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III Service Issues

Fred Gertler, Santa Clara University

Note from Fred Gertler: The themes that seem to be the strongest are the high expectations that are held for the Web as a communications medium, a growing interest in a more active role for the Team Leader, and the mechanics of the Help Desk operations. I would argue that these comments support the evidence that the quality of customer service at Innovative has consistently improved over the last two years, and that the changes that are proposed are more in the nature of fine-tuning, rather than radical realignment.

Communication: Some Innovative, Some Local

Users should be notified of known bugs and solutions, including modules other than WebPAC.

There should be a way to distribute general bug fix and development information to users. Could the Innovative web site be used for this?

Web-based database of service calls should include closed calls as well as open ones.

Innovative should participate on the listserv. The listserv is a useful way for users to get information on system problems.

Some sites do not circulate paper mailings well. Can Innovative post dates and topics of paper mailings on their web site so that interested users can ask local contacts for a copy?

Time To Completion of Requests

What is a reasonable length of time for completion of a project "sent to programming?"

What is a reasonable time frame for attention to non-urgent calls?

When users request technical information on new products, sales refers calls to technical staff. These calls sometimes get lost. Are they tracked in any way? What is a reasonable time frame for resolution?

Bug Fixes/Enhancements

What is the difference between the process for bug fixes and for enhancements? When are calls that result in either bug fixes or enhancements closed, and how is it decided to close them?

Why are calls closed when Innovative determines that they are to be treated as "enhancements" requests? How is this communicated?

Team Leader

What is the role of the team leader?

It would be helpful if the team leader would:

Is there a method to periodically refresh local contact data to remove names of staff who have left or been reassigned?

Is it one-way or two-ways (active or passive)?

What does the team leader do/initiate on the user's behalf?

Team leaders should be aware of calls that remain open at their sites and follow up on them.

Team leaders should be aware of unique configurations at their sites and be available to interpret local needs for Innovative staff.

How does a user find out who the team leader for his/her site is?

Innovative should notify users when a team leader leaves the company.

How many calls to Innovative asking for progress reports on an open call are too many? When should a user seek assistance from a team leader? What is a reasonable number of calls or time frame?

Is the team leader supposed to make pro-active calls to contact sites? Initial mailings about the team leader concept said this but subsequent ones did not.

Help Desk

New help desk staff need better training or back-up.

Help desk coverage should include knowledgeable staff during all hours of operation.

When communicating with the help desk, what is the best way to express priorities or urgency? How does Innovative interpret urgency? The new web form to open a call will include an opportunity to state urgency.

Innovative needs to improve internal communications regarding incident reports where the user is asked to "call back when it's happening." Users find that calls made "when it's happening" are often not handled knowledgeably.

Users are asked to express priority of calls in terms of numbers of records or processes involved. Priority should be expressed in terms of impact on users, not numbers.

How does the help desk triage calls? How are priorities assigned?

Weekend help desk staff should be trained to work with non-expert local staff, and should avoid jargon or terminology known only to sysadmin staff.

Users report a need for better follow-through on early morning calls left on voice mail. Has the call been received and put in a queue?

There should be more than one staff member on the help desk on night and weekend hours.

Should there be different help desks for/in different geographic regions?

A benchmark, such as one hour, should be established for assignment of voice mail and e-mail calls to a staff member.

Q&A calls should be referred to experts quickly.

How are incoming calls routed? Does Innovative treat e-mail and phone calls (and now web forms) differently? Is there a preferred method for opening a call?

Complex calls should be given careful consideration in order to assign them to a staff member best qualified to answer.

Many users prefer e-mail to paper mail. Can Innovative use e-mail for their informational mailings if a user so prefers?

Empowering The End User

Can users self-install mid-release upgrades and bug fixes?

Does the help desk attempt to educate users about things users could fix themselves?

Could the Innovative web site be used as a distribution method for bug fixes (e.g. if a user was interested in a fix he/she would go to the site and download it)?

Recorded by: Cecilia Tittemore, Dartmouth College

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