Dealing with Many Incidents Effectively

Few organizations have the luxury of dealing with a handful of incidents at a time. Most of the time, there are many incidents going on at the time. As if that wasn't enough, many of them are of high priority. How should your unfortunate Service Desk Agent deal with all of them?

There are a number of actions that can be taken in order to deal with the situation properly.

Prioritize Incidents

Proper prioritization is one of the most important activities of the Service Desk. One of the IT Comics featured on this blog shows you how incident prioritization can go wrong. After the priority is assigned, it becomes clear which should be dealt with first.

Reassign without Delay

If the incident cannot be dealt with within a set amount of time, it should be reassigned to the next level of support. The time set for resolution should come from both from experience and from the SLA. For example, a Service Desk Agent could have one hour to try various solutions, but after that time, he or she should not continue trying to resolve the incident. The second line would have a much better chance of dealing with it effectively.

When reassigning tickets, make sure the incident record is updated properly. That will help the other team move on to with the investigation and not repeat some of the actions which have already been applied without success.

Call for Backup

If the team is overwhelmed with a couple of incidents with high priority, don't hesitate and call for backup. Let your manager know what is happening. When appropriate, you can declare a major incident and mobilize a number of specialists from other teams.

If there are no grounds for initiating this procedure, you can still have additional team members help you out. That is applicable to Service Desk teams, but also to other, more specialized teams. Many people make the mistake of allowing themselves to be overwhelmed. Instead of letting that happen, make sure that everyone in the team knows what to do in such situations. Have them call the team leader and have him or her make the call on who to bring on board.


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