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General Desktop Support question - Which user to attend to first?

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General Desktop Support question - Which user to attend to first?

Wagggy
This is probably an easy one but I got caught out by a question in an interview a few months back, for an IT helpdesk/desktop support role.

They asked: When several calls/jobs are logged, which should you attend to first?

I was torn between which ever technical problem I believed had the most negative effect to the operation of the business, and those jobs that had been logged first.

I chose the former, though im still not sure what the correct answer should have been - In my current position I just attend to jobs as they are handed to me by the help desk staff.
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    OldER Mycroft

    If you don't adhere to the 'First Come, First Served' rule - you could end up with a trivial problem being constantly put back to the end of the line by other, more business-detrimental, problems.

    Some users would be very happy and some extremely p1ssed off.

    In the actual event it would have to be a meld of the two regimes. There is no definitive answer but also no correct answer. I'd have thrown the question back to the interviewer after a non-determinate answer, when they mimicked your answer you'd know you were in the clear.

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    elmagoal

    There is no correct answer.
    But, the question is designed to figure out the way you think and whether or not you are a bronw noser or not.
    In the real world, mission critical issues always go before other issues. Issues that affect multiple users go before single user issues. The key is to let the single user know that he is next in your list due to a big issue and to make sure you get to his issue before something else melts.

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    Mehul Bhai

    Again Zombie Alert!!!

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    h.sherzad

    Well in well formed organizations these things are usually cleared out by job descriptions.
    but again if you have a system thats critical at time then it should have priority, like in a server vs. a malfunctioning printer (DUH!):D

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    JamesRL

    Priority A) major disruption to the business, key processes affected, large number of users affected

    Priority B) Major disruption to a department or individual, smaller number of individuals affected, moderate impact to the business

    Priority c) Individual issue, disruption, no workarounds

    Priority d) individual issue, workaround available

    Thats the way I used to work, the priority was set by the help desk, and we would feed abck to them if they set it wrong.

    As for first come first served, generally the first A comes first etc.

    Because this isn't as simple as first come first served you have to become a bit of a diplomat. And you also have to be proactive about communications. You will find people are much more patient if you call them first and reset the expectation.

    James

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    szlzezezpzzz

    This is a time management question! Time is money and a companies first goal is money. I would have answered this question by analyzing each type of problem and working out a way to neatly piece them together in a way that makes logical sense. desktop support is also strictly a customer service position...all of IT is actually. EVERY customer is important. they all do certain jobs that help the company, so singling certain people out is not the way to go though some are more important to fix than others. but that is definitely a time management question.

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    Mehul Bhai

    The original post is more than 2 years old.

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    unhappyuser

    I use the Emergency Room triage method most of the time. The guy with the heart attack gets precedence over the broken leg or the person with the flu.

    If none of them are labeled "serious" I work on those that will take the least amount of time. I see solving several issues in the same amount of time as compared to one, much more productive.

    The other issue is whether the person is management or not. The big boss will pull his/her weight on even the simplest of issues even if others are more urgent. That one is a pain but anyone that's been in this line of work sees it pretty early on.

    EMD

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    Mehul Bhai

    Once Again Zombie Alert!!!

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    OldER Mycroft

    If you don't adhere to the 'First Come, First Served' rule - you could end up with a trivial problem being constantly put back to the end of the line by other, more business-detrimental, problems.

    Some users would be very happy and some extremely p1ssed off.

    In the actual event it would have to be a meld of the two regimes. There is no definitive answer but also no correct answer. I'd have thrown the question back to the interviewer after a non-determinate answer, when they mimicked your answer you'd know you were in the clear.

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    0 Votes
    elmagoal

    There is no correct answer.
    But, the question is designed to figure out the way you think and whether or not you are a bronw noser or not.
    In the real world, mission critical issues always go before other issues. Issues that affect multiple users go before single user issues. The key is to let the single user know that he is next in your list due to a big issue and to make sure you get to his issue before something else melts.

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    Mehul Bhai

    Again Zombie Alert!!!

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    h.sherzad

    Well in well formed organizations these things are usually cleared out by job descriptions.
    but again if you have a system thats critical at time then it should have priority, like in a server vs. a malfunctioning printer (DUH!):D

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    1 Votes
    JamesRL

    Priority A) major disruption to the business, key processes affected, large number of users affected

    Priority B) Major disruption to a department or individual, smaller number of individuals affected, moderate impact to the business

    Priority c) Individual issue, disruption, no workarounds

    Priority d) individual issue, workaround available

    Thats the way I used to work, the priority was set by the help desk, and we would feed abck to them if they set it wrong.

    As for first come first served, generally the first A comes first etc.

    Because this isn't as simple as first come first served you have to become a bit of a diplomat. And you also have to be proactive about communications. You will find people are much more patient if you call them first and reset the expectation.

    James

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    szlzezezpzzz

    This is a time management question! Time is money and a companies first goal is money. I would have answered this question by analyzing each type of problem and working out a way to neatly piece them together in a way that makes logical sense. desktop support is also strictly a customer service position...all of IT is actually. EVERY customer is important. they all do certain jobs that help the company, so singling certain people out is not the way to go though some are more important to fix than others. but that is definitely a time management question.

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    Mehul Bhai

    The original post is more than 2 years old.

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    unhappyuser

    I use the Emergency Room triage method most of the time. The guy with the heart attack gets precedence over the broken leg or the person with the flu.

    If none of them are labeled "serious" I work on those that will take the least amount of time. I see solving several issues in the same amount of time as compared to one, much more productive.

    The other issue is whether the person is management or not. The big boss will pull his/her weight on even the simplest of issues even if others are more urgent. That one is a pain but anyone that's been in this line of work sees it pretty early on.

    EMD

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    0 Votes
    Mehul Bhai

    Once Again Zombie Alert!!!