IT Policies

Improve customer service by issuing smartphones to techs

Scott Lowe discusses his quest for a new help desk system with a mobile app that will help his staff stay connected and productive.

I've been on the hunt for a brand spankin' new help desk ticketing system at Westminster College. As a part of our search, we're looking for a system that either includes a native mobile app for iPhones or a mobile support site that is well-formatted for use on mobile devices.

The goal: Improve customer service and decrease stress on techs.

We're a small group with only two people dedicated to help desk support. The rest of the team also has major support responsibility, but they aren't on the front line answering the constantly ringing phone. Of course, this creates a special set of challenges, since these same people have both project work and support responsibilities to pay attention to.

We're also an 8 to 5 operation, but as a college with a significant residential population, there are needs that arise after hours and on weekends. We don't generally constantly review new help desk tickets as they arrive during the off hours, because during that time, no one is tied to a computer.

However, all of my staff have iPhones, most of which were provisioned by the college. We do have an on-call schedule that helps us address the aforementioned after hours support needs that may arise. Our on-call scheduling isn't limited to just our two help desk people -- the whole staff, myself included, is on the rotation.

Once we move to our new help desk system (and again, we'll select one that has an available mobile app), the same on-call person will be responsible for reviewing tickets that come in to determine whether or not the request requires immediate attention. For example, a network down situation definitely requires immediate attention, whereas someone having difficulty saving a file to a flash drive does not.

The mobile app will enable the on-call person to stay current with tickets without having to stay tethered to a computer.

Further, even during working hours, a mobile app can be a productivity boon. As techs make their rounds handling requests, rather than come back to home base, they can check the app to make sure that there are no other requests in their immediate vicinity.

Is any of this particularly revolutionary? Not really. However, it does demonstrate some of the support benefits that can be had when staff are issues smartphones with the right back-end solution.

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

9 comments
diman75
diman75

Besides, as it was pointed out by some here, who is going to need a ticketing system then, so far Octopus has been doing a great job for me.

diman75
diman75

The goal: Improve customer service and decrease stress on techs. Actually it will only increase stress on techs.

Jake Bigley
Jake Bigley

FocalScope Help Desk Ticketing & Live Chat Software[ http://www.focalscope.com ] will more than cover your particular needs. We have been using it a while now as our main help desk system and we???re very happy with the results. It has a mobile app for iPhone/Pad & android devices which directly links to the central server. We are using the self-hosted version as we wanted our data in house, but they have a cloud solution too. Anyone of us on mobile can quickly check in on new tickets and distribute them to techs out in the field. The system is really solid with many features (of which mobile is just 1) and the interface is fast and intuitive, by far the best looking web based help desk out there. I absolutely recommend it.

jasonshuttlesworth
jasonshuttlesworth

I am a Network Admin for a medium sized corp. We have four full time helpdesk personnel and we use Spiceworks for our heldpesk solution. It is free and constantly updated. Definately worth a look. #my2cents

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

I work in an area of thirty buildings in an area of three square mailes. I have a notebook I've used since the early 90's, keeping up with the advances every other year with a new model. I have access to onsite phones so the caller ID hasn't become a problem. My calls are dispatched through our system to my notebook on a wireless network. A connection to the clients network would be better but in most cases, the users unit is inoperable so leaving e-mail is not an option. I don't carry a cell phone, just the notebook. All communication is originated by me to the dispatch office and their contact with me is through the network only. I prefer it that way, no interuptions until I'm ready and no electronic leash to deal with. The best system ever.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I have to agree with the above post you need to block the numbers of these phones as the Techs will be overrun with calls for ever. Given half a chance end users will call a Tech Direct rather than go through the system and if they think that they are cutting the Bureaucracy even a little the Ticketing System will simply stop being used as the Techs will be getting the calls directly. The second is related to Smart Phones and just how secure that they are not. Look here for a Article on this which TR as yet hasn't caught up with. ;) http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/discussions/102-347393?tag=content;siu-container Col

OurITLady
OurITLady

but you do need to be careful how you implement it. As long as the number the user calls doesn't belong to the techs (e.g. you call forward the central number) then you are probably safe, I'd also suggest blocking callerID on the outgoing calls. If the end user community get the number of a tech they can call direct then they almost always will, leading to a distinct issue for your techs and their "work/life balance". My department does allow the end user community to have access to our cell phone numbers, as a result I've been called overnight, evenings and weekends (I'm not designated as on-call) and, while the majority are very reasonable about it, people occasionally get upset when I don't respond until the next business day. I have even had calls while overseas on vacation, resulting in some very expensive voicemails for some. We do have a central service desk number, which is staffed by an external call centre out of core hours, they will contact the designated on-call tech for emergencies, however once people get a name and contact details I've found they will bypass the system and call direct as often as possible.......

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Must be the site hiding things way too fast yet again. :( Col

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