Northwestern Mutual to Borrow from User Services Model

It’s great to see that well-known corporate business partners are looking to us as a model on how to do business.” – Sean Bossinger

On Wed, Nov 1, User Services hosted Northwestern Mutual (NM) to share best practices in walk-in help desk service & support. NM is a member of the UW E-business Consortium, and through this relationship they heard about the great services that the Help Desk and Tech Store provide to our customers. NM is considering implementing similar walk-in help desk services and wanted to see how User Services has shaped the customer experience.


Three members from Northwestern Mutual’s IT staff made the trip: Jim King (Director), Jeremy Lewandowski (Manager), and Daniel Casey (Experience Lead). They toured the Tech Stores at Dayton and East Campus Mall, as well as the Level 1 Help Desk. They took special note of our use of mounted displays and marketing materials for both internal and external purposes.

They engaged us in conversations covering everything from implementation, daily operations, modes of communication, ticketing, documentation, and the overall customer experience. They’re planning to adopt Cherwell 2018, and were excited to see how we’re using it. They even mentioned wanting to shift to hiring for customer service skills and training for tech skills.

Sean Bossinger, Abrianna Barca, Chris Grosspietsch, Leah Scheide, Bret Vlach, Karl Weirauch, and Patrick Johnson all participated in the conversations with NM. To round out the day, NM generously paid for lunch at Jordan’s Big 10 Pub.

The visit with NM went really well, and by the end of the visit, Jim, Jeremy, and Dan were extending an invitation to us to come and visit their operations after they’ve implemented their walk-in help desk solution in the spring.

“We will be [following up with] Northwestern Mutual to set up a time for us to visit with them at their new facilities in downtown Milwaukee.” – Sean Bossinger


Students’ beliefs about Social Media in the Workplace


College students are mass consumers of social media. A couple weeks ago some student staff in User Services posted a short video about the UWNet outage that campus was experiencing. So, I found myself curious about students’ beliefs regarding social media and the workplace. I interviewed six students in User Services to get their perspectives regarding posting work-related content on social media.  (Note: all quotes below were provided anonymously by the students who were interviewed.)

Continue reading “Students’ beliefs about Social Media in the Workplace”

Focus Groups – gaining insight into your customers’ needs

As part of our Voice of the Customer initiative, the Great Service Team (GST) piloted the use of focus groups for gathering customer data. Our initial focus groups with Departmental Support contract customers proved successful. Customers identified strengths of their desktop support team along with some specific areas for improvement. Based on this feedback, team leads have been able to set clear goals for process improvement as they continue to engage with the customers.

Continue reading “Focus Groups – gaining insight into your customers’ needs”

1,600+ Responses from Voice of the Customer efforts

Over the next few months, the Great Service Team (GST) will be providing a series of updates on how we are progressing with the three pillars of our program (Voice of the Customer, Great Service Philosophy, and Training). For this month’s update we wanted to focus on the Voice of the Customer and share with you some results from the standardized customer satisfaction survey which was implemented in late May (see original announcement here)

During the development of the standardized customer satisfaction survey we consulted with Josh Morrill who informed us of the importance of keeping the survey short and concise. Therefore, we created the new survey with fewer, strategically chosen questions. This has resulted in an average completion time of only 90 seconds.

Continue reading “1,600+ Responses from Voice of the Customer efforts”

Phas3 Update

The User Services Phas3 Space Planning team is pleased to announce that we have completed our proposal for updating the shared User Services spaces in room B213, 1150A, and 1150B and have submitted it to Brandon and the User Services Leadership Team for review!  The proposal is composed of three different sections which provide low, medium, and high cost estimates for improving the space.  We are now working with the Leadership Team to make a selection that is both fiscally responsible and provides the maximum value for User Services team members.

We were also happy to share our proposal with DoIT’s COO John Krogman last week!  John was provided an overview of the Phas3 team’s work, as well as a tour of our spaces.  He was impressed by the team’s efforts, and made a commitment to User Services that the larger organization will help support our improvement efforts!

We hope to have some additional updates for the department by our next User Services All Staff Lunch on August 24.  As always, be sure to let the Phas3 Space Planning Team know if you have any questions, thoughts, or comments.  A list of all team members as well as project updates is available on our landing paging:

contributed by: Chris Poser,

Internship Team Prepares for the End

The summer has been filled with hard work, thrilling projects, ice cream, and an occasional bit of humor and sarcasm for this year’s internship cohort. The nine members of this year’s cohort have been creating improvements and leading projects in each of the departments within User Services. I’m positive everyone who is reading this article has been affected by their hard work.

The beginning of the program started off with the Adventure Learning Program, where the interns got to know each other, and some of their fears for those afraid of heights, a little better. The day on the low and high ropes course emphasized team work, communication, and trust within the group.

Continue reading “Internship Team Prepares for the End”

Counting Inventory in the Tech Store: 1, 2, 3…


The Tech Store group counts all of its tangible inventory at the end of each fiscal year. This year was no exception. We received in over $9.5 million of inventory over the entire year which was a 10% increase over the prior year.

During the week of June 19, the Tech Store group counted over 19,000 items in 4 main locations (including our 3 Tech Store locations, and the Dayton Storeroom in B202) that contain 138 unique locators. (Locators are specific locations where product is placed within a main location.)

The Tech Store completes double counts of all the items in our Tech Store locations at Dayton, East Campus Mall, and at HSLC. Tech Store staff are paired up with a partner, a scanner, and a laptop, and scan in each item individually until all items have been scanned. Then, a second pair of staff counts the same items to verify that all of our counts are accurate.


Of the 19,137 physical products that were counted, 49 items required a 3rd count (a recount) because of discrepancies between the first two counts. This commonly happens when boundaries between individual locators are not clearly defined, or when product is misplaced or not where it would normally be.


In the Tech Store location at Dayton, Hannah Pringle and Brian Rucinski scanned the largest number of items of any team (1,364 items). Bret Vlach & Maggie Buday counted the second largest number of items (1,255).

Jeff Meyers spent over 11hrs across 6 days to complete the processing and reconciliation of all the counts. Jeff had to resolve 400+ discrepancies, which resulted in 130 adjustments.

The Tech Store will complete a post-project review of Inventory to find ways to improve it for next year!

A special thank you to the staff from Repair and Product Management for helping with Inventory counting this year.


Significant contributions for this article were made by Jeff Meyers & Lloyd Carter. Photographs were contributed by Dawn Karls