Help Desk Standard Operating Procedures

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Contacting the Help Desk

  • CSS support hours are from 7:45 AM – 9:30 PM, Monday through Thursday, 7:45 AM – 6:00 PM on Fridays and 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM on Saturdays. Customers will contact CSS by phone, radio call box, e-mail, or via web forms to report issues and to request help. In-person counter hours in Kane Hall close at 5:00 PM, M-F. No counter hours are available on the weekends.
  • CSS Phone Number: 543-9900 to report issues and problems, to request equipment or to reserve space in Kane, Mary Gates and Johnson Halls. Voicemail can be left at any time.
  • CSS E-mail Address:

Help Desk Responsibilities

Help Desk Analysts will receive, log, and resolve all walk-in requests for assistance (RFA), incoming telephone RFAs, and call box RFAs. A unique tracking number will be assigned to each issue entered into Request Tracker. This number will be referenced in all subsequent communications for tracking purposes. Help Desk Team members will assign a priority based on the following guidelines:

Priority Levels

See: Priority Levels

Creating Tickets

Help Desk Team Analysts will record the issue information into Request Tracker. The following information is required when entering a Request Tracker ticket:

• Date call received – will be auto-populated with system date.

• Time call received – will be auto-populated with system time.

• Caller name and UW affiliation, caller contact information, including e-mail address, and phone number.

• Requestor: who is having the problem, who needs to be notified.

• Building and room number.

• Equipment affected.

• A succinct and meaningful subject line.

• Detailed description of problem or issue, including actions being attempted, error messages, etc.

• Priority, as per the [Priority Scale]

• Assign ticket to a Queue, following the escalation procedure, if necessary.

• Other relevant information about problem occurrence, such as, "is this the first time you have experienced this problem," etc.

Other Responsibilities

Help Desk Team members will also provide the following:

• On-site support as needed and required.

• Contacting the appropriate Help Desk team members to respond to the request for support, as needed. This would include contacting resources at LTI, Technical Services, Facilities Planning, Event Services, Computing and Communications, Physical Plant, Local Building Coordinators, Emergency Services, UW Police Department, Local Contractors, UW Visitors Center, Photography, Lock Shop, UWTV, etc.

• Responding to customer requests for assistance in a timely manner. Once notified of a request for support, Help Desk Team members will respond accordingly based on the priority assigned to the issue as listed in the Response Commitment grid. If information needed to process the request and assign priority is incomplete, then the Help Desk Team member will request additional information at this time.

• Resolving all requests for support in a timely manner. Every effort will be made by the Help Desk Team members to resolve issues within the guidelines established for the various priorities assigned to requests for support. These guidelines may not apply to resolution of issues received for dependent services, such as Physical Plant. See: Resolving Tickets for Dependent Services

• Communicating with the user on progress in resolving the call. Help Desk Team members will provide regular status updates for critical and high priority open issues. Weekly updates will be provided for medium and low priority open issues. All status updates will be delivered by a reply to the requestor within the ticket, or by telephone with contact details commented in the ticket.

• Proposing a viable workaround when possible. Help Desk Team members will make every effort to provide alternate means to fulfill a task that a customer is attempting to perform. Any workaround will be documented in the CSS Wiki.

• Documenting the resolution when closing a ticket. Upon resolution, the Help Desk Team member will document the resolution in the ticket tracking system, notify the user that their incident has been resolved, how it was resolved, complete/correct any ticket information and then close the ticket. Customer correspondence shall:

                • Include a polite introduction that conveys purpose.

                • Provide information the customer needs.

                • Let the customer know how the problem was resolved.

                • Include a closing that expresses a desire to provide further assistance.

                • Thank the customer.


If the request requires advanced-level technical assistance, or technical assistance from another group to resolve the issue, the Help Desk Analyst will escalate the ticket to the Help Desk Supervisor or an advanced-level support team member. Help Desk Team Members are responsible for notifying the requestor when an issue has been escalated.

The Help Desk Supervisor or advanced-level support team member will determine if a resolution can be reached, or whether the ticket needs to be further escalated. If the issue can be resolved without further escalation, the Help Desk Supervisor will assign the ticket to a member of their team, noting the assignment (change of ownership) in the ticket. The Assignee will update the customer according to the response-time commitment grid until resolution can be achieved, resolve the matter, document the resolution, close the ticket, and notify the requestor of the resolution. If the issue cannot be resolved, the Help Desk Supervisor or an advanced-level support team member will update the tracking system with relevant comments, escalate the ticket to the proper support team, and notify the end-user that the issue has been escalated. The advanced-level support team will update the customer according to the response-time commitment grid until resolution can be achieved, resolve the matter, document the resolution, close the ticket, and notify the requestor of the resolution..

Help Desk Escalation Protocol (Direct)

Calls or tickets received by Help Desk Analysts that should be directly forwarded to another support team will be handled in the following manner:

The Help Desk Analyst will create a ticket for the call, or will review the ticket if created directly by a requestor. Once it’s determined that the issue should be handled by another support team, the Help Desk Analysts will assign the ticket to the appropriate Queue. The Help Desk Analyst will contact the requestor to advise them that the issue has been forwarded to the another support team, and they will obtain and/or provide any additional information that may be needed, such as room availability schedule. The new support team personnel will then follow existing guidelines for issue resolution, including correspondence with the customer, updating tickets of telephone conversations, and confirmations of appointments made with the customer.

Calls or tickets received by advanced–level support teams that should be forwarded to the Help Desk will be handled in a similar manner. The advanced–level support technician (ALST) will create a ticket if one has not been automatically generated. Once it is determined that the issue should be referred to the Help Desk, they will assign the ticket to the appropriate Queue.


The Help Desk Analysts, including advanced-level support teams, will be expected to respond to issues according to the order in which they are received, status, and the assigned priority. However, team members may change the priority as needed. Such changes will be communicated to the requestor as soon as they are made, usually via a reply in Request Tracker. Critical requests will be given top priority for immediate support. Other requests will be addressed according to the assigned priority, and the age of the issue.

Reporting Requirements

The Help Desk Team Members may be asked to create reports based on criteria such as status, priority, open date, and close date. Such reports may be run daily so that the Help Desk Team Managers can monitor service request status, and provide the most timely customer service possible. Status on open and active service requests will be provided by replies within Request Tracker to the requestor. In addition to these daily status reports, the Help Desk Team may develop reports that will measure help desk effectiveness, based on our established criteria for issue resolution. These reports will be run according to a regular schedule, or on an ad-hoc basis. The Help Desk Team may also create reports to provide information about areas where additional documentation or training for the end-user might be necessary. The Help Desk Team will follow up with ALSTs to ensure that they are adhering to agreed-upon standards for timely and accurate issue resolution.

Responsible Parties

The Help Desk Supervisor has overall responsibility for the Help Desk service requests. The Events Manager has overall responsibility for any Help Desk events requests.

• First tier support will be provided by the Help Desk Analysts. First tier support is defined as any issue that the Help Desk Analysts can resolve without assistance.

• The Help Desk Supervisor, the Events Manager, and the Advance-level Support team will provide second tier production support. Second tier support is defined as any issue that Technical Services or Event Services resolve without assistance of other CSS areas. Also a part of this second tier is Photography and they will handle any requests for studio photography, digital imaging, slides, print and negative work required by our customers. STF personnel will handle student (not class related) requests for equipment.

• Learning Technologies Integration will provide third tier support for technical issues for CSS customers.

• Other CSS areas (Classroom Planning, Business and Administration) will become involved when necessary.