A university provides technical support to deployed military students
After-hours help desk services assist online students around the world
About ten years ago, Thomas Edison State University (TESU) started seeing a significant increase in enrollment. More students from across the country as well as members of the military deployed overseas were enrolling in its programs for adult learners. The university’s programs, with the exception of its accelerated second-degree nursing program for non-nurses, are offered fully online.
TESU had help desk services for technology and the learning management system, which supported students during the university’s business hours. In response to the increase in enrollment, TESU hired a provider for after-hours support to accommodate students in different time zones. Adult learners working full-time benefited from the services as well.
Dissatisfied with the level of service it was receiving from its vendor, TESU decided to switch providers and began partnering with Pearson’s Help Desk Services in 2013. It chose Pearson in part because the company could provide support for Moodle, which TESU planned to use as its new learning management system (LMS).
The number one issue the Pearson help desk team addresses concerns logging into the LMS. Since some adult learners have limited experience with online learning, the team walks them through basic processes and helps them become comfortable with the LMS.
Originally, the help desk team was supposed to address only issues relating to technology. However, analyzing call patterns, Pearson noticed that students had questions about using the Online Student Services website—where they register for courses, for example—and asked TESU how the Pearson team could assist these students. TESU created scripts so the team can now respond to website questions as well.
“Pearson is always looking to help us give better service to our students,” remarked Chip Stoll, the director of Management Information Systems. “They understand our mission and help us succeed in delivering that mission.”
TESU values the flexibility of Pearson’s Help Desk Services. Drew Hopkins, TESU’s chief information officer, described the team as “highly elastic” because it has the ability to ramp up or ramp down, depending on the university’s needs.
Pearson is more than a vendor; they’re a partner with us, and they have helped us through several completely unexpected challenges.
Drew Hopkins, Chief Information Officer, TESU
Three years ago, during the switch to Moodle, TESU couldn’t handle the dramatic increase in calls to the help desk from students grappling with the new system. So it relied on the Pearson team to extend the university’s staffing and handle the overflow calls.
Last year, when TESU’s portal upgrade took significantly longer than expected, Pearson “took up the slack,” said Stoll, and handled all of the calls.
“Students continued to learn even though at times they were panicking,” Stoll explained. “Pearson walked them through the whole process and got them into their classes. We had very few complaints, and no one asked for money back for their classes. That’s because Pearson took care of us.”
Pearson’s goal is to answer 80 percent of calls to the help desk within 60 seconds. In the past two and a half years, the service level performance for this goal—called the Phone SLP 80/60—has improved by approximately fourteen percentage points. During the same period of time, the abandon rate—the percentage of callers who hang up instead of remaining on hold—decreased by more than three percentage points.
After-Hours Help Desk, TESU
Phone SLP 80/60
On surveys, respondents have given Pearson’s Help Desk Services strong ratings. During the period from July 1, 2015, to January 19, 2016, the average overall quality rating was 85.36 percent, with 75 percent or higher representing good and 100 percent representing excellent.
Responding to a survey in December 2014, one student commended the help desk team by saying, “The TESU technicians are always prompt, knowledgeable, professional, and competent. Good job.”
I am so thankful for this service!! The tech was great, and I’m happy it is available at night when I get much of my work done!!
Referring to the help desk’s response time and level of service, Hopkins remarked, “I never worry about after-hours support anymore, never. That wasn’t always the case.”
To learn more about TESU’s after-hours help desk services, read the full success story.