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Engel & Völkers AG (referred to henceforth as ‘E&V’) is a multinational real estate company specializing in helping people broker premium residential property, commercial real estate, yachts, and aircraft. With offices in over 800 locations across 30 countries and a staff of 12,500 people, E&V helps provide both private and institutional clients a professionally tailored range of services ranging from consultancy to sales.
E&V’s service desk team headed by Tomas Dacke enables the workforce - split between franchises and subsidiaries - to do their job without a hitch by providing dedicated and streamlined internal support.
To ensure E&V was quick and efficient in providing the best possible user experiences, Tomas Dacke, who is the Service Desk Department Lead at Engel & Völkers, wanted to ensure they had the right support system in place.
He explained that his team usually received three types of requests from customers:
Service requests that cover anything from setting up a new user to set up a completely new organizational unit
Incident management requests which cover repairing everything that used to work but for some reason, don't anymore
Information requests when the users don't know how to perform a specific function in their business applications
However, their previous system didn’t allow for easy categorization of requests to identify trends and gather information for constant improvement. These challenges led to Tomas conducting a complete revamp of their support ecosystem: “The previous system we used was not set up for efficiency. The categorization of issues was not very clear, and we couldn't get qualitative information from the statistics it recorded because of this.”
While Tomas was restructuring his support team, he was looking at a robust helpdesk solution to help manage E&V’s customer service.
“An external consultant recommended Freshworks to us, and we found that it was flexible, and with just a few tweaks, everything we needed was possible. But it was also because the business culture between E&V and Freshworks was a good match, in the way we wanted to work together. We wanted this to be a partnership and not just a customer-supplier relationship, and we saw that Freshworks had the same vision.”
Service Desk Department Head
Engel & Völkers
Tomas also wanted to improve the efficiency of service operations across the company and find a way for his team to collaborate better on prioritizing and solving issues. Several functions across E&V used JIRA and Slack for project operations and collaboration respectively and Tomas was looking out for a product that would integrate seamlessly with both:
“When we decided to change the ticket system, we wanted it to be compatible with JIRA. Unfortunately, different teams in our organization were using JIRA in different ways, so it was not standardized. The plugins and apps we've been trying to use before were not able to handle that. So currently, we are in development with JIRA to integrate it with Freshdesk and other apps.”
The support team also integrated Slack with Freshworks to shore up their internal communication and collaboration capabilities: “The Slack-Freshdesk integration is useful, especially for our company because it works like the internal chat function. When there are specific service requests that are urgent, or when a new ticket gets created that matches a certain categorization, the team gets notified in slack. So it's very useful to have another channel to pick up tickets from.”
E&V went live with Freshdesk in January of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, which turned out to be the perfect timing. The response from support agents was very positive when they started using Freshdesk.
“Even though new systems usually take time to adapt to, overall, using Freshdesk worked really well for us even though we had to work from home, and I'm glad we swapped our helpdesk system.”
With COVID-19, there was bound to be change that also affected the kind of support Tomas and his team had to provide. Requests on minor tech issues and understanding how to use specific tools were raised more often since their customers were adjusting to working from home.
"COVID did not change the number of tickets or volumes we received at all. Our peak times have always been April, and it followed the same yield curve this time as well. What changed was people came to us with other types of problems because they were now working from home offices. We had less real estate brokers coming to us for help because everything was now online, and more administrative personnel were contacting us."
Tomas also mentioned that the support team, HR, and Finance had more work to do because they had to create fresh plans and budgets to adjust to the new normal.
Currently, E&V staff can contact the support team using two channels - email and phone. But Tomas and his team are working on implementing a more omnichannel approach to support.
"Now that we have set the foundation, we are in the phase of launching (Freshcaller (now Freshdesk Contact Center)). This enables people from countries outside Germany to share the same telephone queue as those within the country. We also want to start implementing the chat feature at some point and add chatbots for automated workflows as well.”
Tomas and his team are also setting up ways for customers to get the information themselves before reaching out to them for help. For example, they have set up a customer-facing portal using Freshdesk thus making full use of the knowledge management module in combination with chatbots. "We never want customers to think about where to go for help. So we are implementing FAQs, forums, or chat functionality, so users have the possibility to ask questions before contacting us."
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