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  • IT / Helpdesk peeps. (Lack of) Process advice for dealing with customers

    We use helpdesk software (Service Manager) as an interface between the customer, and us.
    It's your garden variety helpdesk software with the usual features.

    The request is initiated by the customer sending an email to [email protected]

    I can.not get people to engage that way.
    They insist on phone calls and walkups.

    I'm about to resort to a 'cool story bro' response, and ignore the engagement until they do it the way I want them to.
    That has the real danger of being marginalised out of discussion when there is 'real' work to do and decisions to be made.

    I spend more time getting them to engage properly, than it takes to do the work.
    But we REQUIRE job logging - it's not just me being an arse.

    Have you found yourself in a similar situation?
    What did you do to fix it?
    Did it work?

  • #2
    I've worked in IT support most of my life; it's not something you're going to change in a hurry, especially without management support. Some people are comfortable with web based / email based call logging, others not so much.

    My advice is don't view phone calls and walk ups as a bad thing; your customers are engaging with you and if that's their preferred mechanism then as you say you run the risk of being seen as obstructive and unhelpful by standing on process.

    I understand you need to prioritise issues but why not just log the call on behalf of the customer? You can explain to them that you're required to do this before investigating the issue and make sure that they understand that it helps ensure calls are prioritised and that their urgent calls are seen to before someone else's trivial ones. (and vice versa)

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    • #3
      form a committee
      faster ya go closer to nirvana

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      • #4
        Hmmm... are you in a management position on the helpdesk?
        If not, It may be worthwhile having your manager send an email out detailing the process, it may be sent to other department heads, with it implicity stated that if their teams require help from the IT helpdesk, then they MUST send an email. Also have it clearly stated that no walk-ups or telephone calls for service requests will not be actioned until a corresponding email has been sent.

        Its a case of tough love, 2/3 weeks and they'll get the message.

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        • #5
          How about filling the online form in with them there next to you. If you do this each time they turn up they'll see that this is the first stage of the process and maybe start doing this themselves. You can also explain the value/reason while you do it together. Walk them through it on the phone first too.
          Like others have said, engagement is good. It's just that you're going to have to be subtle in bending them to your will.
          "Speed Kills". The stupid person's answer to a complex problem.

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          • #6
            Try less subtle ways of ignoring them..?



            Srsly though, get your manager to send out an email detailing that walkups are unacceptable and calls need to be logged via email etc.
            Originally posted by Desmo
            Why be a cunt about it?

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            • #7
              I used to have to deal with the Service Delivery Manager at a Utilities company a few years ago. Any time he wanted something done he would just come and yell at me. This may or may not have been someone who has shown an interest in this thread already.

              BOT. I have been in the industry quite a few years now. The only way I have found to stop it, is to put the Help Desk behind locked doors. It works, but can be very divisive, and may be difficult to achieve in an open plan office.

              Sadly some people just think that they are entitled to have that personal service, and to stop it causes too much damage to the relationships within the company.

              The way I deal with it now, is that I get the Help Desk guys to take the details down and say they will get to them as soon as they can, rather than dropping everything to help the person then and there. It isn't perfect, but is the best compromise.
              Adventure before Dementia

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              • #8
                From the other side of the fence...

                You (within the service desk environment) require logs of your engagement? You keep them. IF people want to engage in a manner that saves you some work, fine, that's great. But (as appears to be the case) people don't want to engage their support team by smashing away at a crappy help desk interface but actually want to feel supported by their support team and talk to a person then here's a hint: it ain't them that's broken, sport, it's your help desk software and/or your expectations of where you sit in the grand scheme of things.

                Yes, I know what it's like being in that environment where you waste a tonne of time talking to numpties who haven't done the simple stuff without it getting tracked. And it's a pain. But it really is part of the help desk's job to be helpful. Smashing me in the face with what's probably quite a fine grained interface full of choices which don't quite match what I want or make sense to me is not being helpful, it's getting in the way of me getting something productive done. The help desk's role is one of service and enablement to get the real workers working and keep them productive.

                It really gets up my snout when I see IT support people who've adopted the BOFH / IT Crowd mentality of themselves being somehow special and where other members of their organisation need to do things to make their life easier because it's utter bullshit and, in the end, does not make sense for the productivity for the organisation as a whole.

                The best you can do, I reckon, is offer the service and make it known on the grapevine that if someone engages via the help desk app they skip the step of a level 1 support drone having to talk to them and enter it before anything gets done. So it saves the IT guys time but, more importantly, it short circuits a step in the help desk process meaning they get on the queue faster. But accept that at least half of the engagements will continue to be via phone or walk-up and make sure your processes and staffing are designed to cope with that effectively.
                "Once upon a time we would obey in public, but in private we would be cynical; today, we announce cynicism, but in private we obey."

