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.