghe said. “The teaching model has moved towards project-based learning where students interact with their teachers, tutors, and peers. We have to have the internal infrastructure to support this alignment of teaching and learning.”