Service Desk of the Month – University of Huddersfield

Posted on Wednesday 16 August 2017.


Meet the Service Desk team at University Of Huddersfield as they answer our questions to reveal their achievements, challenges and memorable moments.

What types of customers do you support? What are their technical abilities and what common incidents do you receive?

We primarily support both staff and students at the University, but also provide support for University Alumni, who have email accounts ‘for life’, and visitors.  We have customers with a wide-range of abilities and commonly receive requests for password resets, mailbox creation, the application of access permissions, data recovery, and general incident troubleshooting such as hardware failures and requests for application support.

What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of any day is receiving genuine thanks for helping customers to solve their problem and for enabling them to succeed.

What is the greatest challenge faced by your service desk?

With such a wide range of applications and hardware across the University, gaining a familiarity with all systems and support processes can be difficult – particularly as many systems are supported by specialist technologists; a distinction our customers can be unaware of.

If you could choose any celebrity to work on your service desk who would it be and why?

Morgan Freeman, for his sonorous and mellifluous phone manner.

If money and resource were no issue what one thing would improve your service in 2017?

A dedicated support space and work environment so we can tailor the student experience of IT support to be as beneficial as possible: dedicated testing machines; a range of machines and portable devices; a training area; privacy; an environment that further encourages team work; positive and motivating décor; the freedom to configure the environment to be both practical and holistic.

What’s the most memorable or bizarre thing you’ve heard from a customer?

A customer came to our helpdesk and asked that we help pin his ribbon in Microsoft Word.  When we asked for details so we could perform this function remotely, the gentleman informed us that there was no need as he had brought his computer with him.  Not so unusual?  Well, he then pulled a monitor out of his bag and whacked it down on the desk.  We had to explain that it’s actually just a screen and the computer is the big black box sat on his desk!

What was the last thing you and your team did together outside of work?

We had a great Christmas meal and, as it wasn’t a school night, a little bit of post-meal drinking and pool!  There was strictly no dancing.  As it was Christmas, we were allowed a little merriment.

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

In order to support their professional development, we provide opportunities for three students to undertake a year’s work placement within our team.  Following successful completion of this programme, we also provide the opportunity to continue working within the team with two part-time positions, alongside a year of final study.  We also have a dedicated team of student helpers, who undertake routine IT maintenance within our Campus Library.  This means we have students, who are our majority customers, at the heart of our support service – providing a unique insight and perspective.

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

All team members have completed professional accreditation, having accrued ITIL Foundation certification and the SDI Service Desk Analyst qualification in a very short period of time. This has enabled us to provide a more professional service that greatly benefits all of our customers and support partners.  We are actively engaged in further professional development, working hard on SDI Service Desk accreditation while planning for the next challenge.

Quick Facts:

  • Service Desk Manager: Tracy Bush
  • Business type: Education
  • Location of service desk: On-Site
  • Size of team: 5 full-time, 1 Part-time, 3 Student Work Placements and 2 Student Assistants
  • Days and hours of operation: Monday to Friday 8am through to 5pm (with off-site Out of Hours support)
  • Multi-lingual: Yes
  • Number of customers supported: 28000 Undergraduate students; 1600 Post Graduate and Research Students; 3600 members of staff; 70000 (and growing!) Alumni Graduates
  • Calls received per day: 9th May 2016 through 9th May 2017: 2966 face to face enquiries avg. 8.1 per day/ 7485 new enquiries by email avg. 20.5 per day/ 5483 follow up emails avg. 15 per day/ 7923 new enquiries by Telephone avg. 21.7 per day
  • ITSM Software: TopDesk
  • Longest serving team member (how many years): Mike Thresher (4 years)


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