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NEWS | July 1, 2022

Live chat technology helps resolve IT issues

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

Live chat technology is a fast, efficient and convenient way for computer users to get in touch with Tobyhanna Army Depot’s information technology (IT) customer service team.

Personnel experiencing problems with government-issued computers or peripheral equipment can click on the orange “support button” icon located on their desktop to live chat with IT experts trained to resolve any situation. Customers can reach out in the exact moment they have questions or problems they cannot solve.

Beyond improving the customer experience, the ability to increase team productivity – combined with data collection – can lead Team Tobyhanna to greater success with live chat as part of its customer support plan.

“The new chat feature and corresponding support tool is a force multiplier for the customer service branch,” said IT Specialist Sean Malone, Resource Management Directorate, Information Management Division. “We are able to help more people, more efficiently, and with just a few clicks, it’s even easier for the customer to request and receive assistance.”

The live chat provides an easy to use customer interface, while maintaining a robust set of administrative tools, features and options, which allows the help desk agent to quickly view, troubleshoot and resolve issues, according to IT Specialist Dave Kutch.

“This enhanced tool results in most issues being resolved quickly and within first contact,” Kutch said.

Army standards dictate the amount of time technicians have to respond to and close a request; it varies with each task. Implementing innovative ideas such as the live chat, walk in service desk, and knowledge base library help the organization meet those requirements.

“Everyone on my staff has access to the live chat capability whether they are working on or off the installation,” said Matthew Raup, Customer Service Branch chief. “The data we are able to collect with this new technology can help us track information such as how long people are waiting in the queue, the number of completed chat sessions and types of concerns.”

The system also provides a transcript of each session that can be used for accountability and training, he added.

Personnel can use other methods to get help with their IT issues, but the new live chat feature will be a game changer for getting the support they need, according to Malone.

Personnel can submit work requests using the IT Service Desk link on the depot’s intranet site. For the do-it-yourselfers out there, the IT Knowledge Base link [also on the intranet] provides information on a number of topics. Technicians working at the service desk are available to address simple customer issues on the spot, loan IT equipment and assist users in entering help tickets for situations that require complex solutions.

Lastly, people can still request assistance by dialing 5-6677; however, using the legacy phone system offers fewer options to help the customer. According to Raup the best anyone can do is leave a voice mail message, which due to the volume of calls and work tickets, could go unnoticed.

The technician response time using the live chat feature averages less than two minutes. Users can continue working while waiting for a technician to come on the line, plus watch as they progress through the queue. Customer service representatives can also see the people waiting in line.

“As a tech, I feel like I can be very productive using the chat feature,” said Jessica Holliman-Wilson, IT specialist. “I’m able to grab multiple chats at a time and work them all at my own pace. I’m able to provide the same level of customer service as if they are talking to me face to face.”

Printer problems prompted a program analyst in the C4ISR Directorate to test the support button icon one day.

“I am so thrilled with the new app,” said Christine Shuleski. “The IT technician responded quickly and once I explained what was going on, he was able to resolve the issue in a matter of minutes.”

Shuleski said the live chat was such a positive experience, she asked about two other issues. All three problems were settled within about 20 minutes.

The number of users and systems connected to the network far outnumber the IT experts who strive to meet or exceed customer expectations every day. The customer service branch continues to improve products, services or processes with conscious, deliberate intent to continuously invest and focus on getting better.

“We’re heading in the right direction with the steps we’re making to improve customer service,” Raup said. “My goal is to fix the computer issues through whatever means possible by providing the tools and information needed to streamline the customer experience.”

The effort aligns with the depot’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028, which has four focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications. TOBY2028 aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for C5ISR systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.