Using Description Templates to Standardise Incident/Action Descriptions

Ever been assigned an Incident to resolve, only to find that you have to return to the customer to ask for details that should have been collected when the fault was logged?

Or have you ever looked through the history of an Incident and been baffled by monosyllabic comments describing what was done and how it was resolved.

Low quality descriptions are a bugbear of Helpdesks/Service Desks, wasting time and preventing lessons being learned.

Serio Description Templates can help you improve the quality of Incident and Action descriptions. A Description Template is just what it says, template text for Incident/Action descriptions that you can add to, and that can act as a checklist or script of prompts, so that relevant information isn't missed.

Description Templates in Incident/Change Logging

For example, suppose that you are logging a fault about an application called "Action Reports". To help resolve such faults, several standard pieces of information are important, and you would like to provide a template for the description of any such Incident.

Here's an example Description Template for such an Incident. Notice how it provides prompts, spaces where you can provide extra detail, and options from which you can delete those non-applicable.

"Version of Action Reports: [4.5/5]

Name of affected report:

Operating system: [Windows 2000 WS/Windows XP/Vista]

OS patch level:

Error message (if any):

Application Hung?: [Y/N]

What action was the user taking prior to error occurring:

Any other comments:"

You can set up a number of Description Templates for different types of Incidents. In fact, Description Templates are also very useful for Change Requests, where you often need descriptions to follow a standard pattern.

You can create new Description Templates using SerioAdmin – choose 'New Serio Explorer' from the 'File menu, expand 'Issue' and select 'Description Templates'.

When logging Incidents or Changes, you can select the Description Template that you want to use by clicking the Lookup (…) field to the right of the Description field on the Logging form.

Description Templates for Action Comments

You can also use Description Templates to provide a standard structure for Action Comments. This means that for each type of Action, such as 'Resolve' of 'Phone User', you can prompt your Helpdesk Agents to enter specific standard information. For example, a Description Template for 'Phone User' might look like this:

"Spoke to customer: [y/n]

Message Left: [y/n]

Name of person spoken to:

Details of discussion: "

When combined with Actions, Description Templates are a powerful way of providing standard text for emails. If you find you are writing the same email over and over again, then putting all that standard blurb in a Description Template may be the solution.

Of course, you could set up an eDoc for your standard eMail, but Description Templates have one major advantage – you can modify any of the text within a Description Template when you are sending the eMail. You can even combine Description Templates and eDocs to create eMails containing some standard and some standard-but-modifiable content.

To create a Description Template for a Action Comments, first create the Description Template in SerioAdmin, as described above for Incidents. Then to link the Description Template to the Action Type as follows:

  1. Select 'Issue Actions' > 'Actions' in SerioAdmin.
  2. Open the Action record you are interested, and switch to the 'Action Comments' tab page.
  3. Select the Description Template you created, and save (Ctrl + S).
  4. Try out the Action in SerioClient!