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Macmillan Distribution (MDL) is the logistics and distribution division of Macmillan Publishers International Limited. MDL provides fulfilment services to more than forty publishers including Business, English as a Foreign Language, Academic, Professional, Schools and Children’s books.
Freshdesk is instrumental in MDL improving service performance, streamlining customer support, and maintaining service level compliance for its publishers and customers.
With more than forty specialist publishing houses to support, MDL aimed to provide a seamless and continuous customer experience. Keeping records of all communications with publishers via email had previously been enough to document support requests, but solely using email alone was unable to keep pace with the rapidly expanding scope of customer support and service across the organisation.
Matthew Hogg, Director of Publisher and Customer Services at MDL, manages the Client Publisher and Customer Relations teams. He said: “Our team was managing the majority of our customer service activities through email. While our customers appreciated the fast responses we could provide, it left us without transparency and unable to get true statistical measures on workloads, workflows and service performance. It also resulted in resource pressures based on the imbalance of workloads between teams and team members, leading to inefficiency. Feedback from our client publishers and customers was anecdotal and not quantifiable. Visibility for management was limited due to the individual nature of personal email addresses."
With customers asking for other support channels and the internal team wanting more data, a change in approach was needed.
MDL’s vision for customer support was that the strategy should be driven by data. The new approach had to offer much more than a rudimentary task management system. “We understood we needed a toolset which would enable more intelligent routing of customer requests, visibility and measures on volume throughput and performance,” said Matthew.
The research and trial phase was a learning experience for the MDL team. “We initially trialled the concept of task management using a new system, and some initial successes proved we were on the right path in looking at new solutions. However, this trial also showed some limitations that we had not considered previously, and we decided to assess the market for a longer term partner that would help us scale up our new service and customer support strategy,” commented Matthew.
Assessments of both Zendesk and Desk.com followed, which enabled Matthew’s team to hone in on a clear set of technological and business specific needs that a suitable solution would have to offer. However, it was not until the team trialled Freshdesk that MDL found the right product for its needs.
“This ultimately came down to function and presentation. Freshdesk had a simple user interface that made it easy to use straight away, while the company did not over engineer its support and delivery package. That combination made it really simple to get up and running,” said Matthew.
MDL planned to go from a single channel to multiple services, so the team built a comprehensive system configuration and deployment plan. However despite this planing, the scale of the change at the organisation was much larger than was initially expected.
In response to this, members of the Freshdesk engineering team worked closely with MDL to mitigate the potential disruption and help the deployment get completed successfully. MDL’s complex configuration requirements required some key enhancements that were developed and delivered by the Freshdesk support team. By collaborating with each other throughout the process, the two teams were able to complete the implementation successfully.
Following the deployment of Freshdesk, the MDL team has completely revolutionised how the company provides service to its customers. “We have streamlined our processes to ensure more effective and efficient responses to our client publishers and customers through increased ownership of tasks internally, and more accurate initial routing of these requests,” explained Matthew. “We have been able to organise our internal teams inside groups within the Freshdesk system and use online ticket creation and numerous automation rules to route requests to the right teams, then to the right members of teams and with the right priorities.”
True to MDL’s vision, Freshdesk presented a more data centric-view on the customer support. “We can now measure input and output performance as well as targeted SLA compliance. The system has enabled real time feedback, which helps us actively manage service issues and problem resolution. With the system in place, we have been able to streamline our back office processes and remove waste. We have also been able to utilize system metrics to adjust personnel numbers.”
Following the implementation of Freshdesk, the team now has real visibility of metrics like First Contact Resolution rates, and they are now regularly seeing more than 80% of requests resolved first time. The feedback from client publishers has also been extremely good, with satisfaction levels routinely exceeding 90%.
“Freshdesk has been widely adopted as it helps our teams to excel at their jobs and ultimately it has improved the service they offer to our customers. We are able to better support to individuals within the organisation, and recognise efforts and results that might not previously have been visible to us,” concluded Matthew.
“Freshdesk gives us the insight we need to be successful.”
Director of Publisher and Customer Services
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