Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Help Desk Request Email Updates: A Guide

 "Every time I put in a help ticket, I get all these crazy ticket notifications."  Why so many?

A help request to the Technology Department is a powerful tool for the tech department and you.  As the request is processed, we want to keep you as informed as possible with automated updates that are generated by activity on the request.  Here's a primer on those email updates.

Each email update should be thought of as a step on the staircase that leads to the resolution of the problem you reported.

Help Me!

The climb to a resolution of any tech request begins with the first step of contacting the Technology Department.  Except in the rare cases where the email system is down (about which we would know almost immediately), the most efficient manner by which to get help is to send an email to help@estigers.k12.mo.us.  If you are using the Microsoft Outlook software installed on every computer in the district, all you have to do is type "help" in the To:  field and Outlook will fill in the remainder of the address for you!

You can even send an email from your personal email account while at home.  Be sure to include your contact information so we know who is sending the request.

The first automated response you will receive looks like the one at right.  This is your confirmation that the Help Desk system received the email and generated a help request ticket.  Note that the request has been assigned a ticket number.

Oh, I Forgot to Add Something!

Don't worry!  See the statement at the top of the email (conveniently shown to the right of this paragraph!)?  Click "reply" to the email, type in the information you want to add, and the help request system will automatically append it to your ticket.

Who's Your Tech?

Now that your help request is "in the system", Patty, the (indispensable) department secretary, or I read and process the ticket.  Processing means that the ticket is categorized, prioritized, and assigned to a technician.  In the vast majority of situations, the ticket is routed to the technician currently assigned to the building at which the problem described in the ticket exists.

At this point, two automatically-generated emails are sent.  One is an Update.  (The other is a Status Update.  See A Change In The Status Quo below.)  These emails notify you that a modification was made to your ticket.  In the case of a new ticket, the update is indicating a technician was assigned to your help request.

On existing tickets, an Update is generated when a technician adds a note or makes other changes to the ticket.

In either situation, the Update email will contain all the information from the ticket including any notes, emails, and attachments entered into the ticket.

A Change In The Status Quo.

Every help request ticket has a Status assigned to it:  Open, Assigned, In Progress, Cancelled, and Closed.  A new ticket starts as Open.  When it is assigned to a technician, the status changes to Assigned.  As a technician begins notating the ticket, the status is changed to In Progress.  And, of course, when a ticket is completed the status is changed to Closed.  Rarely is the Cancelled status used.

So, when the status is changed an automated email is generated like this one.  And, this email contains all notes, emails, and attachments currently in the ticket.

Reaching Out.

As your help request climbs the staircase to resolution, the technician may need to communicate with you to request information in a manner  that should be documented in the ticket.

When the technician sends an email through the help request system, you will receive something similar to the one at right.  The content of the email immediately follows the "append" notice and before the "Information" section.

Reply to that email with your response to easily add the information to the ticket.  The technician receives an automatic notification of your reply so you don't have to cc: the technician with your response.


The last step of the staircase brings the help request ticket to a resolution.  Both the Technology Department and you always hope the stairway isn't as winding and long as the one shown at left!

When the ticket is closed, the email at right is generated.  In addition to the notes, emails, and attachments added to the ticket during the resolution process, the technician may choose to include an additional comment.  This resolution comment appears near the beginning of the email.

You can reply to this email (as indicated by the "append" notice at the beginning of the email) even when the ticket is closed.  The help desk request system automatically appends your comment to the closed ticket, reopens the ticket, places the reopened ticket in the technician's queue and notifies the technician of the modified ticket.

But Wait . . . There's More!

At any time you can view the entire help request work order, check on the status, and provide additional information through the Self-Service Center portal.  Read more about the Self-Service portal here.

At the end of every help desk request email update are several items of information.  For example our Twitter feed, website URL, and the URL for this blog site are provided as communication channels from the Technology Department to district staff and patrons.  I invite you to subscribe to the Twitter feed and bookmark the URL's.

Four additional items unique to the help desk request system are included in the end section of all email updates.  What are those four items?  The first four ESSD staff members to email me the correct answer to that question will win a cool USB flash drive.  Ready, set, go!

1 comment:

  1. M. Andrews, WV, 1st winner! 3 more flash drives . . .