DEFCON: A proven system to ensure consistent IT response times
Every IT service, technology provider, or Managed Service Provider on the planet struggles with and is challenged by IT support response times.
Because, like any service, IT providers have hundreds or even thousands of clients they are responsible for at any given moment. And all IT companies must figure out how many technicians they need to have available, given how many calls or support tickets they receive.
This is not easy to figure out, and many IT providers get it wrong.
Think about how many different issues you or your team could need help with:
- Password issues
- Internet Issues
- Technical problems
- Cyber security threats
- Network support
- Email issues
- Data backup
- Printer problems
- Mobile and remote work problems
- Cloud computing
These are just a few of the issues your IT company faces.
You want IT issues fixed quickly and correctly the first time
No matter the size of your organization, company, city, or local government, you need IT and technology to be handled and fixed forever. And every IT support company and Managed Service Provider is honestly trying to do just that.
But some fail; WHY?
In one word: Chaos
All IT support companies and Managed Services Providers never know how many issues or service tickets they will face on any given day, including us, at Imagine IT.
So, having “just the right” number of techs available to assist client partners every hour of every day is very difficult and challenging.
You will understand if you have a service business or a help desk connected to anything you do. And actually, as a consumer, how many of you have had questionable service when you call a phone company, health provider, or cable company?
Why is it so frustrating? Because they are going through their own type of “chaos” and have not figured out how to fix the problem.
IT support providers refer to IT service issues as “tickets”
Right now, the average number of tickets that our Imagine IT team sees in a day is around 225. We are fully staffed every day to quickly and efficiently handle this ticket load. In fact, we have the capacity to handle surges of additional tickets of about 11-22 tickets (a 10-20% surge).
The chaos days
But there are some days when true Chaos hits. For example, when an outage in an entire area, the ticket load doubles to 200+ tickets.
This number of tickets buries our service desk engineers staffed for a typical day, which is not ready for this crazy flood of tickets. But, unfortunately, we, along with all of the other IT support and Managed Service Providers, rarely know when these days will happen.
In the world of IT support, you will find that only a few providers have a system to deal with this Chaos.
Of course, they all have great intentions of dealing with it but are most often unsuccessful. And we you talk with these companies, they won’t ever talk about their crazy days, only the quiet days when their services are good.
So, if you are searching for a new IT provider, don’t ask a generic question like: “How is your service?” Instead, ask them the specific question: “On those days that your tickets double or triple, what is your response time, and how often does that happen?
The answer will give you a better feel of who they really are!
How does DEFCON work?
To deal with these crazy service days, we call “Chaos,” Imagine IT developed an internal DEFCON system that helps us flex on crazy days where the ticket load is abnormal.
That system involves five different DEFCON levels. And as expected, each level denotes a different level of service tickets that come to our support desk. And each one of our offices has a board that displays what DEFCON level we are at.
Our DEFCON system starts at DEFCON 5 – meaning that our team is fully prepared to handle a normal number of tickets … which is typically 100-125.
At DEFCON 5, our normal fully-experienced IT experts are ready for a normal ticket load during that time. Although, at the same time, our next tier is ready and waiting in the wings in case a new DEFCON level appears.
But, when the phone starts ringing, our emails start rolling in, Chaos hits, and we see that the ticket load will be abnormally high, our Operations Manager moves the team to DEFCON 4.
At DEFCON 4, the onsite managers pause their management responsibilities and become service desk engineers to help with the added ticket load.
Our client partners do not know that the Imagine IT team is doing this in real-time and flexing our service capabilities to handle this flood of extra tickets. As a result, their issues are resolved quickly, and our managers will return to their other duties once they see that the tickets are handled.
On days when we experience even greater Chaos, the Operations Manager will move the team to DEFCON 3, which signals that others across the company need to shift their focus to the incoming tickets. This shift happens in real time; in most cases, the partner doesn’t even know this is happening.
And to be transparent, no support system will handle everything Chaos throws at it.
However, our DEFCON system allows our support team to flex in real-time to address these challenges. The result is happier and much more productive client partners.
On days when ticket levels are totally out of control and one or two of our partners have a major problem or outage, we shift to DEFCON 2. But, again, all support personnel is called in to assist, and all of our flex techs, NOC, DEPOT, SOC, and AT teams jump in to help.
Even though this is a rare occasion, it happens to every IT or Managed Service Provider. And any IT support provider you meet or talk to must have a contingency.
Usually, what causes a DEFCON 1 level is a major outage that affects multiple companies or areas simultaneously. In this scenario, every Imagine IT team member jumps in to solve issues. This includes owners, management, and anyone that can help.
So next time you reach out and our CEO, director, or manager answers … you’ll know why!
And you are looking for empathy, listening, and techs that don’t speak geek!
If you have ever dealt with an IT or technology company’s service desk, you totally get it. So many times, when you call, you get a high-level tech person who talks so far above your head that you can’t understand them.
And even more frustrating is their little patience when you don’t know what they know.
Therefore, the IT support provider you choose must have techs that are good listeners, empathic to your problem, and easy to communicate with. And their desire to solve your problem has to clearly be their main objective.
The inside truth is that no IT support system will ever be able to handle every chaotic situation thrown at them.
For example, major power or internet outages will happen; this is inevitable … but a system like DEFCON allows the support team to flex in real-time to address these challenges.
When checking out any IT support or Managed Service Provider, ask them how they handle this “Chaos” and request that they give you specific instances when they did. This will save you hours of downtime, and frustrations and keep you from having to change IT very often.
If you have IT response issues or any other technology concerns, check out more of our learning center articles that will help.
If you have more immediate needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
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