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The Glenbrook High School District comprises schools located in Glenview and Northbrook villages in the state of Illinois, USA. The district currently has 5,300 students as part of its education program.
Glenbrook has 450 full-time educators working to provide the best possible learning experience for its students. It also houses 1,100 full-time employees to help manage various departments within the school district.
Dr. R.J Gravel wears many hats as the assistant superintendent of Glenbrook, which includes taking up COO CTO responsibilities within the organization. But his top priority is to provide a great learning experience for all students. To achieve this goal, he and his team want to use technology to support students, teachers, and staff so they can get easy access to the services they need.
“We believe in building processes that are streamlined and simple. Our tools and services should be easily accessible to anyone, be it, students or teachers, regardless of their technical proficiency and background.”
Dr. Gravel identified the need for a robust support structure in his first month as assistant superintendent of the Glenbrook district after speaking to several staff and employees working across various schools. “I heard from many people that when they reached out for assistance, no one would ever follow up, and no one would ever close anything out for them.”
To solve this problem, he implemented Freshdesk to help his team manage requests and run support effectively. “We have an extensive team that provides timely support to all our staff, and Freshdesk is the hub that connects all of this together.”
Glenbrook began its partnership with Freshdesk in 2010 and has been a customer ever since. Dr. Gravel explained how this journey began and what he and his team loved about Freshdesk that made it stand out against other options.
Simple, intuitive and cloud-based
When he started overseeing technology services at Glenbrook, Dr. Gravel was able to see the significant shortcomings of the current tools being used to run customer service.
“When I got to Glenbrook, they were on a system called Servicewise and had also just bought Web Help Desk. The challenge with both of these was that they were underdeveloped from an implementation standpoint, and not fully cloud-based, which was technically difficult to use without keeping the end-user in mind. So my first priority was to improve user experience.”
Freshdesk proved to be a very simple yet powerful solution to help manage and scale support for the Glenbrook district and had a distinctive edge over Zendesk from Dr. Gravel’s perspective:
“I selected Freshdesk to use as our support software over Zendesk, Zoho, and other tools in the first place because it was just a beautiful, smooth interface. My staff loved the idea that it was as simple as sending an email, getting a ticket, going into the portal, and checking the status.”
Assistant Superintendent, CTO
Glenbrook High School District
Building a Knowledge Base to enable self-service for visitors
With so many employees, students, and teachers present across the various schools in the district, the support staff needed to build a Knowledge Base to help people find answers on their own without needing an agent intervention.
“Freshdesk provided something that our staff was looking for, which is an online searchable knowledge base, a single one-stop-shop, where you can go and seek assistance for questions you can get answers yourself, instead of having to be guided by agents,” he explained.
Phone calls were the most common way people would get in touch with Glenbrook’s support team. So when the pandemic forced a sudden switch to remote learning, several concerned parents and other personnel were phoning in to try and get information on the situation. To stay on top of increasing support volumes, Dr. Gravel was able to take advantage of the Freshcaller cloud telephony system integration with Freshdesk.
Avoiding missed voicemails through Freshdesk integration
When the support team missed a phone call, it would become a voicemail that was only accessible from one desk at the office. As a result, people had to wait for an agent to come into the office and answer every call. Integrating Freshcaller and Freshdesk helped the Glenbrook team manage missed phone calls and voicemails better.
“When many parent phone calls started coming in during the COVID-19 pandemic, we integrated Freshcaller with Freshdesk and started converting those voicemails into tickets. Now we wouldn’t miss voicemails because everything was captured in the ticket queue,” Dr. Gravel explained.
Simple call routing to create an integrated support system
As Glenbrook district schools were transitioning into remote learning, Freshcaller helped the support team route the right type of calls to the right support personnel.
“We had to add more agents to filter calls easily and track them better. To do that, we wanted to combine tech support and general support into just ‘Glenbrook Helpdesk’ With Freshcaller, we created one number for our entire phone system and routed or forwarded all our DIDs (direct inward dials) coming into our primary phone numbers over to the Freshcaller number. So it didn’t matter if you were calling about technical issues, supplies, or even social assistance. You now just had one number to remember.”
Call transfers helped improve resolution times by 75%
Freshcaller also gave the support team the ability to transfer calls, either between agents or to the right staff or technical personnel, even if they were on the move. This helped speed up their response times and achieve their SLAs quicker.
Dr. Gravel explained the quantifiable impact call transfers had on resolution times “Our expectation is that all tickets are fulfilled within two business days. If you look at our metrics, 80% of our tickets are closed within the first 8 hours. What we've seen is we're closing tickets well within the 2 hours after the first contact, as opposed to before when it would take between 2 to 16 hours.”
Saving on added hiring costs
Dr. Gravel has been able to avoid hiring extra temporary staff for specific purposes that require tier 1 support and have those requests handled by the support staff using Freshdesk instead.
“In order to maintain the number of personnel, we've expanded our service operations. For example, during the summer registration process, when parents are confirming their students’ enrollment in the school district and paying fees, we used to hire and pay clerical staff to manage the process. Now, all parent support phone calls go to the help desk, and we've used that built-in infrastructure to keep their workload going.”
Moving forward, Dr. Gravel has plans to scale his team in terms of both personnel and channels while also improving their support processes.
“We want to keep refining our call tree and support agent groups for Freshcaller. We also would like to continue our implementation, we had started in the spring, of a chat feature. We have so many students and parents who don't want to talk to an agent, but just text or chat with someone. So, we would really love to have an SMS based chat or support tool, because that's just something that we hear our users really would like.”
Being one of Freshdesk’s most loyal and long-term customers, we wanted to learn first hand what Dr. Gravel values most about the relationship.
“First impressions count. When Freshdesk contacted me, it wasn't just about selling me something. It was about wanting to show me, guide me, and help me implement the product. And from that moment, anytime I've had issues or challenges, I've been able to contact your staff, and they've been responsive. It's quality service the Freshdesk team provides each and every time that keeps us coming back”
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