Request or Incident? A Quick Way to Tell…

Written by Mg, PMP, ITIL Expert
A user contacts you and admits the company’s key financial application with an online user interface is not displaying a ‘Thank you!’ pop-up message at the end of an interaction with a customer. Without further questioning it’s easy to assume the user is reporting a service disruption. One of the key moments I remember in my training as a Senior Service Desk Analyst at IBM for the American Express Service Desk is Process Owner, Karen G., drilling into my head and the 99 other Service Desk Analysts… “If it’s something they have and it’s broken, it’s an incident. If it’s something they don’t have and they want, it’s a request.” She said this with increasing intensity, several times in a row to drive the message home… and until it became our mantra. She was emphatically showing the dividing line to a brand new North America Service Desk set to go live in a few short weeks, supporting 33,000 end users — many of us with no former ITIL training. That simple differentiation holds true with most things you’ll encounter from users at the Service Desk.

3C920278In the case of the financial application, querying the user to understand if they are making a request or reporting an incident could be as easy as asking, “When was the last time it worked correctly?”  And, the user would tell you something like, “Well, the application has never done this before. But it is something I want it to do. I think the “Thank you!” pop-up would be a great improvement in customer satisfaction.” And, now you’re on your way with the Request Fulfillment Process.


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