ITS Help Desk rises to meet COVID-19 challenges

April 16, 2020

Bob Haig provides Help Desk support from his home Bob Haig provides Help Desk support from his home

Over the last month, most of the Yale community shifted to remote working, teaching, and learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Help Desk staff. The week of March 23 marked a major milestone, with faculty and students returning from spring break to join virtual classrooms. Staff, having shifted to remote work the prior week, still had questions on setting up their home offices, launching virtual video meetings and onboarding new employees. During that week, almost 3,000 of these newly minted remote workers relied on support offered by the ITS Help Desk.

Typically consisting of twenty-two support staff, the ITS Help Desk was augmented by additional staff colleagues drawn from Distributed Support Provider (DSP) teams. During their first week, this combined team addressed 2,921 service requests through phone calls, chat sessions, web form submissions and email – in comparison to 1,275 calls during the same week last year. Despite the jump in volume, they answered 89% of incoming phone calls and resolved 99% of reported issues. While tackling more than double typical call volume, they maintained a high level of Service Quality and met their targets by answering at least 90% of incoming calls with a better than 85% resolution rate. 

You can’t just send someone to drop by their office and provide in-person help. - Bob Haig, Help Desk Supervisor

Help Desk supervisor Bob Haig shared that it has been challenging to support work-from-home users because, “you can’t just send someone to drop by their office and provide in-person help.” In addition to being completely dependent on technology to get their work done, Yale community members are struggling with added pressures, such as unreliable home internet connections. These factors result in longer, more complicated service calls, along with the need to support requests outside of typical business hours. Regardless of these challenges, Help Desk staff have continued to accommodate the community’s increased need for support, including shifting their hours to answer calls in the evenings and on weekends. As a result, they have earned a 98% satisfaction rate from clients across the University.

ITS Help Desk team members providing remote Help Desk support include: Shakoyia Andrews, Jillian Botti, Samantha Brailsford, Dessara Bryant, Robert Carson, Edgar Cervantes, Matthew Cotter, Cassandra Cuddy, Louisa DeLand, Zanetta Fisher, Andrew Gilkes, Triston Hall, Alan Hopkins, Steven Koch, Alex Malacea, Richard Morris, Mark Murphy, Zachary Putnam, Kathryn Sima, Dhaval Vaghela, David Vazquez, and David Woyciesjes.

Service Quality