Monday, March 10, 2014

Notes from the Second Tier

people with headsets, and a banner saying "support"
Your Help Desk Team
That's second tier support to the NLU Help Desk. 1-866-813-1177

I am an instructional designer, one of a team of currently four instructional designers and analysts in the Academic Computing department. On top of our ID duties we also provide training, open lab support, and individual consultations to faculty. And we provide second tier support to the NLU help desk in  matters that directly involve our LMS, Desire2Learn.

If you open a help desk ticket, very often the technician who takes your call can work with you to solve your problem. Other times, depending on the nature of the problem, the type of information needed from NLU technical and academic offices, the level of authority needed to resolve a problem, or the amount of assistance required by the caller, a ticket will be created and triaged to the appropriate group for second-tier support. Sometimes that is my group, sometimes "Desktop Services", sometimes the "Portal Group". Sometimes various groups in OIT and on the academic side of the house collaborate to solve a caller’s problem. Occasionally the triage process can be frustrating because you spend time giving information that you are not certain is relevant, but usually it results in the correct assignment of your ticket. If not, when we receive a mis-assigned ticket, we quickly move it forward to the correct group.

But why go through that? Why call help desk when you see that RenĂ©e is in her office, or that Nicole is right on top of the email? And you know Suzanna, she's helped you before. Oh wait, did you save the number of that nice young man who installed your new software? Or maybe don’t call OIT at all, maybe one of our wonderfully sharp and helpful administrative assistants will solve youe problem. And if not, they probably know a real person in OIT.  A face you know is better than a stranger, right?

Wrong. Your personal OIT contact might be traveling to another campus, running one of those frequent training sessions, or doing work that can’t be interrupted, so your request could go unheeded for a time. This happens fairly often, with student and instructor frustration building during the delay. If, on the other hand, you call the help desk and your ticket is escalated to the “second tier”, you will receive assistance from the first person who is available and equipped to assist you. Not only have you given yourself the best chance of a timely resolution, the ticket created in the process becomes part of a data set that is analyzed in order to identify trends or systematic problems. And you get to review how well we helped you when your problem is resolved.

But surely not every D2L problem is a help desk call, is it? Maybe not, but once you have used our D2L self-help resources, the help desk is almost always the next place to go.

What about calling the help desk for someone else? Wouldn’t that be a helpful thing to do for a busy student or instructor? Not really. It is almost always important to have the person with the problem on the phone and available to provide information.

So, to recap.
An instructor has a problem in D2L? The instructor calls the help desk 1-866-813-1177 or uses D2L help for instructors, and/or checks out the training schedule, just-in-time support, and more online.
A student has a problem in D2L? The student calls the help desk 1-866-813-1177, uses D2L help for students, and/or checks out the support available on the NLU Website.

And that’s all there is to it.

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