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Service Desk Reflections: Outages and Downtime

I remember my days of working at a National IT Service Desk very clearly. Lots of fun was had with my team, and we provided excellent customer service. However on those days when a server crashed or a system went down it was challenging to receive call after call from discouraged, frustrated and sometimes angry clients when there was nothing we could do to fix their problem on the spot.


We pulled together as a team, and were always empathetic with our clients. As a strategy to lower the queue volumes, we also asked that they pass on the outage message to others in their unit, so that we didn't receive multiple calls from the same unit. We also had our Service Desk Lead send out an outage message, unless of course email was also affected at the same time. 

We always got through it but ensured we regrouped as a team after the outage to boost morale and talk about the process and anything we could have done differently or that would help us for a future occurrence.

Wishing we had known about #HUGOPS back then, it definitely would have come in handy :)


Having also been on the other side of the coin as the client, I was extremely patient with IT Service Desk staff, and took advantage of the downtime to work on things that were on the bottom of my pile (that didn't involve a computer), or having an impromptu team stand-up, or taking an earlier lunch. I also took the time to make phone calls and walked over to a colleague's desk to ask them something, rather than the new norm of sending emails to colleagues that are a cubicle away.

What are your stories of downtime? And secondly, do you have #HUGOPS in your organization?



carrie_eandm Community Leader Aug 12, 2019

As a manager for multiple apps and websites - downtime happens. What makes the experience bearable is being proactive. I've witnessed a full server crash, had to wait to reboot and then recover/restore files. At the time, it helped to be upfront with our clients - actually emailing them a "heads up, our system is down and your site is currently affected". 

Our clients were upset but understood that with technology, things like this happen. They actually appreciated that we brought it to their attention - rather than finding out and then having to call/email us. 

Being proactive is a game-changer. Don't wait for the problem to come to you. 

Like Fernando Bordallo likes this
Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Aug 12, 2019

Thanks so much for sharing @carrie_eandm - being proactive makes a world of difference. I do like the under promise, over deliver approach as well, it has helped me manage expectations, and when things are back up and running sooner clients are much happier than if we say it will be back up at 2pm and it's not up for hours later. I haven't had to use that approach often, but it is helpful to have in the toolbox.


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