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Spirit Pub Company has reduced the number of customer complaints after extending use of its ServiceNow IT service management (ITSM) system across its organisation.

Spirit Pub Company has reduced the number of customer complaints after extending use of its ServiceNow IT service management (ITSM) system across its organisation.

The UK pub chain, which owns brands such as Fayre & Square and Chef & Brewer, first deployed ServiceNow within its IT department in 2010, with modules for incident, change and knowledge management.

Following the success of this relatively “basic” use case, Spirit rolled out the software as a service tool to its Guest Services division, building an incident management application to replace its manual handling of customer complaints.

By allowing complaints to be dealt with more quickly, customer satisfaction levels have increased, said Simon Clarke, Service Delivery Manager for IT at Spirit.

“Sites are now having a reduced number of complaints, and it has allowed us to target the sites that are having the most and make sure that training is going there," he told ComputerworldUK.  

“By monitoring the complaints, and being able to trend those, we are able to see where they are most frequent across our brands, whether because of the slow service or cold food, or whatever the problem is.”

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Increased automation

The incident management system – a custom app developed on ServiceNow’s platform along with integration partner Team Ultra – has enabled Spirit to introduce a greater level of automation into its interactions with customers.

Customers can now communicate with Spirit by completing a web form on a brand’s site or sending an email, with this information automatically captured in ServiceNow, along with additional data, such as the number of guests and type of visit. After the incident is viewed by a member of Spirit Pub’s guest services team, it gets routed via ServiceNow to the pub or area manager to follow up. Finally, ServiceNow is updated with the outcome, noting any actions taken, such as issuing a letter of apology or gift voucher.

As well as offering better insight into data trends, it has made the business more efficient in dealing with complaints. 

“Because everything coming from email before was being double-entered, that has saved an immense amount of time,” Clarke said.

“Customer details are automatically populated, and we have got a whole heap of fields which now prompt the guests for information, so staff don’t have to go back to the customer to get all of this information. There are some real positives with efficiency.”

The company has also used the data gathered to support decisions around new projects within the organisation.

“We are looking at things like introducing hand-held terminals. Now we can notice that if the staff are using them for a couple of weeks then the complaints go down. We can track that very accurately,” he said.

ServiceNow rolling out across the business

Another custom app built on ServiceNow has been Spirit's Pub Query system, which allows staff from its 800 managed pubs to log a query, with self-service tools to track the ticket once it is raised. This provides functionality such as automatically prioritising service failures in workflow tracks, ensuring that important incidents are quickly seen by management staff.

Prior to this, the company had used hosted versions of FrontRange’s Heat software for pub queries and complaints, which Clarke described as “disastrous”.

Plans are now underway to continue to roll out ServiceNow to more parts of its business, including facilities management (“it is all Post-It notes and bits of paper there,” said Clarke), as well as adding self-service functions to the original implementation within the IT department.

Clarke has also been discussing with the marketing department about integrating social media data into ServiceNow, allowing it to process complaints made by customers on Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor pages, and automating some interactions.

“Ultimately I would like to get some form of automation in there so that we can retweet the guest straight away, or send them a message to contact us so that we can directly interact from the system, rather than having a number of different logins and screens open,” he said.