Joe Russell inherited an overly-complex ticketing system and a clunky SharePoint knowledge base when he took over as IT Manager at ALMACO. He wasn’t happy with the IT request process, and neither were employees. With Spoke, Joe found a user-friendly help desk solution that both he and employees love. And he gets to spend a lot more of his time focused on his big projects.
Joe Russell is ALMACO’S one-person IT team supporting almost 170 employees, including over 130 in their Iowa headquarters and the remainder spread across the globe.
When Joe took over the role of IT Manager in early 2017, the company was using the ticketing system that came bundled with their asset management tool to manage employee IT requests.
Right away, he identified a lot of usability issues that made the ticketing system unfriendly to both him and to his customers, ALMACO’S employees.
“They would submit a ticket and get two emails back and then I would make an update and they get three emails about it. And it was messy. It wasn’t clean. Nobody liked to use it.”
Joe received most requests directly via email, which he’d subsequently forward to the ticketing software.
Closing tickets was an unnecessarily complicated, multi-step process that included entering the resolution, selecting a category of resolution from a drop-down list, picking a subcategory of resolution, and more. Lots of steps that slowed Joe down as he was trying to get back to his busy day.
Joe also stepped into a culture where the attitude was, “Don’t talk to IT unless you absolutely have to.” As a customer- and service-oriented professional, he wanted to change that thinking. He wanted employees to know that they could ask him for help with anything, even for little things like “What’s the wifi password” and “How do I log into Sharepoint?”
For those little questions, the company had been using SharePoint as a knowledge base, but Joe didn’t like using it and only a couple of employees would actually ever look at it.
Joe went looking for a help desk solution that was more user-friendly and less time-consuming for him and employees. Something with streamlined ticketing and a knowledge base that he and the employees would actually want to use.
“I’m busy enough that anything to help take some work off of my plate and recover some of my time even if it’s just a few minutes here or there is going to be helpful.”
He looked at ticketing solutions from providers like Spiceworks but they suffered from the same problems as ALMACO’S current solution: they were overly-complex and not user-friendly.
Then he started a free trial of Spoke, which made all the difference.
“I was like, ‘I really like this. This is fun to play with. It’s easy to use.’”
Spoke also fit Joe’s budget constraints. Since ALMACO had gotten their old ticketing system bundled “for free” with their asset management software, they didn’t want to pay a lot for a new ticketing solution.
Joe’s manager, the CFO of the company, examined the benefits of Spoke and approved the purchase.
“The fact that Spoke can help out as well as being clean and a lot more user-friendly was what sold them on it.”
Before Spoke, it would take Joe five minutes to deal with a ticket. In Spoke, Joe spends an average of a minute or two to resolve a ticket, saving upwards of 30 minutes each day.
“It’s a lot quicker for me to close a ticket, attaching a knowledge base article or whatever I need to do and be done with it. I just click a checkmark to resolve a ticket, and that’s it.”
Plus, Spoke’s AI has been auto-resolving lots of simple employee requests, allowing Joe to focus on his many other responsibilities.
“It has closed a good number of tickets for us already without me even having to touch them. That’s time that I reinvest into one of our other projects or problems that’s going on that’s a higher priority.”
Spoke’s simple ticketing system also keeps Joe organized, making him even more efficient.
“It’s definitely made things easier for me to keep a track on what’s going on, because I can see everything in one place.”
And, critically to a customer-minded professional like Joe, ALMACO’S employees are happy, too. Once people realized all they needed to do was email Spoke to get an automated response or a response from Joe, they were “sold.” No more having to log in to complicated software and open a ticket.
Employees also say they much prefer asking Spoke for the resources they need from the knowledge base rather than dig around in SharePoint.
Change management was a snap. Since employees could email the same address they’ve always used to contact the help desk, there weren’t any new workflows for them to learn.
Spoke met all of Joe’s needs in terms of budget and in terms of usability and productivity for him and for employees. And Spoke’s Customer Success team offers suggestions to improve the knowledge base to increase Spoke’s auto-resolution rate.
“I’ve been really thankful for them because sometimes I just don’t have the time to devote to little things like that.”