Top service for T-Systems clients 24/7. This is the claim of the Service Integration Center (SIC) in Hungary, where employees of Deutsche Post DHL, ITERGO or Eon somewhere on this planet get help even when most of Europe is in bed.
If Ildiko Vida's phone rings at night, there's a problem - a network problem. Somewhere in the world, at one of Deutsche Post DHL's locations, the communications infrastructure does not work as it should. The logistics group operates literally all over the world in 220 countries and territories and around the clock. And it goes without saying that T-Systems takes care of this major customer the same way: 24/7. Vida is the first point of contact for Deutsche Post DHL whenever there is a problem.
From Debrecen in Hungary, T-Systems manages first-level support for major customers for telecommunications services. In modern building on the outskirts of Hungary's second largest city, five teams with a total of around 100 colleagues from the Service Integration Center (SIC) work together - as the first and only point of contact for customers. In addition to Deutsche Post DHL, these include, for example, Eon, ITERGO, Bosch and Valora. “We give the customer the feeling that someone is there and cares," says Ildiko, describing the perhaps most important aspect of her work when she checks the systems on her monitor at night. The reactive recording and testing of network faults is only the second step, so to speak. Also important is the continuous observation of the networks in order to identify and eliminate faults and their causes proactively in case of doubt. Are all routers online? Do all switches switch clean? Are there any power cuts? Did a planned change run properly in the system? “At best, the customer doesn't notice anything about our work," says Ildiko.
Nightshift for all customers
The SIC's range of tasks is very extensive. The colleagues there take care of the customer's wide area networks (WAN), the local networks (LAN), the accompanying security services (firewalls, log servers, etc.), the ENX (European Network Exchange) system for secure and fast data transfer between companies and they observe how the customer's applications run (APM, Application Performance Management).
If a customer reports a problem, a clearly defined process starts. The service level agreement with the customer specifies exactly what needs to be done and how quickly. “We look after all our customers at night," reports Hannelore Lieb, who spends five nights every two months for Eon. However, depending on the criticality of a specific customer site a defined time for resolution must be keppt. "For gold sites the solution must be ready in a maximum of four hours." That means finding the cause first. "Major glitches are easy," says Hannelore, "if a router goes down, it's usually a whole location away." Smaller causes of malfunctions, on the other hand, are more difficult to identify. Once this has happened, the night service forwards the fault tickets to the solution groups. If necessary, a technician will be sent on site. "We'll monitor the progress in our system, and only when the bug is fixed and the device in question is running again, for instance, will we close the ticket."
Nevertheless, the following applies in any case: Customer satisfaction has top priority! This sometimes also requires a sure instinct, especially when angry customers are on the phone. “If the customer has a bad mood at the other end of the line, we try to reassure him, we are patient and kind to him," reports Ildiko, "and we assure him that it is our turn to fix the network problem as soon as possible.”
Interference suppression is teamwork, in the broadest sense of the word. “We can only be effective if we can cooperate with the customer," explains Ildiko. This requires patience and cooperation on both sides. Success depends not only on our expertise, but also on the customer's attitude towards us and thus on our attitude towards the customer - regardless of whether the disturbance occurs at night or during the day.
When the night shift ends at quarter past six, it must be ensured that the early shift can take over smoothly. “We summarize all open tickets and check again what to do during the day," says Hannelore. “We want to keep the error rate as low as possible in order to offer our customers the best service quality," adds Ildiko. And then it even happens that customers express their thanks. “When that happens, we are all happy and proud, because this positive feedback from our customer is a clear proof that we have been able to work according to our customer's expectations."