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    Inspired by Working from Home! LINE Fukuoka’s Office Equipment Rental System now Features Remote and Unstaffed Support

    Inspired by Working from Home! LINE Fukuoka’s Office Equipment Rental System now Features Remote and Unstaffed Support サムネイル画像

    [Notice] Effective October 1, 2023, LINE Fukuoka has changed its company name to LY Communications. Articles published on or before September 30, 2023 were written with our former company name.



    Hi, this is Motoyuki Sasaki with the IT Support Department’s Work Improvement Team at LINE Fukuoka. Our team provides tools to create an environment that helps employees work more effortlessly, primarily geared for our Corporate Departments like General Affairs, HR, and Accounting.
    Previous article featuring the “RentaBox” Office Equipment Rental System If you’re curious about what RentaBox is, please see the previous article here!(Sorry, only available in Japanese.)

    7,100 times

    This number represents the amount of times employees used the system to borrow equipment. (Note: This figure is from April 2019 to July 2021)

    RentaBox was developed to reduce the burden in managing office equipment rentals. It significantly reduced the time previously needed to manage rentals on paper, and has become an essential platform for equipment rental at LINE Fukuoka.

    In the previous article, I talked about remote support features as part of the forthcoming plans for RentaBox. With the goal of “continuing to improve the system and make it more convenient rather than creating it and being done with it,” and based on our current WFH arrangements, we have released the new “Counter Guide” feature as of July 2021 to provide remote support.

    We wanted to give a behind-the-scenes look at development of this new feature, so the second half of this article will feature an interview with the RentaBox Project Manager, Mr. Akihiro Matsuo.

    What is the new “Counter Guide” feature?
    Counter Guide is a new feature added to RentaBox for making inquiries. The feature lets employees connect to staff on Zoom and speak with them directly from RentaBox when they use the system to check something and can’t find the answer they’re looking for.
    (Note: Zoom operating hours are 9:30 am – 6:30 pm on Weekdays)

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    New issues in work created by WFH
    I believe that one of the biggest issues that has arisen in the pandemic is working from home (WFH). Currently, the LINE Group has introduced flex-time and WFH systems while the company considers new working arrangements that avoid the “Three C’s” (closed spaces, close distance, and close contact). In conjunction with these changes, the number of employees working in the office has also fallen.

    Some LINE Fukuoka offices have support desks for employees to visit when they have an issue they need to talk to someone about called LFK Care and the IT Help Desk. If you want more details about LFK Care, please see here.

    As employees come into the office less, we took another look at the need to have a desk with staff always available. However, we also wanted to keep that same support quality and speed even if these desks are un-staffed... and that’s where “remote support” came into the picture.

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    How was this “remote support” achieved?
    From here, we’ll be talking with Mr. Matsuo to find out how remote support became possible!

    Q: Was adding a new remote support feature to RentaBox the goal from the start?
    Matsuo:No, initially, the plan was to put a PC on the equipment rental desk and have employees connect to Zoom as needed. But there was a lot to consider. What about the risk of the PC being stolen, the risk of having it always on, and how about staff being overwhelmed by being frequently connected through Zoom? It wasn’t something so simple that it could be resolved by just setting up a PC.

    In addition to considering the issues associated with WFH, we were also wondering how we could improve the support structure for the employees who were working outside of support hours. Some employees work at night or on weekends, depending on the work they do. We were wondering if there were ways to support them after work hours or on weekends.

    We decided to evaluate solutions from two sides, which were to review the need to keep these desks staffed all the time, and to support employees when they were unattended.

    Q: I see. Providing support even when desks are unstaffed, that sounds like a challenge.
    Matsuo:Right, our requirements were unstaffed response and remote calls.

    So the first thing that came across our minds was Pepper, the humanoid robot. I’m sure you’ve seen them in front of mobile phone stores. You can interact with them a little, and because of our upcoming business integration with Z Holdings, I thought having one in the office might be something unique.

    There was also Clova Desk, which is a smart speaker with an AI assistant equipped with a screen. They’re more affordable than PCs and tablets, and more importantly they have the LINE Spirit. They also utilize machine learning to improve their responses, which could help in providing unstaffed support.

    Q: Both solutions seem to meet the requirements, so why did you eventually decide to add a feature to RentaBox?
    Matsuo:Everyone liked the idea of introducing Pepper or Clova Desk. But from the perspective of someone actually in charge of operations, that means introducing an entirely new system and we were concerned about the increased workload. That’s why we proposed additional features on RentaBox.

    RentaBox is already available in our offices, so there wasn’t a need to introduce additional devices. It’s also easier for users as they would be using RentaBox, which they were already used to.

    Solutions that you interact with through speech like Pepper and Clova Desk are challenging, so we created responses to frequent inquiries in a text and image format. By displaying these responses when an inquiry comes in, we met our requirements for unstaffed response. For remote calls, we connected the system to Zoom which is already used within the company.

    スクリーンショット 2022-01-13 11.34.59

    Q: Wasn’t it a challenge to prepare the content for those responses?
    Matsuo:To do that, we linked the system to LFK Care and the IT Help Desk which respond to inquiries in the office. These dedicated counters manage data from previous inquiries that were made. Using those records, we were able to prepare a response for the most frequently asked questions.
    Note: This is the response that appears when a user submits the “My monitor does not turn on” inquiry.

    We also included a feature to ask the user if the reply solved their problem, and a feature to enable them to talk with staff remotely if it wasn’t. These responses can also be linked to the ticket management system to keep track of response records. The platform was built so that we could analyze inquiry trends in order to improve and expand reply contents.



    Mr. Matsuo, thank you again for joining us for this interview!

    The pursuit of improved convenience

    The IT Support Department’s vision is to keep providing a better working environment, and has a culture of continuously facing and improving issues. These new features added to RentaBox are another example of this culture, and how we’re always working to improve convenience for employees.

    Finally, I would like to conclude this article by showing you the two WOWs I personally found through this interview.

    ① Request for remote calling notifies staff of the employee’s most recent location
    Staff are notified when an employee selects remote calling on RentaBox. These notifications include the last location of the employee, or the screen they requested remote calling. This way, notified staff can figure out where the employee got stuck, which enables them smoothly respond to their inquiry. Amazing!

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    ② Troubleshooting information remains accessible even if you leave RentaBox
    In the final screen of Counter Guide, employees can choose if they want to receive a URL to the Business Support Guide (wiki) detailing the response contents via email. If this option selected, that URL is sent to the email address of the employee who used Counter Guide. So the solution to their problem is available, even after they stop using RentaBox. It’s reassuring to know that you won’t forget how to solve your problems!

    スクリーンショット 2022-01-13 11.35.20

    These new features added to Counter Guide have achieved remote support by combining existing systems. Any LINE Fukuoka employee can take advantage of the system, so we hope you’ll try it when you come into the office!

    Thanks for reading!
    — The IT Support Department is recruiting —

    Internal IT Consultant
    Internal IT Technical Support

    ▼ You can find Mr. Takashi Kaida’s (the Enterprise IT Center Vice-Center Head/IT Support Department Head) Twitter account here. On his account he shares stories about internal IT work!

    スクリーンショット 2021-10-07 9.55.43

    — The IT Support Department is recruiting —
    Internal IT Consultant
    Internal IT Consultant
    Internal IT Technical Support


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