The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Established 163 years ago, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across the greater Twin Cities metro region, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin communities. The 29 Y locations and program sites, eight overnight camps, 10 day camps, and more than 90 child care sites engage 370,000 men, women and children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds.
The organization strives to provide all its customers with highly responsive and individualized service—whether on-site, by phone or online. The organization has made it a priority to ensure online customer service is as user-friendly as possible, given it serves a wide range of constituents with varied technological capabilities.
Recently, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities’ Business Technology (BT) and Customer Service departments embarked on a project to update customer service technologies and the internal business processes associated with providing customer service. Concurrency was honored to be part of this initiative. After its conclusion, we had the opportunity to reflect on the results with four of our YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities colleagues.
A functioning, but limiting existing customer service management solution
YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities had several challenges with its former CSM solution. The organization was using an older Oracle platform that provided some important customer service functions, such as online forms and live chat. However, there were challenges maintaining the platform and making desired system upgrades related to security and business insights would have nearly doubled the cost of the Oracle platform.
Given this, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities recognized an opportunity to modernize its CSM platform. The organization sought Concurrency’s assistance based on the success of prior joint technology implementations.
“We certainly appreciate the partnership that Concurrency has provided. Concurrency has always provided the right resources to move forward and get any issues resolved. It’s the sense of partnership with Concurrency that we value so much.”
Steven Verchota, Systems Engineer, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities
How to maintain what’s working while also modernizing?
Matt Tompkins, service communications manager at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, discussed the challenge of maintaining what’s working while modernizing business processes: “The Oracle platform, on the face of it, worked fine for our internal customer service team. But because we didn’t have any other users within the organization, we were largely on our own, and since none of us are coders or developers, that meant having to rely on third parties to help us with upgrades and enhancements. As we already had an internal user base that was familiar with ServiceNow, we wanted to look to ServiceNow as a solution for our team as well.”
Tompkins also commented on cost and features: “We could have paid to upgrade the Oracle platform, but the cost would have been similar to what we could pay to get a brand new tool with many more capabilities. For example, reporting in the Oracle platform was more cumbersome than the intuitive reporting dashboards offered in the ServiceNow CSM module.”
Steve Verchota, systems engineer at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, spoke to how modernizing now can lead to future progress: “We are also looking to use performance analytics features in ServiceNow to help us with artificial intelligence analysis of data as it comes in. We’ll then be able to forecast trends and find cost-savings opportunities and address problems while they’re small—for example, by adding staff at the right time.”
ServiceNow already in use by the BT Service Desk team
The existing internal user base of ServiceNow to which Matt Tompkins referred is the BT department’s Service Desk, which handles a huge range of internal and external needs. Diane Prescott manages that team and joined the project to consider ServiceNow for customer service management. She said, “We knew what ServiceNow offered and were already using it in-house in our technology group, so we in BT already had knowledge to help leverage the tool and provide daily, monthly and quarterly service to the Customer Service team.” As the team explored further, including with Concurrency’s experts, the direction became clear.
The Concurrency team met the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities’ internal technical and process experts for a full-day workshop onsite to gather requirements. This included walking through all existing CSM processes from end-to-end and assessing the current state of technology in use, including flaws.
This comprehensive review enabled us to quickly move into designing and implementing the ServiceNow CSM module—including optimizing how cases moved through the system, how prioritization was applied, and how case-resolution was administered. In designing the system, we achieved a much more streamlined process that preserved aspects of the existing CSM process that were working well.
We approached this project through a series of weekly sprints. Each week, we presented updates to the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, such as refreshed design, new forms, new chat functionality and more. In turn, our client’s internal team could then test out updates and provide feedback that guided us through the next sprint.
“One of the big takeaways about this project is that having good relationships – both internally and externally with our partners makes a huge difference. With Concurrency at our side, we were able to develop and implement a wonderfully customized solution.”
Darren Alick, Director of Customer Service, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities
Along the way, we worked cooperatively with our colleagues at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities to address any technological challenges. For example, ServiceNow is structured such that all external users must create accounts when interacting with the system. But the organization was committed to serving all of its stakeholders in as user-friendly of a method as possible. The Concurrency team was able to design custom forms to navigate this challenge and provide a solution. About this, Darren Alick said, “Thankfully, we had a partner that understood what we were looking for. This was definitely a roadblock, but we were able to get around it because of that partnership.”
CSM modernization and positioning for the future
Thanks to this close collaboration, this project stands as an excellent example of extending use of a modern platform to other parts of an organization, bringing significant improvements to internal processes.
The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is already seeing welcome progress in the significant reduction of printed material. Matt Tompkins said, “We don’t keep paper on file anymore, thanks to scanning into ServiceNow. With ServiceNow’s form capabilities, this process is a lot more intuitive than before, and we don’t need to use up staff time shuffling paper around. This also means we can reduce customer work in downloading and returning paperwork—which is a huge positive impact for our customers.”
And with the ServiceNow CSM Module implemented, the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities is well positioned for the future. Further expansion of the online forms, deeper integration with the phone system, and a more robust connection to the internal support (BT) team are all in play.
We were honored to play a part in the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities’ work to bring such benefits to its employees and customers as it gains business benefits while delivering on its high-quality customer service promise to all.