Serio eMail (eDoc) Content - Some Ideas for Administrators

This post is for Serio users, and is on the subject of emails. I’ve blogged about this before, but in this article I’ll look at good and bad content ideas when the email is being sent to a customer.

The first thing you have to consider is format: are you going to use HTML, Text, or a combination of both? HTML allows you to control formatting and fonts, but has the disadvantage that some (very old) email readers might have trouble with it.

There are many types of emails we can get the Serio system to send to customers, but probably the most important are (in Incident Management) Incident Confirmation, Routine Update, and Resolution Confirmation. I will look at each in turn, describing what I think should be included in each. Firstly though, there are a few things that should be found on all three.

If you’ve never tried to edit the content of an email before, it’s easy. Login to SerioAdmin, open up a new Document Explorer, expand ‘email documents’, click ‘eDoc Definition’ and then double-click to edit the email template of your choice. You’ll see you can define two formats (text and HTML) and over on the right you’ll see data (called Placeholders) that contain data. You use these to add variable content to the email – like the customer’s name for instance.

Elements that should be in all outgoing emails

Incident Description. I’ve usually found it best to place this at or toward the bottom of the email. Customer can easily forget what the Incident is about, or confused with reference numbers, so every outgoing email should include the original Incident description. In the Placeholder list, look under ‘Issue/Issue Description’.

Reply Reference. The Reply Reference is usually just the reference number for the ticket with a few characters prefixing it. Including this on your correspondence helps Serio recognise the incoming email as a reply, and correctly affix it to the ticket. Look under ‘Issue/Reply Ref’

Incident Confirmation

This is the email usually sent to customers when they log a new Incident.

Assigned Agent. It’s not always included, but sometimes it’s worthwhile to give the customer information on who is handling their Incident. See ‘Issue Assignment/Assigned agent name’. Alternatively, if you use Owners to manage Incidents (rather than the Assigned Agent) you can include the Owner as the point of contact.

Response Target and Resolution Target. If you have an agreed Service Level Agreement, you can consider including your SLA targets. There are two approaches you can take: include the figures in hours and minutes (as in ‘we will try to resolve this Incident in 8 working hours’) or as a target time (‘we will try to resolve this Incident by Wednesday 3rd May 14:00’). Both the response and resolution targets are available to use, and you’ll find them under the ‘SLA’ group – for example ‘SLA/Target primary callback mins’ or ‘S:A/Target completion date time’. Some Helpdesks/Service Desks seem to feel uncomfortable about doing this, but my personal view is that, provided you have a negotiated SLA it is a positive thing to do.

I’ll continue this post tomorrow.