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Managing IT Escalations: Three Essential Tips

One of the best things about working in an IT Support organization is that you get to spend your day making your customers happy. And one of the best feelings is when an issue comes in and you know that you will immediately be able to solve it for the customer. Conversely, one of the worst feelings is when you have to escalate an issue to another team, often without knowing when they will be able to respond, let alone resolve the issue. It doesn’t feel good when the resolution of an issue is out of your hands.

Properly handling escalations is an important part of the lifecycle of a request or incident due to the required handoff, involvement of additional parties, and longer resolution time. Efficient escalation management is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring smooth operations. Whether you’re dealing with a critical issue needing immediate attention or a customer complaint that will need to be addressed by development, the best practices I will describe can streamline your processes and reduce errors.

Clearly Define Escalation Procedures

One of the primary reasons for inefficient escalation management is the lack of clear procedures. Without clear guidelines, employees may not know how to escalate an issue or who to escalate it to, leading to delays and confusion. It’s essential to establish a clear and well-documented escalation procedure that outlines the steps to be taken in case of an escalation. This should include a clear definition of what constitutes an escalation, who is authorized to make the escalation, and who is responsible for resolving an escalated issue. Additionally, the escalation procedure should be communicated to all employees and reviewed regularly to ensure that it remains up to date. A document management app like Comala Document Management can help you ensure that your procedures stay invisible until they have been approved, and can then further enable a regular review process. Having a clear, well-documented escalation procedure avoids confusion and improves the time to resolution any time an issue needs to be escalated.


Use a Collaborative Approach 

Effective escalation management requires a collaborative approach. This means that all stakeholders involved in the escalation, including the support team, technical teams, and management, must work together to resolve the issue promptly. We want to avoid a “Throw it over the fence” mentality here. I’m sure many of us have been part of an organization where work is passed to another team, and we never think about it again. This is why one key tenant of a collaborative approach is not moving the original issue. The support team should remain responsible for what they do best: communicating with end users. Allow the escalation teams to handle the resolution, and then feed that back to the support team to communicate with the end user. One single person for our end user to work with throughout.

One way to enable this type of approach is by utilizing a workflow automation  app like Jira Misc Workflow Extensions (JMWE). You can build the escalation process into your Jira workflow by generating a linked issue for the escalation team while keeping the original issue with the support team, so they can continue to follow up with the user.


To further facilitate collaboration, it’s essential to establish a communication channel where all parties involved can share information and updates on the escalation’s status. This could be as simple as internal comments on a Jira issue or could even utilize a communication platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Slack Integration+ for Jira  or Microsoft Teams Integration+ for Jira  can be used to create Slack or Teams channels to swarm around issues, so you always know where to find the discussion for any escalation. Ensuring a collaborative approach not only helps resolve the issue faster but also promotes a culture of teamwork and accountability.

Monitor and Analyze Escalation Trends

To improve escalation management, it’s crucial to monitor and analyze escalation trends. This involves collecting and understanding data on the number of escalations, the types of issues being escalated, and the time taken to escalate and resolve these issues. By analyzing this data, IT organizations can identify patterns and trends, such as recurring issues or areas where the escalation process is breaking down. This information can then be used to make improvements to that process, like providing additional training to staff or implementing new tools and technologies to streamline the process. Using a custom chart app like Dashboard Hub will help you make the process of monitoring these trends simple and straightforward. Dashboard Hub works across Jira projects, whether you’re using Jira Software or JSM, and even allows you to report data from Bitbucket, StatusPage, and Opsgenie. By regularly monitoring and analyzing trends within the escalation management process, you can more easily identify both issues and opportunities for improvement.


Efficient and effective escalation management is critical for maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring smooth operations in your organization. Implementing these best practices may take some time, but I promise you that it will be worth it. Whenever I have implemented a well-reasoned, well-documented, and properly monitored escalation process, we’ve not only improved customer satisfaction and time to resolution but also simplified the process for both the support team and their escalation teams. I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to have documented procedures that define accountability and are accompanied by trackable SLAs. By clearly defining and regularly reviewing escalation procedures, using a collaborative approach, and monitoring and analyzing escalation trends, your organization can improve its escalation management process, leading to better customer experiences, a more efficient IT operation, and a higher quality of life for all teams involved.



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