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Best Practices

HelpSU is Stanford University's online request tracking system, and is used by schools, departments and central offices as the principal way to track user service requests and service interruptions, as well as general questions. The application powering HelpSU is BMC Remedy's Service Desk 7.01 (go live February 18, 2008) with its Incident Management, Problem Management and Service Level Management modules.

Remedy Help Desk Incidents are managed from the time a request is submitted by a client to the time the request is resolved.

To achieve the goal of a consistent use of the application across the entire campus, this document sets forth a common set of expectations. Many of these expectations are enforced by the application itself in order to ensure consistency.

Each individual user of HelpSU will:

Understand how to use the application

  • Be familiar with the basic features of the system, via a training session or by accessing the user job aids on the HelpSU for Support Staff site
  • Be aware of and use the specified case statuses (see below)
  • Be aware of the various notification options (see below)
  • Work to promptly address the customer issue and record such work accurately on the Incident record.

Manage cases appropriately for excellent client service

  • Update cases regularly (daily is optimal) with status and activities underway. This is extremely valuable to other support staff who might be called to step in to assist. Use an entry on the Work Info tab to record what is being done/what actions are being taken (summarizing conversations with the client, actions taken, suggestions given)
  • Use a Work Activity entry marked Work Info Type "Status Update" with View Access set "Public" to create an entry which customers will be able to query for the status of their own requests.
  • Use the Email function to communicate with the client via email. Such emails become a permanent part of the Incident record automatically on the Work Info tab.
  • Use the Current Assignee Effort Time field (on the Assignment tab) to record work time. Time spent should include all aspects of the time spent resolving the issue: phone time, research time, consulting-with-others time, time to record actions in the case, etc.
  • Make sure that the classification of the Incident in either the Operational or Product Catalogs (Classification tab) is accurate to the request as it is used for University-wide activity reporting.
  • Use the Resolution field (on the Resolution tab) to provide a brief explanation of the resolution to each case. NOTE: "See work log" is insufficient - a recap of the actual resolution should be placed in the Resolution section.
  • To request new or revised Operational or Product Catalog entries, submit a HelpSU request.

When necessary, re-queue a case

  • When reassigning a case to another Support Group:
    • Indicate the reason for the re-queuing by an entry on the Work Info tab, along with any additional information, troubleshooting or actions taken.
    • If appropriate, re-set the Classification in either the Operational or Product Catalogs to be as accurate as possible.
    • Select one of the Assignment options ("Set assignment using…") on the Assignment tab:
      • Auto Assign will automatically assign the Incident record to a support group based on its classification and, in certain cases, the customer's Organization and Department.
      • Incidents can be manually assigned by leaving the "Set assignment using" field blank, and simply navigating the Support Organization menu to reach the Support Group you want.
      • "My Group List" pulls up a table of the groups to which the logged-in support staff is a member.
      • "Favorite Group(s)" can pull of a table of frequently-used groups - which are set in place by a Support Group Lead. Each Support Group is asked to establish that role for their group.

Each group will:

  • Make accurate use of the Operational and Product catalog menus to categorize the nature of the incident
  • Assign a Support Group Lead (see separate document for Support Group Lead Responsibilities and Capabilities)
  • Respond to escalations when they are sent
  • Re-assign Incidents as necessary
  • Manage its unresolved Incidents to promptly address customers needs. Support Group Leads will be sent a weekly recap of unresolved Incidents older than 5 business days to assist in task.

HelpSU incident statuses:

  • Cases are NEW when they are in the process of being created.
  • Cases become ASSIGNED immediately after creation, when a specific Support Group has been assigned to the case. Case are also ASSIGNED when an individual takes responsibility for handling the request. They put their name on the case and commit to resolving it.
  • Cases are IN PROGRESS when the support staff begins active effort.
  • Cases are put in PENDING when work is awaiting client availability, a future scheduled visit, a hardware part, etc. Support staff can use the "Status Reason" field to clearly indicate why an Incident is PENDING.
  • Cases are RESOLVED when the Consultant has fixed the problem or advised the client of the answer to their question.
  • Cases are CLOSED when the client acknowledges that the problem is resolved, or (automatically) 7 days after being marked RESOLVED. When you set a case to CLOSED that suppresses the automatic "Your case has been resolved" email to clients. HOWEVER, note that once a case is CLOSED it cannot be reopened. It can be updated in various other regards, but never re-opened.
  • Cases can also be marked CANCELLED if the client resolves the issue themselves and no longer needs assistance.

HelpSU case notification options:

Individual notifications when a case is assigned to a Group/Individual:

  • None (user must login to HelpSU to see cases)
  • Email
  • Email text sent to Pager
  • Email text sent to Cell Phone
  • Any combination of Email/Pager/Cell Phone

Individuals or Groups should submit a HelpSU request for changes to notification options.

Questions and comments:

Any questions or comments about this document or about the HelpSU (BMC Remedy Service Desk 7.01) application should be submitted via a HelpSU request.

Last modified July 12, 2011