news Apr 6, 2020

WORKING IN CORONAVIRUS TIMES: Björn Demol explains the impact on the helpdesk of TheValueChain

Jana Wuyts

The coronavirus is having a huge impact on our lives and how we do business. How do the companies of Gumption deal with the current changes? We talked to Björn Demol (41), service desk manager at TheValueChain.

Björn Demol manages the helpdesk that assists customers with SAP queries. ‘There are eight people in our core team. Under normal circumstances, we work together at the office. Now, just like everyone else, we work from home. Because we already work remotely as far as our customers are concerned, nothing has really changed for them. But for us, it’s a massive difference.’

The helpdesk uses a central ticketing system via which customers can log queries or problems. The telephone lines have been redirected to the home offices of the helpdesk operators. The team monitors the mailbox and ticketing tool in shifts.

Screen sharing

‘We communicate proactively with the customer and clearly explain what we are doing. Until recently, we have regularly visited the customer on-site if need be. For the time being, that’s not possible, but we can still offer assistance via screen sharing. All queries are resolved quickly.’

So far, the events of the past weeks haven’t really affected the workload of the helpdesk. ‘Software doesn’t care about the coronavirus. The customer queries keep coming in. There has been a decrease in the number of acute problems. Particularly in sectors where work has been halted temporarily, such as the manufacturing industry. Often, this allows people to take a step back, think structurally about obstacles and examine underlying processes more closely. This generates new kinds of queries or change requests.’

Video call

The team talks to each other every morning during a video call. Throughout the day, we are in regular contact with each other by telephone. ‘Calling is better than mailing. You have more in-depth conversations and talk about what’s bothering you more easily. This could be work-related matters but also personal issues. About the kids or the health of your family members. It’s important to vent. People need that in times like these.’

Close-knit group

‘The sense of belonging to a group is important at TheValueChain. We are a close-knit group and help each other out where we can. Nothing has changed in that respect, although it takes a bit more effort now. Things are usually quite lively at our office. You can’t replace this fun atmosphere. We try to replicate it digitally in our WhatsApp group, though, where we share memes and jokes. That, too, is extra important now. Humour heals.’

Much more fun

Björn also sees some advantages in working from home. ‘When you work by yourself, you can be more focused. You can mute communication channels so that you can really get stuck into a problem. It’s harder to mute colleagues. Believe me, I’ve tried, but without much success (laughs). Still, I hope we will soon be able to get back to normal. It’s much more fun to work as a team at the office.’

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