HITS uses data to improve customer service and communication

HITS Desktop Support Agents


Each year, HITS receives more than 265,000 service tickets from the Michigan Medicine community requesting help with password resets, new device orders, video conferencing, software installations, and much more. Until recently, tickets were collected in two systems, making it difficult for HITS to obtain a holistic view of the types of requests coming in and to use that data, ultimately, to improve the customer experience.

“In the past, IT customer service was largely a black box. There wasn’t enough transparency for customers to track the status of their requests or the tools to allow them to find solutions on their own,” said Erik Zempel, HITS senior manager, Service Management. “We needed a measurable way to mature our service delivery—a system to change how we get things done—while establishing confidence in HITS.”

New tool. New insights.

In August 2017, HITS introduced a common platform called ServiceNow, which enables customers to submit requests for help, browse a catalog of service offerings, and track the status of their requests in detail. The new tool also gives HITS the ability to improve intake, tracking, communication, and follow-up across all types of work.

“We live in a data-centric world. Success requires collecting, assessing, and acting on real-time customer data,” Zempel said. “By giving our teams these insights and capabilities, we are establishing a systematic way of handling issues, supporting operations, and informing improvement efforts built around common use of data.”

Measurements in real time

The HITS Device Operations team recently used data from ServiceNow to uncover and address areas for improvement.

“It used to be time consuming to get just a basic level of data. Our manual reports didn’t provide much detail beyond how many tickets we had and how many we had resolved,” said Aaron Gramling, HITS director, Architecture & Operations Management. “We can now see our predicted backlog and capacity in real time and measure trends in customer satisfaction, resolution time, and rework. This allows us to pinpoint the actions that work under specific conditions. Our teams can use the information to improve their processes, make resource allocation decisions more effectively, and, ultimately, provide a better experience for our customers.”

Backlogs are decreasing, we’re getting to issues faster, and we’re able to measure that progress.”
—Aaron Gramling

Over a three-month period, Gramling’s team decreased the number of incidents reopened for incomplete or incorrect work by 22 percent and reduced the average time to resolve an incident by nearly three days.

“Backlogs are decreasing, we’re getting to issues faster, and we’re able to measure that progress,” Gramling said. “We’re also hearing a lot of positive feedback from our customers as to how we were able to address their concerns.”

Coming together to improve

Zempel said this transformation couldn’t have occurred without strong engagement from HITS staff.

“Our success is entirely due to the people who participated in the change. We had a fantastic team implementing and managing the ServiceNow platform and a vocal, passionate stakeholder community. Everyone in HITS had to learn this new tool and navigate an extremely complex organizational change. It wasn’t without its challenges, but we found that HITS staff were extremely adaptable and responded to the call when asked.”   

Author: Heather Kipp, HITS Communications

Heather is a brand/product analyst lead within the Michigan Medicine Office of the CIO. You can contact her at hengeshl@umich.edu.