How do I interact with the 501tech team so that I receive the best possible technical support?
501tech is a donor funded (not for profit) technology support organization serving Oklahoma nonprofits. Approximately 55% of our operating budget comes from some of the same funders who so generously support our client organizations. Because our clients only bare 45% of our costs, sustaining the program requires that our service delivery protocol be highly efficient. This document describes our approach to that and the implications for both our staff and clients.
SERVICE DESK OVERVIEW
The purpose of any service desk is to streamline and automate the dialogue between the person requiring assistance and the technician assigned to provide that assistance. The service desk also provides a fully transparent measurement of performance for the partnership. In any support arrangement, both the party requiring and the party providing assistance ultimately determine the effectiveness of the service. The 501tech service desk is based on a third-party, web based product called FreshService (helpdesk.501tech.net). Once a ticket is opened, the client is automatically notified by email of status changes or requests for additional information from the assigned technician. The client can respond to request for additional information by simply replying to the ticket status updates received via email. All interactions and status changes are captured within the ticket history for future reference. Once a status change or interaction occurs, it cannot be erased from the work log and thus remains the permanent record of performance for that particular ticket. The most effective service request process occurs when the client and the technician partner together to resolve a problem.
THE CLIENT / TECHNICIAN PROTOCOL
The 501tech staff strives to resolve most service requests remotely and we employ various technologies that enable this approach. With the client’s assistance, this is possible for 60% to 70% of tickets. In most cases, the 501tech staff will attempt to get the additional information by interacting with the client through the service desk software. There are of course situations where the simplest and quickest way to exchange the necessary information is by phone and in these cases the technician will either place a call or ask the client to provide a convenient time for the call. Because 501tech staff is focused on efficiency and support many clients (our staff of eleven supports 2,500 nonprofit PCs), we rarely provide our contact information. In lieu of that, we will make repeated attempts to reach the client or to schedule a time to talk which is convenient to the client’s schedule.
Each ticket is automatically assigned a priority and due date based on the service request type chosen by the client. These due dates are based on the service level agreements contained in the Service Agreement executed with the client organization. There are five priorities: 1) standard service requests should be resolved in no more than 5 business days; 2) medium service requests should be resolved in no more than three business days; 3) high service requests should be resolved in no more than two days; and 4) urgent service requests should be resolved in no more than 12 hours. However, in most cases tickets will be resolved much more quickly.
THE TECHNICIAN’S ROLE
The 501tech technician is responsible for assessing the request, gathering any additional information required from the client, responding promptly to client requests for status, and closing the ticket within the service level agreement window. In cases where the service level agreement will be missed, the technician is responsible for communicating this fact as well as the circumstances behind the delay and a detailed plan for resolving the issue. The technician is also responsible for documenting the attempts to reach the client in the ticket work log.
THE CLIENT’S ROLE
The client is responsible for describing the issue or need as well as the circumstances in adequate detail, and for responding promptly to technician requests for additional information or for scheduling requests for phone calls to discuss a request. Tickets are always resolved more quickly when there is a responsive dialogue between the client and technician. Conversely, delays are unavoidable when the client is too busy to assist with resolution of the issue.
For more information on how to open a ticket, please see FAQ-003N Opening a Ticket.