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 Rethinking The Help Desk

I had a need for a Help Desk / Support Desk / Ticket Tracker module. I decided to create one.

I decided that a Help Desk module should be the best Support Desk program possible and just as importantly not be anything else. A Help Desk program should be easy to configure and easy to use because people may have to use the program all day every working day.

ADefHelpDesk implements all the standard features of a conventional Help Desk program and introduces unlimited nested Tags and easy to use search to provide for most customization needs.

The Best Help Desk Program Possible

A Help Desk should allow you to handle issues that you need to resolve. That’s it. Yes, it could do “other things” but those “other things” start to stray into other areas such as CRM (customer relationship management). CRM tracks your associations with current and prospective customers. “Prospective customers” means a customer who may not necessarily want to have any interaction with you. A Help Desk is only for people who do want you to do something and they may not even be customers.

A Help Desk Handles Issues

Let’s call a Help Desk issue a Ticket. This is the life of a Ticket:

  • Take a New Ticket - This can be a visitor entering a new Ticket on the website or a Support Desk employee entering a Ticket while on the phone with a Requestor.
  • Route Ticket -A Ticket needs to be assigned to someone. With ADefHelpDesk a Ticket is always assigned to a group. One or more people can be members of a group.
  • Work on Ticket - When a Ticket is assigned to a group, it is important to capture what work was done. You also want to capture communication with the Requestor.
  • Resolve The Ticket – How do you know when the work is complete? Is the Status set to Closed or Resolved? Do you enter a date in the Completed Date field? ADefHelpDesk lets you decide. The program does not dictate how you should behave.

Customizing the Help Desk Ticket

A Help Desk Ticket that needs to accomplish the tasks outlined above usually requires the following fields: Status, Requestor, Assigned Group, and Comments (with file attachments).

In addition, the following fields are standard on most Help Desk applications: Priority, Due Date, Estimated Hours, Start Date, and Complete Date.

The question that arises is, “How do we capture important custom information such as cost center and billing type?” Most Help Desk applications allow you to define custom fields that will appear on the Help Desk Ticket. The problems that this can cause are:

  • The Help Desk becomes difficult to configure. What if you don't set it up right?
  • If options are added and later removed how will you find Tickets in the system?
  • The screen becomes large and users frequently have to scroll the page just to look at a Ticket.

ADefHelpDesk provides these solutions:

  • Nested Categories – Unlimited levels of nested categories allow for hundreds of categories to be easily grouped and understood. With ADefHelpDesk a Ticket can be tagged with an unlimited number of categories that are determined by the Administrator. Go ahead and create a category and then move it to another position. The Tickets don't lose their association. If you delete a category you can still find the Tickets with the full text search.
  • Full Text Search – If you enter “Cost Center: 1245” you will be able to find all Tickets with that entered in any description or comment field.

What I set out to accomplish was to create a module that you can just install and enter Tickets in without any configuration. The other features of the module such as nested tags, unlimited file attachments, unlimited assignment groups, and more, can be discovered by you as you need them.