TOPdesk provides standard user-friendly service management software for IT, facility management and HR departments. Its software helps these departments keep track of the questions, complaints and malfunctions coming in from the employees and helps to increase employee satisfaction for the services delivered to them.
TOPdesk helps managers who feel pressured into cutting costs and improving efficiency or who feel frustrated about not being able to show the business organization what the added value of their department is because they cannot provide reports on it.
Here is our Interview with Nancy Van Elsacker, President, TOPdesk USA.
BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you believe that the future belongs to standardized software?
Nancy: There are several things changing in the market. The first one is the consumerization of the market. As a consumer, we are already used to buying very standard products and we even accept making concessions on some features or functionalities because of the ease of use. Look, for instance, at smart phones where we can only download apps. Sometimes, with smartphones we are limited to downloading apps that sometimes have more limited functionalities, but we are okay with it because they solve the most important issue for us. So we accept losing some degree of flexibility in return for the ease of use and mobility.
This shift is coming to the B2B market, too, where companies are seeking, consciously, standardized software with which they can immediately start working. At TOPdesk we call this the choice to play instead of build.
The second change we see is that there is a much higher focus on the people — call it the customer experience — than on the technology as we have seen in the past. This makes simplicity and ease of use more important than ever.
The third shift is toward an increased collaboration with internal departments (what we call Shared Service Management) and external suppliers. For this, a lot of steady integrations are needed and realizing these is just easier to do with standardized software.
BusinessInterviews.com: What separates TOPdesk from the competition?
Nancy: We see the customer/TOPdesk relationship as a long-term partnership. We put a lot of effort into really understanding the challenges the customer wants to solve with TOPdesk before we offer a solution. We also put a great of value to delivering good support. Our support team is highly skilled; they truly are our TOPdesk experts. When our customers call support, they do not have to worry about their call being answered by a machine or having to go through a phone script to get to someone who can help them. Instead they get one of our experts on the phone immediately, who can easily help them out.
Tool wise, our focus on the ease of use and on standardization, shared service management and integrations are highly valued by our clients. We aim at continuously simplifying solutions through standardization while still keeping enough flexibility so our clients can do configurations themselves in a user-friendly graphical interface. In our latest customer satisfaction survey, more than two thirds of our customers rated the TOPdesk software with an eight or higher out of 10.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did you know it was the right time to expand into America?
Nancy: In Europe, TOPdesk is market leader in a lot of the countries so we have achieved a steady base there. We have also built up a lot of experience in setting up and managing different offices in Europe and Brazil. Next to that we already had several clients in America that were supported by our European offices. In order to support our existing clients better and knowing that the US market is the biggest market for ITSM, we decided that after good market research by our business development team, the time was right to expand into America.
BusinessInterviews.com: You set up the TOPdesk office in Belgium and are now working setting up the US office. What did you learn in Belgium that you’ve been able to apply to setting up here?
Nancy: A lot of the processes around setting up an office for TOPdesk are the same regardless of the country. The most important lesson I learned is to have a good degree of stubbornness and stick to my beliefs about what works. Both when it comes to hiring people and the sales approach. Of course, there are some specific culture-related factors to consider in the sales approach, but for the most part it comes down to changing details.
When hiring people I learned not to do this too hastily and make concessions in the competences of the people I hire. Since our company culture is very specific and important, making those concessions always hits back. The TOPdesk culture is all about freedom, trust and responsibility. At TOPdesk we work with very smart people (the majority has at least a college or university degree) that are confident to create their own working environment and they get the trust and freedom to do so. We offer them a learning environment where they are challenged to take on new opportunities. It does take specific competences to thrive in this type of working environment.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share your insights or tips when it comes to scalability and managed growth?
Nancy: Having a good foundation within the company is very important to be able to grow as it is something newer offices can and will need to rely on. Knowing how and where to get the right information is a difficult process in all companies, but it is key for a good scalability. In that foundation there is a thin line though between clear procedures and the more ad-hoc approach. Even with managed growth it is important to keep a good degree of flexibility as not every detail can be planned upfront. Good planning helps to a certain extent, but you have to remain flexible enough to adjust the planning to unforeseen or changing circumstances. To me, that is actually a big part of the fun.
This last one is so obvious that its importance is overlooked a lot of the times: Bringing in the people with the right competences and skill set at the right time.
BusinessInterviews.com: How important is your company culture to the success of TOPdesk?
Nancy: I believe our company culture is the key factor of our success. The three main principles of our company culture are freedom, trust and responsibility. This creates a fun and learning environment where everyone is part of one team and strives to help others get better. This is also portrayed onto our interactions with customers. When doing our customer satisfaction surveys, three quarters of our customers rate our services with an eight out of 10 or higher on satisfaction surveys. A lot of the responses we get from customers are about the fact that people from team TOPdesk always go that one step further to help them get the most out of our software. In short, I’d say the TOPdesk culture is about helping others and enabling opportunities for helping those we work with better their working environment and bring efficiencies to a higher level, and we do not only do this internally, but also aim at achieving that for our customers.
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