Logging the same call 300 times is no help to anyone

When you swamp the help desk with repeats of the same call, they will spend more time closing tickets than fixing problems.

Following on from my last posting, where I described the reasons for using the helpdesk to log calls, we had a bit of a run on help desk tickets this week.

The PDA phones that we use in the field run a call notification program that displays the customer details and allows us to call them to announce our arrival time.

It has been set up to allow us to call the number from within the application, simply by tapping on the phone number field. This works well, provided that the number has been entered in the correct format, either preceded with a 9 or in international format, for UK numbers called from a mobile phone that is placing +44 in front of the number and removing the zero that is the first digit of all UK numbers.

If the zero isn’t removed it won’t work. We have complained time without number that the numbers are being logged with the zero still in place but nothing seems to have been done.

Again the message came back that there was no paper trail for the problem so we set about logging all the incorrectly keyed call logs and flooded the poor long suffering help desk with dozens of trivial calls each day. There was little they could do but at least there is now a spreadsheet that shows the information. Apparently an employee can’t be believed but a spreadsheet, drawn out in a variety of formats including pie charts, bar charts and a summary box can be believed and acted upon.

In this instance, where the fault was known and had been reported before we were putting an unfair load on the help desk, particularly given that the error rate was about 60%, there was little point in logging each individual work ticket. What was needed was a memo to the call loggers asking them to take care with the details and explaining the need for this small but important detail to be taken care of.

The help desk has had many more calls to clear, there are numerous non-compliances logged against our call takers, a situation that has not helped their morale or working atmosphere.

We have had the extra burden of stopping between each call, cutting and pasting the numbers or dialling them manually, spending hours calling the help desk and everyone has lost time. So it seems that, having made the case for using the help desk to log everything I am now advocating the complete opposite.

Well, not exactly. Maybe we should have created one help desk ticket and merely added to it each time a detail was found to be wrong. There’s a good case for this, it is the same fault each time, the solution is the same in every case. I suppose my real message is that you should exploit one of the key skills of the help desk, namely its versatility. The fact that an issue has been raised and recorded should be enough.