The Air Force Enterprise Service Desk is going virtual, and Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland will be the first to see it as it rolls out across the Air Force, starting the end of August.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has challenged every Airman to constantly look for smarter ways to do business. The personnel of the 67th Cyberspace Wing at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland, Texas, are meeting that challenge with their implementation of innovative processes targeting Air Force-wide network customer service, including the new virtual Enterprise Service Desk (vESD).
Users who experienced account or network problems over the last few years have called a central customer service hub. With a customer base of over 650,000 people, the ESD’s automated phone system had been significantly overburdened, which led to a cascade of inefficiencies. Not immune to the fiscal challenges so familiar across the Air Force, the 67th CW advanced on a new approach to customer service, necessary to solve this complex problem.
“At times, the average call wait time can approach 27 minutes,” said Col. Chad Raduege, commander of the 690th Cyberspace Operations Group, in an interview in March 2014. “That’s a 27-minute wait to tell an ESD technician that you have a problem. With the current backlog, our return to service may take up to seven days. That’s unacceptable.”
That waiting caller wasn’t alone; at any given time there were as many as 175 callers waiting in the queue, according to Lt. Col. Mark Reith, 690th Network Support Squadron commander, the unit whose primary mission is to maintain and operate the ESD. Despite a contingent of technicians dedicated to taking telephone requests around the clock, a logjam of 13,000 requests formed, and was growing by approximately 1,500 per week.
Removing the middleman
The vESD being rolled out next week is a client-based application that allows the user to solve common issues and self-initiate trouble tickets for e-mail, desktop, laptop, mobile devices and will eventually include network, software, hardware and other user account capabilities. The application allows for status checks of any current incident requests, feedback submission and provides further contact information for more help.
“Automation allows our users to update more information on their own, and even solve common problems at their desktop,” Craig Biddington, senior communications officer for the 366th Communications Squadron at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, said. “Now our technicians see fewer tickets, allowing us to recapitalize resources toward more critical tasks.”
“Generally, we can break the ESD’s tasks into two categories: account requests and incidents,” said Reith. “The more we automate the thousands of daily requests, the more manpower we can redirect to incidents, and that means getting users back up and running far more quickly than ever before.”
Source:: Air Force Space Command