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Service Improvements at the User Consultancy Office

  Nicole Crémel, Miguel Marquina and Roger Woolnough IT/User Support

Recently users will have noticed new faces at the UCO (User Consultancy Office) Help Desk. In line with current CERN thinking, the UCO front desk service in Building 513 is being operated mostly by out-sourced staff. Consequently new procedures are being introduced with the objective of monitoring and improving the quality of the service offered. In this article we explain several of the improvements for the end-users.


Service availability

Opening Hours

Our weekly operational meeting taking place every Monday morning has been rescheduled in order to allow the opening of the Help Desk at 9:00 AM. So the UCO Help Desk is now opened daily:

9:00-12.30 and 14:00-17.30 Monday to Friday

It is our intention, depending on both the availability of resources and a forthcoming increase of user interventions to be treated at the Help Desk, to extend further this schedule.

Improved phone system

A new easily memorised phone number, 78888, has been attributed to the UCO Help Desk. We invite all users to immediately note this new phone number in their private phone book and to use it straight away when necessary:

New UCO phone number: 78888

In order to improve efficiency in the treatment of calls, a new streamlined phone system is being installed.


The User Area

The User Area facilities will be upgraded again, so that users can benefit from an improved environment. Six PCs of the latest generation will equip our User Area and be available in a near future. The two scanners and two printers currently connected will naturally remain. More details of future plans for further improvements as of the New Year will be given in the next CNL.

There is now only one self-service documentation cupboard used for writeups of either a long or complicated nature that are not easily printed by users. For other writeups they need, we encourage users to print them directly from the Web. Writeups should be easily accessible from the "Writeups at CERN" Web page, at URL:
where users just have to enter the name of the writeup, or an appropriate keyword (e.g. "AFS").

N.B. For people who would like to get the output immediately, a dedicated PC and printer (PCDOC) are located next to the documentation cupboards (and in front of the UCO Help Desk), and can be used on a self-service basis for this task.


Improved quality of interventions

We are taking steps to improve the quality of user interventions whereby user calls will be treated faster and more efficiently. The large data-base of questions and answers that we are already compiling (a small fraction of these being given in each CNL in the chapter "Problems & Queries from Users") should allow us to integrate staff without long CERN experience successfully into the operational structure of an outsourced UCO.

A second point is the rationalisation of policies that ensure that all users questions should be treated consistently. Until recently the Help Desk was managed by CERN staff with different areas of expertise, thus making problem treatment uneven. With the new system this is no longer the case, and a strict policy has been defined by the User Support group to answer typical questions (e.g. see the article on "Computer Space Management Policy" in this CNL).

Finally note that the "Book Shop" will soon be completely re-organised and be run as a separate entity. This will enable the UCO staff to concentrate on understanding and answering problems of a direct nature, again more details of this re-arrangement will be presented in the next CNL.

If you have any questions, comments, or you would just like to give feedback, please feel free to contact one of the authors of this article directly.

next up previous
Next: Remote/Mobile Computing at CERN Up: cnl232.html Previous: Merging of the Computer Science Library Collections into the Central Library