Koha How-To

Entering Good Support Tickets

As head of Support, I see quite a varying number of tickets come through from our partners and their member libraries on a daily basis. The questions vary wildly – everything from simple questions about how to use a particular feature, to complex developments that take quite a bit of time to draft before they can be written back into Koha.

I’ve worked quite a few Support jobs in my day. One of the things that always interests me about support is what people consider to be relevant information when they contact you for assistance. When the problem is simple, not much information is required; sometimes only a simple question is asked that needs to be answered. However, when the problem is complex, usually a great deal of information is required in order to even know where to begin looking to address the issue.

A tried and true mantra at ByWater is “examples are always relevant.” This is no less true when entering a support ticket. Too often we receive a message from a site library that simply has an error message pasted into the email, and nothing else. No information about the action that was being attempted, no patron barcodes, no titles of books being worked on. Sometimes they aren’t even signed, so we don’t know who we should be speaking to!

When we receive a ticket with incomplete information, it literally doubles the amount of time required to work on the ticket, since we must begin our investigation not trying to solve the problem, but collecting enough information to understand basic details of the problem. This increases our time to fix the ticket, and delays you, the customer from getting resolution on the problem.

Let’s help each other out! Here are some helpful guidelines for creating a support ticket with enough information to allow us to start working on a problem:

  • Keep it short and sweet – the longer the ticket is to read, the longer it takes to get to the heart of the issue.
  • Avoid updating tickets unless you need to clarify points, attach further examples, or request an update.
  • Explain what you’re experiencing – sometimes I find that I need to write a paragraph before I can condense it into a few short sentences that accurately describe the problem. Here are some helpful questions to ask when thinking about the problem:
    • Is this a new issue?
    • Is it an isolated incident? Has it been happening repeatedly?
    • What has been tried to fix the problem?
    • What part of Koha was being used when this happened?
    • Which browser were you using? IE? Firefox? Chrome? Which version?
    • How many patrons are affected? Which patrons?
    • How many titles/items are affected? Which titles?
  • Use proper punctuation/spelling – all modern computers come equipped withspell check. Please use it! The easier we can read and understand your tickets, the faster we can work on them.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words – sometimes words on a page simply cannot describe the problem accurately. Having a screenshot or even a video of the problem will always be more helpful to us than a page of text trying to describe what’s going on. Koha is a very visual piece of software; it makes sense that pictures and video would help us a great deal in understanding your issue. Here’s a link to a previous blog post Nicole did about screenshots.

We here at ByWater look forward to helping you with any Koha issues that might arise – that’s why we’re here! I hope that these guidelines assist you in your future support efforts.

[Originally posted by Thatcher Rea]

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