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Seven Steps to Improved Incident Handling


Aug 2, 2006
By

Hank Marquis





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Choose script targets. Have the team identify a type of incident that “bounces” or routes back and forth between functional groups before resolutions, or Incidents the Service Desk does not handle well.

Document the script. Have the team develop questions and answers that gather enough data to accurately classify and route the incident. Be careful here—do not rely upon a technician's statements about what they do, instead watch them work and record what they do. Often, they are not conscious of what they really do.

Try out the script. Start a small test, perhaps giving the script to 25% of staff. Train them on how to use the script. Monitor its effectiveness against the original process. If the script is less effective than the existing process terminate the trial, identify what is wrong, tune it, and repeat.

Market the script. Keep management, staff, and customers aware of your activities. Describe how consistent data collection will speed and improve accuracy. If the target of your new script is a recognized “thorn” to the business, you have set yourself up for a quick win!

Roll out the script. After trialing the script and ensuring its utility, roll it out to all of service desk/incident management. You must monitor closely to ensure compliance, and there may be resistance at first, but staff will accept them if you make sure your scripts are crisp, concise, and effective.

Maintain the script. Scripts require constant maintenance and, at a minimum, require review prior to any major changes. Create reports that compare incident open code (script diagnosis) with incident close code. If you see differences—open and close code mismatches—then the script needs tuning.

This is usually for one of two reasons: the script is incorrect, or staff is not following the script. Regardless, you need to resolve the issue.

It does not matter if your scripting system is paper or software based, or whether it is in-house or out-sourced, carefully managed diagnostic scripts are your tickets to improved customer satisfaction and reduced IT workload.

Hank Marquis is a managing partner and CTO at itSM Solutions. You can contact Hank at hank.marquis@itsmsolutions.com.