IT Employment

General discussion


Help Desk Topics List and Self-Diagnosis

By fractalzoom ·
My group is presently in the early stages of planning a Help Desk software implementation. We've started building the all-important topic list for tickets, trying to organize and categorize all the different types of issues with which we are presented.

Knowing that there will be a user self-help web page, where users can create their own Help Desk tickets, some questions are emerging about how this topic list should be constructed. On the one hand, a very detailed list is obviously necessary from the IT side because we need to be able to categorize and report on each issue type. Also, this detailed list will allow the HD software to route self-service tickets to the appropriate IT group based on the category the user selects. But, here's the issue: a detailed list imposes a degree of self-diagnosis on the user, and we can't necessarily expect users to know which category to pick. Janie in Finance just knows that when she points to this thingie on her screen and clicks her mouse, this other screen is supposed to appear where she enters her receivables, but it's not doing what it's supposed to -- she doesn't have a clue whether it's a software, hardware or network issue, and forcing her to choose from a detailed list is just frustrating and confusing.

So on the one hand, the more closely a user can specify the problem the more we can leverage the HD software's automation -- but on the other hand, users are being called on to pre-troubleshoot their problem, and as a result the ticket may get sent to Networking when in fact it needs to go to Applications Support. Do we give the Self Help page a dumbed-down problem list, and lose the HD software's routing and automation for those tickets? There's a balance to be reached, and I'd like to know how other organizations have dealt with finding that balance.


This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Just ask them what they were using when the problem arose

by darci.r.thompson In reply to Help Desk Topics List and ...

As long as your Help Desk software does not require your user to determine which support group is supposed to help him or her, solicit information based on his or her level.

The SCIM method supports this. (System, Component, Item, Module)
S - System
User, what system were you using? (Choices: Software? Hardware? Telecom? Office Services?

For this example, assume the person selects
Software, then present ONLY the list of software applications to that person in alphabetical order (NOT the type of software, but the actual name of the software. Don't list "MS Office Suite", list PowerPoint, Word, Excel". DON'T list "ERP" list the actual name of the ERP.)
*Once the user selects the application, you could have a few conditional/branching fields appear (ie: Select Outlook, offer selection of email, Calendar, Task..., Select SAP Accounting, offer selection of AR, AP, GL or user defined... try not to present this branching/conditional logic to the user unless you really need additional info from them to route the ticket or link to KnowledgeBase articles)

Assuming that the user selected Outlook, give the user a "Let me tell you in English/Ala carte menu presentation" to help them organize their thoughts and tell you what type of need/problem they have (It will appear kind of funky me and I'll give you a better layout):

?I need new software or a new feature within an existing application

?I have the software, but need it to be set up or settings modified

?I am having problems logging in or accessing data
oSecurity, Login and Access

?I need help using some of the features of the application
oFeatures/Functions (How do I ________?)

?Help! Having problems. Functions that worked before have stopped working.

?I no longer need this software, but may need to preserve the data.

Assume the consumer selected Troubleshooting, then next screen (Module) would be:

Please, tell us more about your problem. Select all that apply from the list below And/Or write in the notes section

Summary of Problem/Need
?Can?t open the application
?Cannot print from within THIS application
?Cannot find/access data for this application

Full Description of Problem/Need:

Please email me directly at if you are interested in this approach and I can share more materials.

Related Discussions

Related Forums