Documentation Counts!


by Deborah Kowal
March 23, 2017

I recently had the pleasure of delivering the HDI Customer Service Representative (HDI-CSR) class for a company that had approximately 40 support professionals in attendance; they were members of different support teams.
 
When the subject of documenting tickets came up, I asked everyone in the class to raise their hand if they could honestly say that every ticket that comes across their desk (whether it is initially taken by the service desk team, or it is a ticket that has been escalated to another team) gets documented without fail into the ticketing system. It probably comes as no surprise when I tell you that not one person raised their hand. Here are a few reasons they gave:

  • “We are too busy and the phones are constantly ringing; I don’t want to hear it when the abandoned rate goes up.”
  • “It was just a wrong number—again!”
  • “It was just another password reset.”
  • “I juggle too many things at once; I just put them all in later when I get a minute.”
  • “I got stopped by a walk-up customer.”
  • “It’s easier to just fix it for the customer than to put it into the system.”

Any of these sound familiar? While there may be a legitimate reason for a particular issue not to get documented, it’s significant to note that this should be considered the exception, not the norm. When we are not consistent with our documentation practices, we ultimately end up hurting ourselves in the long run. For example:

  • How is anyone supposed to help us fix the wrong number issue if it’s not documented in the system?
  •  If we do not document in real time, we may end up forgetting some of the key facts or information. In addition, continually waiting to put everything in at the end of a shift could also skew reports (e.g., what’s always happening at 3:00 p.m. every day?)
  • It is much easier for management to be able to hire more staff when they can see and prove that everything is being properly documented in the system. If the abandoned rate suffers from time to time, at least the documentation is there to back us up. Without it, it can make the approval process for hiring much more difficult.

On the flip side, let’s talk about all the value that support teams bring to the table when they are consistently documenting their tickets. For example, by logging all tickets, organizations are able to provide volume and trending information for staffing and scheduling, we enable the support center to create FAQ’s for customers, we can use the content for a knowledge base, we create audit trails of customer interactions, and we are teaching each other new ways to solve issues each and every day!

While I do believe that we have come a long way relative to utilizing documentation best practices over the years, I also believe there is room for improvement. Documenting all work in tickets should be an every time event—not a sometimes event—and whether we are servicing the customer directly or indirectly, let’s remember that we are all on the same side. The bottom line is that in order for support organizations to be truly successful, we need to recognize that ticket documentation is everyone’s responsibility—for all support teams!

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Debby Kowal's 20 years of Information Technology, Help Desk, and Customer Service experience bring a comprehensive and diverse background to her consulting role in the service and support industry. Prior to becoming a consultant and instructor, Debby held various management positions within the healthcare sector which included I.S. Manager, Help Desk Manager, and Customer Service Manager. Her other areas of expertise included the development of corporate training programs that focused on new hire practices, teammate incentive programs, continuous quality improvement initiatives, coaching and mentoring skills, and management training videos. Debby is also a certified HDI instructor, providing training and certification classes to customer service representatives, help desk analysts, and team leads/supervisors. This unique combination of experience and skills allows Debby to share with her students the tools necessary to create a lasting culture of outstanding customer service. Debby is an active member of HDI's local Delaware Valley Chapter. She is also a member of the National Small Business Association and serves on the Ambassador Committee for the Delaware Valley Chamber of Commerce in Media, Pennsylvania.


Tag(s): supportworld, service management, support center, training, business value

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