Help Desk System: Architecture & Requirements
4. User, Trouble and Maintenance Help Desks
The primary level of an operations department trouble ticket is the "problem" or "trouble": a single malfunctioning resource (web server, pickup truck etc.) that breaks at some time, has various efforts to fix it, and eventually is fixed at some given time.
The primary level of a customer service department ticket, however, might well be the "user complaint". A single resource failure might well produce a large number of individual user phone calls and hence "user complaint" tickets. A customer service department may want to use tickets to track each one of these calls, e.g., to make sure each user is informed and satisfied about the eventual resolution of the single resource problem.
In addition, a company may want to track systematic problems. The staff may know, for instance, that a particular resource is old and fragile, or that a particular section of their communication framework doesn't have enough redundancy. It may be useful to open an "Maintenance Ticket" on these known problems, providing a place to record history and notes about the problem, for use in further engineering or funding discussions.
It would be very convenient to be able to build all of these systems on the same platform, and to allow each type of ticket to easily reference other types. Multiple "user complaint" tickets, then, might explicitly point to a single "trouble" ticket. Multiple trouble tickets representing independent failures would then point to a single "maintenance" ticket, which described the systematic problem.
5. Assisted Entry and Data Verification
Data (particularly in fixed fields) is only useful for searching if it is entered in consistent formats. A help desk system needs to help customers fill these fields with the correct format of information. This can be done using assisted entry (menus of acceptable choices), verification routines which check against internal lists or external databases, or other computer checking.
Some database systems allow a customized "help" screen to be associated with each field, helping customers by making context-sensitive help desk system documentation available at every field.