As an Application Support team for users of Tribal’s ebs, we deal with our customers on a daily basis. Our primary focus is to resolve incidents, and to do so in a professional, friendly manner whilst adhering to our Service Level Agreements. This we do well, but the challenge for us is ‘how do we improve on this?’
We can work faster, harder and smarter, and we engage in a continual service improvement plan to ensure that we do. For me, as the lead of the support team though I always feel that there is more to be achieved. The solution that presented itself to me was that we need to genuinely understand the needs of our customers, and so we need to see how ebs is deployed, used and how it contributes to the success of learners.
The only way to do this is to work in partnership with our customers and to spend time in their shoes, using the product and gaining a true insight into the daily operations of modern further education institutions.
About the College
Formed in March 2002, East Riding College has two main campuses in East Yorkshire, situated in Bridlington and Beverley.
The college course range includes A Levels, BTEC awards, apprenticeships and Access courses, including practical, hands-on courses and those that are more classroom-based. East Riding College also offers a diverse and exciting range of higher level qualifications with excellent lecturer contact time and support, and student satisfaction consistently among the highest in the region, even including universities.
Working with the College
Prior to the visit we were provided with a clear timetable, that covered nearly all areas of college operation, and ensured that we were exposed to as much ebs usage as possible. We spent time with various teams, including registry and exams teams.
We were able to see exactly how ebs supports the day to day operation of the college and, more importantly, we were able to converse openly with users of the system to gain insights into which areas specifically were the most effective and also to listen to suggestions.
We were happy to answer any questions where we could, even advising on the best use of certain areas of functionality, to help users make sthe most of ebs.
Andrew Tan (East Riding College):
Firstly, thank you to Richard Sharp and Tribal for arranging and supporting this visit. Both Laura and Sarah were very friendly and immediately got to work looking at our various systems and processes. All of the teams involved in the visit have commented on how useful they found the experience and also welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate our use of ebs.
Having ebs specialists on-site gave staff the opportunity to ask questions, which they would not normally raise to the MIS team, about how parts of ebs should be used.
It was reassuring to hear where we were using the systems as expected and suggestions for any improvements that could be made were gratefully received.
It was clear that there are changes that the college could make to improve some processes or make minor changes to ebs to improve efficiency, saving time and allowing these teams to focus on other tasks. Any questions that could not be answered there and then were taken away to be reviewed later.
It became clear through discussions that in Tribal Support each person is responsible for a key part of ebs and may not be able to gain experience of other parts of the system. I hope that Laura and Sarah got as much out of the visit as the College did and that it provided them with a broader view of ebs and also how it is used in a real college environment.
I think this service is of great benefit to both colleges and Tribal Support as both parties will gain knowledge and ultimately be able to improve their services as a result.
Sarah Moore (ebs Support):
This was my first Support Visit and I can say that not only were my personal expectations were met but in fact exceeded. First of all I would like to thank you each staff member we met at East Riding College for being so welcoming, friendly and professional during our visit.
As I have worked on the Support team less than a year I do not hold the amount of knowledge and experience as other members.
This was a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and witness first hand modules I wouldn’t usually come into contact with in a typical working day.
It was interesting to see how the teams interact and how much the College relies on ebs to ensure the students are managed from start to finish.
I believe this experience is invaluable to both parties involved. Not only does it strengthen professional relationships between the customers and ourselves but I feel Laura and myself learnt a lot as well as the customer. I hope more of my colleagues get the chance to partake in a Support Visit and I hope I have the chance to experience more in the future.
Laura Naylor (ebs Support):
We are very lucky to have such quality relationships with our customers.
On our trip to East Riding we were privileged to visit both of the college’s campuses and through the perspectives of each area we were able to understand the product and make recommendations in the hopes of making Andrew and his colleague’s days a little easier. These recommendations ranged from changes to column configuration in wideboys, to align with the college business processes, to theoretical ways to get a head start on the upcoming academic year through planned enrolments.
We were also able to take the feedback alongside real life anecdotal evidence back to our product team. These updates have allowed us to answer some of East Riding’s burning questions and take on board suggestions for ebs via our PCR process.
It was a pleasure to get to know Andrew Tan, Jon Hampton and all of the staff in Bridlington and Beverley better and we look forward to working alongside them more in the future.
Outcomes and next steps
There is no doubt in my mind that the visit was incredibly helpful for us as a support team, making us more connected in a sense to the end user experience, building on our existing rapport with our customers and meeting the people that drive the success of the college.
Putting a human face to Tribal’s support team, and letting our customers know that we are genuinely invested in helping them make ebs work as hard as it can, were key outcomes but most importantly we gained an invaluable insight into how East Riding College operates specifically, and this knowledge will help us in supporting them in the future.
We were able to answer a wide range of queries during our visit, including advising on ways to dictate different dates between registers and ILR aim records, and also how to filter out ‘ILR’ and ‘No grade’ PLR attainments.
We continue to enjoy a fruitful relationship with East Riding College, and Sarah and Laura both feel that they are able to better understand the needs of the college staff. Having shared their experiences with the rest of the team, this has helped to focus our thinking and our efforts to ensure that our service is effective, professional and above all exceeds the expectations of our customers.
The experience was a success in many ways, and both parties felt that there was merit in repeating. We are always looking for customers to help us in our mission to deliver the best possible customer experience and would urge those interested to contact us to arrange a visit.
The experience is free to ebs customers, so there really is nothing to lose and plenty to gain.