It’s possible that I arrived at the title of this article after a breakfast which consisted of a doughnut (ok two) and two cups of coffee. Regardless, it reminded me of the importance of service desk ticket quality. Poor-quality tickets result in unreliable and/or unavailable reporting from the Incident Management system. So, slightly dusted with powdered sugar, I’ll continue.
No matter the company size, industry, or environment, Incident tickets are often lacking quality in similar ways:
- insufficient description details for the issue
- troubleshooting activities undocumented
- single-word resolutions such as “done” or “fixed”
- haphazard categorization
- prioritization which rarely deviates from the default
These ticket deficiencies result in reports being near-useless for distribution to the business. Without attaching significant explanatory notes, issue-trending and proactive Problem identification, and identifying Knowledge candidates.
What’s the Cause?
It’s not that the Service Desk Agents, or others working on tickets, want to do a lackluster job with documentation. Often, they don’t know the expectations of the ticket, the value of quality information, or how to use that information. This includes integrating with or facilitating other processes).
Take the First Steps in Improving Service Desk Ticket Quality
If you find yourself in this situation, the good news is you can start small and make improvements. This requires using the ticket quality review approach:
- Identify 3 – 4 ticket quality problem areas for initial focus
- Create a simple scoring method
- Perform a small, inclusive sampling of tickets to review
- Ensure to give feedback to Agents as soon as possible after the review
- Track quality of reviewed tickets to determine improvement progress
Ensure that you communicate to the Service Desk and other ticket contributors the importance of quality ticket information. This includes how to use that data as well as the ticket quality review approach.
Once you have communicated your ticket quality goals and approach, begin regularly reviewing the small sample of tickets. Then, provide feedback. This includes specific improvements and the value that they bring.
Keep the Momentum
To ensure ticket quality improvement is sustained:
- Devote enough time for the reviews (skipping a week or two gives the perception of a lack of importance and priority)
- Share progress and learnings of the quality reviews with the team through regular meetings, progress memos, etc.
- Identify staff that regularly create quality tickets and ask them to share tips and examples to help others.
- Document and promote ticket quality expectations to all in support who created or work tickets. Ensure to update this document and communicate any updates.
- Don’t be afraid to make IT Management aware of the progress and benefits. And make sure to let the team know you’re sharing their successes.
- When there is significant improvement in a focus area, consider replacing with a new area of focus.
Build on the Benefits of Service Desk Ticket Quality
Through this activity, you have aligned expectations with staff, identified those who are experts in this area, and have set the foundation to build meaningful (and believable) reports. This includes mining tickets for common resolutions to populate Knowledge Articles and look at incident trends to identify Problems. Improving ticket quality is not a difficult or costly endeavor. By doing so, you provide a level of benefits to the team and IT’s capabilities