Standardising support at Greggs the Bakers

The problem that drove bakery chain Greggs to adopt support desk software from Hornbill was a problem that will be familiar to many: the company had outgrown the Excel spreadsheet it used to manage many parts of the business.

“About four years ago, the business came to us and said they wanted a customer service solution that meant they could capture their interactions with their customers and report on them,” recalls Greggs group IT support manager James Holmes.

“At the time, all the divisions were using their own Excel spreadsheets to do this. “At about the same time, the IT manager came to me and said that he needed a system that could manage all the IT support calls,” he explains. Again, this was at the time being done in Excel. So instead of procuring separate systems, Holmes decided to kill two birds with one stone.

“That is when I came across Hornbill, who built us a bespoke system that could log both support calls and customer interactions, which we rolled out right across the group.” Word that a new system that could deliver workers from spreadsheet hell soon reached the facilities management, or shop maintenance, team. “They came to me and said ‘let’s see what we can do with this’,” recalls Holmes, who himself developed a maintenance support desk system using the Hornbill software.

 “The advantage of having shop maintenance and IT on the same system is that we can pass calls between the two departments,” he explains. “So for example, if a till stops working, IT might try and fix it at first, but if they can’t it would be passed to shop maintenance who would go out to the branch and fix it there, and they would own the call from then on.”

The SupportWorks tool continued to spread through the organisation. “It was quite a shock when the business came to us with regards to our internal distribution to ask if they could use Hornbill to track complaints and failed deliveries,” says Holmes. Holmes is conservative on the degree to which the use of Hornbill across the company represents the proliferation of the service management ethos.

“We use some basic ITIL stuff in the IT department, but nothing that’s filtered outside,” he says. Nevertheless, the ‘customer’-focused approach associated with service management has been applied alongside Hornbill’s SupportDesk tool.

“We run ‘customer’ satisfaction surveys,” explains Holmes, ”and we have set up a user group for each of the support desks, which give us feedback and recommendations for changes.” What’s more, the convergence of the various departments on a single support desk tool has led to a degree of standardisation in support processes.

“Now they are all working on one system, everyone has to follow the same rules,” he explains. “And because everyone is working the same way, we are able to provide a better level of internal service, and therefore a better service to our customers,” he adds.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...