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When Is a Help Desk Call an Emergency?

When Is a Help Desk Call an Emergency?

by Stephanie Faris on Monday, August 08 6:00

In a fast food society, consumers have grown accustomed to having what they want when they want it. If you work in a job that requires you to help those consumers, you likely notice the impatience this has created. This is especially true when someone has a computer issue. When something malfunctions and it gets in the way of getting work done, those consumers will often expect immediate help. Even one hour will feel like a lifetime.

Unfortunately, today s efficient help desks operate with the minimum number of employees they need to serve customers on a typical day. Ticket traffic can be extremely unpredictable, but companies can t afford to have enough employees on hand to cover the busiest day. Instead, most help desks use a priority system with high priority tickets getting same-day responses and other tickets sometimes requiring a one- to two-day wait depending on a variety of factors. Here are a few things to consider when determining ticket urgency.

Urgency by Impact

The biggest reason to make an issue top priority is when an entire department or building is down. This largely involves your server support staff, but your help desk workers may be needed to help by being present in the affected area to test individual workstations. When this type of call comes in, all other tickets will often be set aside until service is restored to all employees. High-impact tickets can also include a big meeting where a PowerPoint presentation is inaccessible, since a large number of users and/or clients may be affected.

Urgency by User

In concept, you may not completely agree with it but it s unavoidable: some end users will be marked higher priority based solely on their position within your company. If the CEO can t log in, it will likely automatically be marked urgent merely because the CEO determines whether your help desk exists or not. You may even decide to send someone in person to make sure everything goes smoothly once you ve unlocked the account and reset the password. An HR person who needs to process paychecks or pay bills may also be marked urgent due to the nature of that person s work.

Urgency by Nature of Problem

Once those factors are eliminated from the equation, urgency is determined by the severity of the issue. An end user whose hard drive crashed will likely need to at least be set up to log in elsewhere until the issue is repaired. A ticket involving an emergency where an employee can t print or find a certain shortcut might be marked medium or low priority, giving your technicians a little extra time to resolve the problem.

Your ticketing system should be set up to require a set turnaround time on incidents, even if that time is one or two days depending on the reality of your environment. If a ticket isn t resolved within that timeframe, the incident should be escalated to someone who can either follow up with the employee or take care of the issue. Without this type of system in place, help desks can quickly find that end users complain about the slow service.

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