Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tech Support Secrets


Secrets of tech support?  Loopholes buried deep in SLA's  that you can leverage to get your help request done before someone else? A confidential process to get a higher priority rating?

Well, these points are not really secret in the "they don't want you to know" sense.  More like tips you can use to speed up the process.

Here are the top five for the ESSD Tech Department.

1.  Send an email to help@estigers.k12.mo.us
This email address for help requests, questions, and concerns is a single point of contact that’s easy to remember and speeds your request to the appropriate people quickly and efficiently.  Calling is o.k. in a pinch.  A phone call doesn't improve the response time.  If someone answers, your issue will be written up in a help request and placed in the queue with all the others.

2.  Load up the subject line with key words.
Our help request system, Track-It!, is programmed to scan the subject line for keywords and automatically determine assignment.  So load up with words and phrases like:  computer, desktop, laptop, mouse, keyboard, SMARTboard, LCD TV, software, PowerSchool, password, etc.  No need to include in the subject line your name or the room numbers.  The system pulls that from your network account (when available).

3.  Details.  Details.  Details.
The more details about the problem in the body of the email, the better; the less vagueness the better.  (I checked.  “Vagueness” is an actual word.  Doesn't seem like it should be.)  Our least favorite incident description is “My computer doesn't work.”  Toss in some facts like, “My computer doesn't power up.  The monitor light is on but I don’t see any lights on the computer itself.”

And, humor is appreciated though a good laugh won’t necessarily affect a speedy resolution to your request.

4.  Actually read the emails from the help request system with “PLEASE READ” in the subject line.
I know you receive several emails while your request is processed.  (http://estigertech.blogspot.com/2013/04/help-desk-request-email-updates-guide.html)  But please read the ones that have “PLEASE READ” in the subject.  The technician is requesting important feedback from you or providing timely, pertinent information that may need your response.

5.  Don’t put in multiple help requests for the same issue.
Help requests are prioritized by a decision matrix that doesn't include a metric for how many tickets exist for the same issue.  See the Service Level Agreement http://www.essd40.com/docs/Technology%20SLA%2010-4-13.pdf for the details of the priority matrix.  Placing several tickets in for the same issue has a detrimental effect:  tying up tech staff processing the new tickets, confusing the technicians, and generally causing a bit of havoc.

Every email sent to the Tiger Tech address (help@estigers.k12.mo.us) either generates a new ticket or appends an existing one.  So if you need to provide more information on an existing ticket, find an email from the help request system for that ticket that includes "*****Reply to this email to append information to . . . *****” and reply to that email with your info.  Doing so is a significant help to us in tracking all communication on a given help request.

Feel free to pass these “secrets” along.  Or, maybe not.  Sometimes keeping a secret is the most efficient way to have it shouted from a mountaintop.

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