The conference closed this lunchtime, and I'm glad I stayed till the end. I had considered leaving yesterday, but the sessions have been good, and because the focus of the conference Is not normally what I would come for, the content has been refreshingly different. Most of the attendees run or are from IT support teams, service desks or service management teams, and it's been really good to get a different perspective on things, and I can see things that we could do in Sheffield to improve not just the customer experience, but also the happiness of our staff.
Happiness was a theme this morning, with a session on Rewarding the IT Service Desk from the University of Leeds. The have been through tthe SDI's Service Desk certification programme! although their original thought was that it would be mainly about processes, it was really about people. They've invested in reward and recognition to reward individuals and build a customer focused team as happy people give better customer service. Staff satisfaction has increased to 100%. Interesting to see some of the things they do, including putting themselves forward for external awards which improves morale, and they do as a joint effort, so improving team working.
The last session was on Leadership, and was delivered by Andy Parfitt who for a long time was controller of Radio One. Great talk, but he invoked the Chatham House rule so I can't tell you what he said. I can say though that happiness played a big part. In fact, the only thing that matters in running any service or business, is how happy the staff are. It was an excellent talk, and I can recommend him for any conference organisers out there.
I've also just realised that if I had left early, I wouldn't have seen the after dinner entertainment which was the wonderful comedy maigician, John Archer. If you're into magic like me, you might remember him as the first guy to fool Penn and Teller on a show a couple of years ago where they tried to guess how you'd done a trick. They couldn't work out how he'd done his, and he did the same trick last night. And he wouldn't tell me how he'd done it. Apart from apparently swallowing this balloon
he also produced a magic square in seconds from a random number given to him by someone in the audience. A magic square is a 4*4 grid of numbers where every group of 4 adds up to the same number, in this case 62. I don't know how he did it so quickly. There must be a formula. I'm off to look it up.