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Support Software As An Agent For Change

An argument for companies sticking tightly to their support processes

27Jul

Support software is used to track support issues. Some companies use these internally so staff will submit issues to IT, and some use these to handle external requests from users.

When used internally, support software becomes more than software - it becomes a process.

Today I want to talk about how good, company wide adoption of a support process can become an agent for change within the company.

Some users hate the idea of a support desk. If they have a problem, they feel speaking to a person who could fix it directly will resolve the issue faster and allow everyone to continue on with their day.

There are several reasons why this is flawed thinking, lets focus in on what is lost when this happens.

Queueing and Logging

Before a task is completed it enters a queue. Normally this will take a handful of different forms, entering the system as an unassigned ticket then getting added to an individual’s or department’s queue of items to work on.

After a task is completed it will move to a new list which acts as a log of completed tasks.

There is huge business value in both of these lists.

The value for hiring additional people

Unless your company is of the size that justifies dedicated support teams for various roles, the chances are the person performing those duties will have other hats to wear.

When the person receiving support requests it face-to-face, in emails, on the phone, or anywhere else that isn’t the dedicated support channel, then it is almost impossible for them to make a case to management that they require extra resources.

Conversely, if everything is channeled through to the correct place, the case to management for extra resourcing writes itself.

The value for spotting training requirements

When asked the question “what training do you require”, very few people are going to say “I don’t know how to use my email client correctly”. People feel that if the training isn’t to do with their KPIs for the year, then it isn’t relevant.

With a queue of support tickets, we can see if one person is struggling with a particular concept, process, or program. This could be used to form a case for a particular type of training tailored to that one person.

Better still, trends between people and teams start to emerge, at some point it will become clear that the team or the company needs to engage in training for a particular concept, process, or program.

This could also show potential skills gaps within teams that might be better served with an additional hire.

The value for upgrading systems and equipment

One of the values of a log of completed support requests is that patterns start to emerge.

If someone is spending hours of their week clearing out old mailboxes to make space on the server because users are continually complaining about hitting limits, then if there is a log of this there is a clear case to buy the next level up with the email provider.

Likewise, if there is a clear pattern of a user or a group of users continually needing support for their computers, it might be time to evaluate if those machines are still fit for purpose.

All of this is lost if there isn’t a log of support tickets.

The value in reducing support times

Everyone is a unique snowflake, but their support queries will always fit in a bellcurve. This is why sharing of information between members of a support team is vital.

If someone has a really great way to quickly solve a particular problem you want this logged somewhere for other members to see when they are attempting to solve similar problems.

Any support software I have used allows for and actively encourages messages to be included when an issue is resolved. This is the perfect place to store this information, which will serve as an ever growing repository of knowledge as to the best way to help someone.

Conclusion

It is clear that I am in favour of companies using their internal support process properly, and hopefully I have convinced you of some of the benefits.

If you have an opinion on this topic please leave a comment below, or, you know, open a support ticket!

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