Aug 10th, 2009 by brislisp
An issue that has fostered much discussion in and around the hallways of the CIS offices lately is the client’s perception of response and resolution. I often think that clients feel that they are one in the same however those of us in the technology support field know they differ greatly. Client Support Services defines response as the amount of time (how long) it takes to receive and perform initial triage or replication of an issue or request, documenting findings into a ticket(work order) and forwarding to the correct staff member. CSS defines resolution as the time it takes the assigned technician to solve an issue or complete the request. So we can say that response time or Service Level can be relatively quick or in some cases instantaneous. Now there will be times when requests are received outside of our service hours and those will have to be addressed the next business day. However resolution usually cannot be guaranteed, and only sometimes can be accurately estimated.
Sure there are times when we can guarantee how long it will take to complete a task. For example, a call comes into the service center help desk and the client states that their monitor isn’t working. It’s got power, and it is on the correct input however there is no image. The monitor is an older model so when the technician get’s the ticket they decide to just replace it. They call the client and tell them that they will be there with a replacement in five minutes. So that’s it, done deal right? The technician was able to tell the client that the issue would be resolved (Resolution) in five minutes. Not so fast, let’s take it a little further. The technician puts the new monitor in and it’s acting the same way, getting power set to the correct input but no image. The technician had forgotten to bring a new video cable, so figuring it must be the cable they run back to their office for another one. The new cable doesn’t work either so the technician decides to connect their notebook pc to the external monitor to see just what the issue is. Both monitors display beautifully with either cable. The technician is left with only one point of failure, the pc itself. So now after 40 minutes the technician has to cart the client’s pc off to the repair center.
On our campus many staff PC’s are no longer under warranty and most of them have integrated video cards so now we’re talking about installing another machine moving files and installing software and OS patches. This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on what needs to be installed, and if there is a machine on the shelf ready to go. So our 5 minute fix has turned out to be a 2 or 3 hour deployment. This is no fault of the technician, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
Now at SUNY Delhi, we are much more efficient at swapping out machine and it’s doubtful it would take our technicians that long to diagnose a bad video card. I’ve probably over simplified but I wanted to try and make clear that resolutions are almost never instantaneous situations. I could have used a network connectivity outage as an example as well. The same principals apply: Is the outage localized, is it the PC, the cable to the wall, the cable in the building, the switch, the router or any number of other things. None of these issues can be resolved without a systematic troubleshooting approach and that will take time.
So if you call our helpdesk be certain that we’re asking all of those questions to better serve the client and improve our response, and all of the pertinent information that we receive will assist the technician with finding a resolution.