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How to handle user support cases 1?

Posted on 2008-06-24
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We recently implemented a User Support system to capture/manage user support cases. Very quickly i find out users are using it to ask for all kinds of things such as "I need to download a youtube video?" (work related, of course), "how do I show comment in Excel?"

There are also issues that are easy to put in as a case, but difficult for IT to resolve them. We cannot treat every request the same, can we? If one of my people spends 1 hour to figure out how to download a video from youtube, the cost of doing that is not justified.

there are also stuff like "oh, my phone is not working, i think it's unplugged."

How do you guys handle these? do you assign each case a "benefit" and "cost" then decide whether to work on the case or not? Some of the cases are purely resource drain that does not produce value, but they are consuming the IT resource just like other important issues.
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Question by:PaperTiger
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by:dshroutait
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Prioritize! I deal with the same thing daily, there are some issues that users submit that are so to speak "stupid". Basically what we do is log every issue that comes in, if its something like downloading a You Tube video we log the request and move on. When we have a minute or two of downtime we go BACK to those questions and answer them accordingly.

Lets face it some user problems are more important than others, and you have to take care of the real problems first.

Good luck, the system is very useful but you will learn that a lot of people like the abuse it.
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by:PaperTiger
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Who decides the priority? I have people ask me "oh, i file a request this morning about how to show the Excel comment, how come nobody answers me? It's 4:30 in the afternoon now."
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by:burrcm
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Set up an immediate response system giving an indication when the issue will receive a response. Rate the item when it is received from critical to stupid, work out how long you expect it will take to respond and advise accordingly, i.e. critical. 1 hour, moderate 4 hours, stupid wtp (when time permits) etc.

Chris B
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by:PaperTiger
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who decides the importance? how is that communicated to users and by whom?
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by:PaperTiger
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I intent to show the following on our main User Support website:
1. check your power/network cable connection
2. reboot
3. Google (a link to google.com)

If all 3 fail, please fill out an IT request.
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by:dshroutait
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You as the support team decides the importance, I can tell you from experience some users think that their problem of not being able to change the background, is more important than world hunger.

You should give out a memo stating that support tickets will be prioritized by the IT staff and will be dealt with accordingly.
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by:PaperTiger
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The problem is doing so would make IT the public enemy No. 1 - they already hate us as we blocked their football scores, dating sites, online shopping and USB port.
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by:dshroutait
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In all honesty, its not your job to be everyone's friend. Its your job to make sure they can work with the tools that you support.

The staff I support has the same attitude, they wish they could have free reign over the computers and network and have all there issues fixed in the matter of minutes but reality is reality some things are more important than others.

I would just explain to them that some issues that completely interrupt work flow cost the company money and time, so in that mindset you have to prioritize issues over other issues.

To be straight forward it sucks being "the bad guy", but you have to do it.
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by:PaperTiger
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My problem really is with someone who doesn't know how to show comment in Excel so it interrupts his/her workflow (hint: not be able to do the big boss' expense report), and thinks it is more important than the big projects we are working on or part of network being down.

Of course, there are a few who think they are above everybody and must get special treatment because their work is "important" and affects the company as a "whole."
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IT, Stop Being Called Into Every Meeting

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 
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by:dshroutait
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If you as an IT department are working on projects for YOUR department you will learn they often get put on the back burner unless absolutely necessary.

PaperTiger,

The best thing to do in that scenario is assign on of your other IT guys to take care of those small issues while you are working on those projects. Divide and conquer.
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by:PaperTiger
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here's what I come up with:

Priortizating issues based on financial benefit/gain for the company            Answer      Cost      Answer      Cost
a.      Is this related to customer service (sales, CSR, shipping) and Senior Mgr?      Yes      10      No      0
b.      Is this related to production operation?       Yes      9      No      0
c.      Is this related to planning, purchasing and logistics      Yes      8      No      0
d.      Is there a workaround currently in process?      No      10      Yes      0
e.      Is the workaround currently incurring direct cost unless fixed?      Yes      10      No      5
      How much per year?                        
      <$1000            5            5
      >$2500            10            10
f.      Does it affect a group?      Yes      10      No      0
g.      Does it interrupt to system work flow?      Yes      10      No      0
h.      Does it cause potential mistake in the system?      Yes      5      No      0
i.      Estimated time to fix the issue?                        
i.      <1 hour            5            5
ii.      1-4 hours            5            5
iii.      4-24 hours            0            0
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by:dshroutait
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There ya go, just implement it.
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by:PaperTiger
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here's what I got:

Are you guys nuts?  You can't prioritize based on who you think brings the most revenue!!  That is an hr no-no.  Each employee is an integral part of making the company work, and there are no "priority employees"

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by:dshroutait
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Its not about revenue,

I would respond to by asking this question.

If John Doe's computer crashes and the hard drive fails and he cannot work at ALL is it cost worthy to fix Jane Does problem of not being able to view videos on YOU TUBE?

It almost sounds like you approached the issue incorrectly, they are right there are no priority EMPLOYEES but there are priority PROBLEMS.

It sounds like you have a mess with the company you are supporting, every company I have worked with and supported has priorities on issues. If Rick came to me and said "Hey, I need you to look at my computer. Its running slow and I am getting this pop up window every morning when I log in." I would calmly say, "Rick I will get to it as soon as possible, but there is a employee that cannot WORK because their computer won't even power on." I don't think Rick is going to say "Thats BS FIX MY ISSUE NOW".......
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by:PaperTiger
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In reality, if Rick is the owner of the company, it would be totally different. add "obnoxious" to his personality, if you will.

I don't think there's priority employee, but i do think there's priority function such as customer service.
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by:dshroutait
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When you are the one to write the checks you expect to be priority, but if you are in the position to write checks, generally you know your ability to change your desktop background is less important than the server that is down that also has 50 employees down.

Your fighting an uphill battle where you are my friend, the best thing to do is go up the totem pole, have a meeting explaining your position and let THEM decide.
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by:PaperTiger
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i guess the problem is that they don't know. how can they? when they walk to your desk, are you going to show them the list of request in queue?
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JSoup earned 250 total points
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The question is really about how to approach a Executive management problem like this.

Reality ; No one likes change and no one wants to be told no, so you give them the option of saying no.

First and foremost, you need to set out IT policies. These policies need to be approved by the executive CEO.  Any change that could affect the business must always be approved by the CEO.  The policies now must define in a broad sense of priorities of the IT department.  {You can find IT policies that have already addressed this issue and are available free to download or for purchase)  
Enterprise companies use chargeback justified their workload.  Medium-size companies, and some small will use IT policies to determine the priorities and the type of work that is essential to their company.  When any request falls outside of those scopes.  they are usually chargeback to the requesting Department and the requesting department must provide approval first before work can begin.
The reality is that anything that you create now will take six to eight months or more to get approved, it will take that much time to basically develop policies and procedures for them.  Without a clear set of policies that your IT team can refer and the backing of the CEO, you are more than likely going to fail to make any changes and solve your problem.
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by:PaperTiger
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Thank. you articulated it very well. This is my thinking too.
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