Sometimes it can feel like there’s a never-ending wave of tickets flooding your helpdesk. Why does it happen? Can you predict when it will come? What can you do in the middle of a ticket tidal wave?
It’s a common situation; you come in and start your day just like any other and, suddenly, you get bombarded by calls, emails, and notifications. This all-too-familiar scenario struck many providers back in March and April when a surge of employees abruptly had to work from home. Clearly, it doesn’t always happen on a global scale like that. Sometimes it’s as simple as a regional ISP outage that lights up your dashboard, or a random operating system patch that crashes multiple clients’ devices. Some of these are avoidable and some are not. Working to prevent the ones you can is part of what I call “working on your business.”
Predicting the unpredictable
One of the ways you can prevent being overwhelmed by a ticket tidal wave is to know it’s coming. Monitoring for ISP outages or outages in services like Microsoft 365 can help. Knowing there is a problem with XYZ ISP or 123 cloud service before the customer calls or creates a ticket allows you to respond quickly. You may even be able to proactively send emails to the affected clients. Having a large monitoring dashboard screen in your NOC can also help you visualize areas of potential problems. It may also help you identify a common root to seemingly unrelated issues across your clients. Creating early-warning checks and corresponding notifications can give you just enough of an edge to stay out in front of a wave. It can also become a differentiator between you and your competitors; something worth mentioning in your sales presentation.
What to do when the tidal wave hits
If you do find yourself in the middle of a ticket tidal wave, it’s important to keep calm. Check to see if there is a logical root cause. If there isn’t a root cause, make sure you prioritize tickets so your technicians tackle the most critical issues affecting the most users first. To prepare for times like this, you can setup your PSA ahead of time to automatically prioritize tickets and make sure they’re delivered to the right group of technicians. Having a defined and automated ticket workflow can save lots of time and administrative work during a ticket tidal wave. You can use that time and effort to work and close tickets rather than simply shuffle them around.
Ticket tidal waves can be caused by one root cause or simply a bad day. Keeping watch and preparing your processes and systems for fluctuations in ticket levels can improve your service delivery and keep things running smoothly. After the wave subsides your customers will be happy their issues and requests were handled quickly.
Eric Anthony is the head operations nerd at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed services provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter @operations_nerd