SDI Spotlight: Go-Ahead

Posted on Monday 18 November 2019.

In this month’s SDI spotlight, we speak to and share best practice with Go-Ahead Group about their Service Desk:


Tell us a little about your service desk and who your customers are?

Go-Ahead Group is a leading public transport operator in the UK with over two million bus journeys made on its services every day, equating to around 11% of services nationally and 23% within London. In the last year, regional buses have seen impressive passenger growth of 3.3%, despite a challenging market. Go-Ahead targets investment where it will impact passengers the most, from onboard features such as Wi-Fi to new digital ticketing, as well as newer, greener vehicles. It also operates two of the busiest and most complex UK railway services. Journeys on Go-Ahead franchises account for 30% of the 1.7 billion railway journeys made each year.  In 2015, the company made the decision to expand its international profile and has a team of 28,000 staff working across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Singapore and Australia.  Our Group IT team, based in Newcastle, comprises 30 staff supporting IT needs across the company alongside local IT teams across its rail and bus depots internationally. The company’s strategy is to generate value for its investors by building a sustainable business that meets the needs of its customers and communities and delivers its vision of: ‘A world where every journey is taken care of’.


What is the greatest challenge faced by your service desk?

Quality control and resolution time on Incidents / Requests that we can’t resolve directly.  To improve this, we invest time in relationship management with focus on communication and collaboration.


If money and resource were no issue what one thing would you do or implement to improve your service and/or service desk?

Robotics to automate more of the repetitive tasks and focus our resource on more value add output.


Has any member of your service desk team undertaken and benefited from industry recognised examinations such as Service Desk Analyst (SDA), Senior Analyst to Team Leader (SATL) or Service Desk Manager (SDM) through SDI?

12 of our talent pool are booked on to the ‘Senior Analyst to Team Leader’ SDI course in December this year which we are running in house.

4 of our Leadership Team have also highly benefited from the ‘Boost your Teams Engagement’ and ‘Strategic Influence of Customer Experience’ events earlier this year. Our CX Manager has also just made good use of the SDI Customer Experience workshop in London.


Have you ever had a funny request from a customer that you can share?

Customer: “My internet isn’t working”

Analyst: “are you at your PC?”

Customer: “No it’s off”

Analyst:“Could you turn it on please?”

Customer: “I can’t, we have a power cut”


What one recent achievement (of the service desk) are you most proud of and why?

Brilliant Basics, our continuous service improvement programme, was shaped by feedback from stakeholders, company employees and the Group IT Service Desk Community and has been our biggest success:

  • Created First & Second Line Teams providing 24/7 365 cover including Major Incident Management
  • Optimised our ITSM platform ‘Service Now’ which hadn’t been upgraded for years despite our workload and customer base increasing by over 400%
  • Established a Customer Experience Manager & Strategy
  • Invested in L&D – All permanent employees have completed ITIL, 3 Guys have completed modern apprenticeships and another 3 have been successful in internal promotions to our London Office and Manchester &  Ireland Depots!
  • Designed a Phishing Incident process which is now owned end to end by our 2nd Line Team
  • Built our ‘Support Capability’ process in to the Project Management Office governance
  • Taken on new customers and services within existing headcount due to efficiencies achieved through smarter working


What characteristics within your team make it stand out from the crowd?

We are a community with joint responsibility for success at all levels who view Users as Customers too.  With a culture of tackling challenges head on, seeking solutions and working together, we truly put Go-Ahead’s employees and passengers at the heart of what we do.


What is your top tip to achieving best practice?

Ensure that your team understand the part they play in achieving business goals and the impact of not getting it right.  Our colleagues must have seamless IT support.  From the bus driver who needs his iPad to see his timetable and route, to the payroll administrator whose computer system has frozen. Poor support can result in mass passenger disruption, from commuters not getting to work, carers unable to visit vulnerable relatives and children not getting to school so its integral that we provide seamless IT Support to ensure that ‘Every Journey is Taken Care Of’.


Go-Ahead Group are loyal members of the Service Desk Institute. Click here to find out more about SDI Membership today:


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