Closing Resolved Status Incidents after a Defined Period of Inactivity
To close, or not to close, that is the question many of us face while staring at an aging list of help desk tickets. Here's the process one Juice reader recently implemented to save his staff a couple hours a week and (you're way ahead of me) get some closure. :)
The Eminent Problem
When an Incident is resolved our Helpdesk workers place the Incident into "Resolved" status (in our previous system this was "Resolved: Pending Follow-up"). All of our reporting metrics and notifications have been altered to count "Resolved" status Incidents in much the same way as "Closed" status. However, due to the intrinsic differences between the two statuses we still have need for the "Closed" status and to pull separate metrics on Closed verses Resolved Incidents. When an Incident is placed in Resolved status the requestor (contact_name/contact_email) receives an e-mail letting them know that the Incident has been resolved and to let the Incident Worker (assigned_to_worker_name/assigned_to_worker_email) know if there are any further challenges related to the Incident. Keeping it in "Resolved" status for a time allows the Requestor to re-open the Incident for continued work if required. If no follow-up or further work is required after five days, the worker(s) can then go and fully close the Incident. Unfortunately, because of low staffing levels our workers cannot always perform the proper follow-up or go back through their Resolved Incidents for closure on a daily basis.
The New and Improved Process
We decided to automate the transition from Incident Resolution to Incident Closure. We wanted the system to automatically scan for Incidents in "Resolved" status for more than 10 days without change (this gives both Worker and Contact a grace period to confirm Incident Resolution and perform in person follow-up, if possible) and change the status of the selected Incidents from "Resolved" to "Closed." We achieved this through an automated notification task in the Notification Server.
By automating Incident Closure and follow-up after a period of inactivity our Helpdesk workers have been able to focus on current and upcoming tasks rather than having to worry about past and Resolved tasks. It is a recent change in our system but we are estimating that it will save each worker about 4-6 hours per week in follow-up time.