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“A Note from the Director of Danforth Deskside:” David Leisure – IT Service Delivery Owner, WashU Danforth Campus

There is no longer a need to visit the Apple store to talk to a genius. We can send one to you. Having the right people to meet our campus needs, and other measures taken during the last several years have led to an evolution in the support we deliver. A statement I used to hear regularly: “WashU IT Deskside Support doesn’t know how to support Apple Computers.” This was a shortcoming, and we have worked tirelessly to resolve it. If you hear anyone say that now, please help us spread the word about what we have done to improve our service.

As painful as it is to admit, it is true we used to be very skilled in primarily PC/Windows based support. We lacked skills in advanced troubleshooting; and let’s face it, sometimes even basic troubleshooting when it came to Apple based computing.

When it comes to client computing, there is some legitimacy to our previous excuse; particularly as it relates to the business world. The percentage of Apple Computers is so small that it is difficult to build and retain the skills required to provide top-notch service. However, I think most would agree with me, even middle-notch service would have been acceptable.

Unfortunately, the service we consistently provided was poor when it came to Macs. Sure, we had “a person that knew Macs;” however, the pain our customers had to go through to get to the point where “that person” was looking at their issue really damaged our reputation and frustrated everyone involved. The need to evolve our service and stop making excuses was long overdue. I am excited to report: We have turned the corner, elevating the level of customer service delivery. We did this by taking a few, very impactful steps in how we work, as well as who we recruit. First, regarding the modification to the way we work, every WashU IT Deskside tech is required to use a Mac as their primary computer—that’s right; required. There is tremendous value in using the system daily. It helps foster knowledge and familiarity that just didn’t consistently exist before. All our techs also are required to get Apple Software Certified within their first year of employment, and we have built in refresher training as each new MacOS is released.

Additionally, we are actively working directly with Apple to get our technicians and work environment Apple Hardware certified. This will allow us to operate as our own ‘Certified Apple Repair’ shop, just like the Apple Store.

Keep an eye out for another announcement when we achieve this certification accomplishment. That announcement will outline all the great benefits it brings to the university. Among those benefits are convenience and faster resolution times.  By actively recruiting to intentionally build on this competency, we have been able to hire three Apple Geniuses directly out of the Apple Store to fill technician roles on our deskside team. These three individuals came to WashU fully trained and certified from Apple and are all highly intelligent, service-oriented technicians.

In closing, I want to take this moment to thank those of you who use our services. Thank you for your patience when it comes to issues like this, as well as for your direct, open, and honest feedback. It is a gift that I appreciate almost as much as the opportunity given to me to help foster this change, and others like it. These changes enhance and augment our service to the point of excellence. We appreciate your partnership and understand the impact we have—good or bad—on your ability to be successful in your work. It is a responsibility we will continue to take seriously and always look for ways to improve.

David Leisure
IT Service Delivery Owner, WashU Danforth Campus