Are you a Service Desk kill-joy? If so, you’re in good company

Hayley Parsons, founder and CEO of








Ben Wigley, head of IT Service Management at, is a Service Desk kill-joy, and he’s proud of it.

When he joined in early 2012, it was a five-year-old Internet start-up with highly entrepreneurial and creative employees and a huge brand presence thanks in part to very memorable TV ads. For those of you outside the UK, is a price-comparison website for multiple insurance products.  

Ben recently gave a great presentation on’s transformation from an email ticketing helpdesk to a single point of contact ITSM Service Desk. Highlights from his engaging presentation are here for your perusal.

Supporting’s website was and is the IT department’s primary focus, but the team didn’t appreciate how much effort went into supporting the rest of the business and staff. It offered a basic email system for logging tickets, but mostly, staff just went to someone they knew in IT to get things fixed or to specify new requirements. There were no close procedures, no measuring, multiple spreadsheets, lots of fire fighting, and support was characterised by a few ‘heroes’ within IT.

“I had to sit down the technical team to explain the reality of our situation. There were concerns and complaints, and we did unfortunately have unhappy customers. Also, many of our team members were exhausted and wished for more structure.”

Ben knew that processes and an ITSM tool, that would form the cornerstone and support its people and processes, were absolutely key but a bigger challenge was the required culture change.

“We had two camps – business and IT. We needed a single point of contact through the Service Desk, and we would have no more individual heroes. The whole department would stand up as one.”

First point: chose Cherwell Service Management, and implementation was conducted in partnership with Cherwell partner CRMworks.

Second point: Within three month, went live with Incident Management, Service Request and Service Catalogue (30 different services and the aligning of these services to SLAs for priority 1, 2 and 3). Change Management, Service Level Management, Problem Management and a Self Service Portal soon followed.

Third point: In regards to culture change, communications was critical in order to engage people within the business and IT. ITIL training was paramount so the team could speak the same language and fully understand what it was aiming to achieve — a highly professional and customer centric Service Management team.

So, 18 months on, what are the results, and what would Ben have done differently?

“I wish we had brought the Self Service Portal much further forward in our implementation roadmap. We thought it would be best to have the system initially within IT in order to get to grips with it before we opened it up. This was a trick we missed. Our customers were excited and keen to use the portal.”

Today the Service Management team has a much better handle on the demand on IT, how long tickets are taking to fix, and for the first time, can see how many tickets it’s handling at once. The team has monthly operation review meetings, where it pours over granular data and high level SLA successes and KPIs, and monthly service review meetings with customers to secure feedback and to improve reporting.

And as for the biggest challenge of all, behaviour, Ben says the team now spends more time fixing incidents and doing proactive work to prevent them. “The Service Desk is now much more customer centric, and we’ve significantly improved our customer communication especially with setting expectations and committing to a specific fix time.”

Next steps for’s Service Management team? Enhance in-house Cherwell capabilities, implement additional processes, improve KPIs and look to roll out Cherwell to other departments (which is something other Cherwell customers have done).

If you’d like to learn more about’s Service Desk transformation, you can access Ben’s enlighteningwebinar on-demand.

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