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                • #9
                  Email contact only? Your Service Desk sucks.
                  Log walk up & phone service requests yourself & up your first contact resolution stats. If you don't measure these it sucks more.
                  Email requests are for service calls that require planning, new user accounts, equipment orders, etc. Password resets & other instant fixes should be done via the phone. If it's not one of those refer them to the email system.
                  If you're the only IT guy in the middle of the office & you're being dragged away every 10 minutes for trivial problems then do something about it but if your job is first point of contact then educate your users about what constitutes a walk up call & what can be done via email.
                  The correct number of bikes to own = N + 1, where N is the current number of bikes you own.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rhino View Post
                    Have you found yourself in a similar situation?
                    What did you do to fix it?
                    Did it work?

                    No job logged = no action.

                    They can get with the program or not get any service.

                    You guys have work to do, the helpdesk tracking provides accountability, etc.

                    If everybody else logs jobs properly, there's no reason they should be special (unless it comes down from your boss, or if you're the dept head, from management above). If the company's agreed service delivery process is to use the job system by emailing it, then they fucking email the job tracking system.


                    edit:
                    If there's no official policy that has been agreed upon by the company, sorry but you're going to have to deal with it though.
                    “Crashing is shit for you, shit for the bike, shit for the mechanics and shit for the set-up,” Checa told me a while back. “It’s a signal that you are heading in the wrong direction. You want to win but crashing is the opposite. It’s like being in France when you want to go to England and when you crash you go to Spain. That way you’ll never get to England!” -- Carlos Checa

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rhino View Post
                      I can.not get people to engage that way.
                      They insist on phone calls and walkups.
                      People want to do something face to face. With another human. Instead of emailing shit.

                      Wow.

                      Who woulda thought that?

                      Someone should try that with a mechanical workshop, and see how long it stays in business for.
                      One owner. Only driven gently on Sundays. Sold to best offer. First to see will buy. Reward offered for safe return. Coming soon to a cinema near you. Available for a limited time only.

                      My waterbed broke this morning. Oh, I don't have a waterbed. Bugger.

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                      • #12
                        First world IT problems. Kill me now. I don't want to deal personally with humans, nothing wrong with that, right?
                        Sometimes people walk up because the 10second solution requires them waiting hours for a email resolution. I work with you cronies every day and I can honestly say I have never had any negative feedback from walk ups or emails with my companies department, if anything they are awesome to deal with...why email for a cable or a issue with my smartphone which requires interaction with another human being when you are right there. As stated above log the walk up and get the fuck over it. Or be polite and use your skills in communicating and explain issues with software/systems may bring a faster turnaround with the help desk. Out of interest what is the response time for resolution in your dept?

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                        • #13
                          So you want a email when I am having problems sending emails ?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by thro View Post
                            No job logged = no action.

                            They can get with the program or not get any service.

                            You guys have work to do, the helpdesk tracking provides accountability, etc.

                            If everybody else logs jobs properly, there's no reason they should be special (unless it comes down from your boss, or if you're the dept head, from management above). If the company's agreed service delivery process is to use the job system by emailing it, then they fucking email the job tracking system.


                            edit:
                            If there's no official policy that has been agreed upon by the company, sorry but you're going to have to deal with it though.
                            And this is exactly the worm ridden, blight infested cunt of an attitude that I hate.

                            Originally posted by thro View Post
                            You guys have work to do
                            Yes, you do. And however you want to dress it up that work simplifies to: keep the real people productive. Any tracking software which helps you and your management keep on top of your job is your problem, fundamentally getting clean data into it is your problem too and you need to understand that real people often want to talk to a real person.

                            When my computer's playing up the last thing I want to do is have to fight some piece of shit help desk form (and I've yet to see a good one, anywhere) as well as fighting my computer. And, in those organisations where I'm forced to do so, will often enter the bare minimum to get the thing logged in such a way that a help desk person ends up having to call me. Because fuck you.
                            "Once upon a time we would obey in public, but in private we would be cynical; today, we announce cynicism, but in private we obey."

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                            • #15
                              we have external and internal help desks, the externals are either phone call or email triggered and the internal is a intranet web page with a whole lot of time wasting things that you can do to "do it yourself" thats our first round of IT support from overseas, before you log a call. If after that you cant get anywhere you have to lodge an ticket, in which case it goes via overseas to Melbourne office and the guy wouldnt do anything until you logged a call ( because he has to show utilisation) i get that

                              all this was a major pain in the butt until I saw him parking his sports bike when I was in head office some time back and after a good conversation and watching his trackday videos over a coffee he now takes calls direct and then either he or I fills in a ticket after fixing the problem, depending on how busy we are. ( i dont do many calls)

                              teamwork, i dont want to hold him up, he doesnt want to hold me up.
                              I cant help it if your perceptions don't match my reality


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