In IT we tend to get a lot of problems raised(Calls) where the information provided is insufficient or inappropriate for the solution of the problem. This often leads to extended resolution times due to having to fill in the background information on a problem before even starting to look for a solution. This isn’t just inefficient its poor customer service to have to contact the customer to fill in details on a problem they have raised. While we IT staff are guilty ourselves for not providing sufficient logging of errors, even the best logging of errors is only an aid to a user generated call.
Lets look at simple non-technical example (I’ll post a more detailed study later in this document.)
"I had just been grocery shopping. I tried to open the door to the kitchen, but the handle didn’t work.”
Possible Problems Raised (Calls)
"Unable to put shopping in fridge.” "Unable to get through door.” "Handle broke on door to IT Kitchen.”
As you can see the quality of the calls can change wildly from being nothing to do with the actual problem, to very helpful.
If we look at the first call "Unable to put shopping in fridge.” It may look silly but from the users point of view this is the actual problem. They can’t get to the fridge to put their shopping into it. It will however lead to a highly inefficient solution process.
Firstly there is no information about which fridge the user is unable to access. So more data will have to be gathered, either by contacting the user again or checking which fridges the user has access to and checking them all. Once they know which fridge, they can than send their fridge specialist to take a look. Once on site he will find that the real problem is with the door to the kitchen. This will than be reassigned to a locksmith who in turn will have to visit the site at a later date.
When raising a call you should follow the following guidelines.
Try to be specific about the problem you had, Superfluous, non-related or demographic information will only confuse and slow the problem solving process.
Describe exactly what you were doing when the problem occurred, (but keep it task related they don’t need to know you was drinking a brew.)
Be detailed in your description of the actual problem. Every bit of information about the problem is one bit of information the problem solver doesn’t have to find or ask you about at a later date. To you it might be that you got an error while saving a record, to them it may be that the button you pressed to save didn’t work properly.
Always give reference numbers, where available.
Give a time and date for the problem, as accurately as you can.
So next I’ll give a detailed technical example to illustrate the differing levels. You will be surprised the number of calls I have received of type 1 & 2. Mostly calls fall into types 4-7 and this does tend to increase overheads to problem resolution. (I have never received a type 10 or better call and have only received a handful of 9s. Situation
While in the company’s HR system, a user is amending absence records so that the monthly absence can be created. They are adding an occurrence of absence for employee 100001. When they save the record they get an error message. The error message reads "Exception 27 during insert of Absence Record”.
Now there is a spectrum of ways in which this problem could be raised. Each of them having impact on the efficiency of the problem resolution. Here are some examples and the problems with each.
Very low Efficiency
1. "I got an error.” 2. "Can’t run monthly Absence Reports.” 3. "I was in the hr system and got an Error” 4. "I was in the absence module of the HR system and got an error.” 5. "I was adding an absence and got an Error.” 6. "I had entered a new absence record. When I tried to save it I got an error.” 7. "I had entered a new absence record. When I tried to save it I got the error Exception 27 during insert of Absence Record.” 8. "I had entered a new absence record for employee number 1000001. When I tried to save it I got the error Exception 27 during insert of Absence Record.” 9. "I had entered a new absence record for employee number 1000001. When I tried to save it I got the error Exception 27 during insert of Absence Record. This error occurred on the 12th July at 1pm.” 10. "I had entered a new absence record for employee number 1000001. I put the following information in…………..When I clicked the "save” button at the top right hand corner I got the error Exception 27 during insert of Absence Record. This error occurred on the 12th July at 1pm.”
As you can see the difference a few important facts make to a call can be amazing. By providing the information that someone needs to tackle your problem straight away you are ensure your problem is fixed as soon as possible. The only problem being that the first time you log a type ten call, they’ll probably be so awed by the detail they sit and admire it for a while.