Problem Priority / Severity Levels

Problem Priority / Severity Levels

Problem Priority / Severity Levels - Support requests should be prioritized to provide the support team a sense for the relative criticality of the need.

If a user has an error that has caused their application to crash, he or she may issue an urgent support request since he/she may not be able to do other work until the application comes back up.

Other production problems need to be corrected, but there may be some flexibility in terms of timing and urgency.

For instance, the problem may not need to be resolved for a day or two.

These priority levels can also help your team establish service level commitments with the client. For instance, the highest priority calls (urgent) may need to be resolved in three hours. A low priority call may not need to be resolved for three days.

The support team normally designates the overall severity of the problem based on the initial contact with the client. The support team normally designates the severity level since there is a tendency on the part of the client to think that every problem is urgent or high-priority.

If the client is not in agreement with the designation, he or she should escalate the matter. A rating scale for support requests is as follows:

1. Severity 1 (Urgent). A major service disruption usually associated with downtime or erroneous information in critical business processes.

For instance, an online application is down and users are idle until the application comes back up again.

Problems with customer-facing applications are normally classified as urgent as well, since your company does not want to tell customers that you can not service them because of computer problems.

These problems need to be addressed quickly and resolved with a high degree of urgency. For instance, you may need to return these calls within one hour and resolve the problem within four hours.

Any resources that are necessary to resolve the problem are assigned. If the situation cannot be resolved in that timeframe, the support people remain engaged full-time until it is resolved.

2. Severity 2 (High). This is a definite problem that needs to be resolved, but there is some additional flexibility on the resolution time. For example, you may have four hours to contact the user and one business day to resolve the problem.

3. Severity 3 (Medium). A nuisance in the short-term, but will cause a problem if not resolved soon. There may be a workaround that can be used in the short-term. You may need to follow up with the requestor within one business day and resolve within three business days.

4. Severity 4 (Low). These support requests should be resolved, but there is an abundance of time to complete.

There may be a workaround that will be fine indefinitely or perhaps the nature of the problem is such that it does not cause a major problem. If a support call stays at a low priority for some period of time, it is likely that it is really a discretionary request.

You can then close the problem ticket and open a discretionary request instead.

As a discretionary request, it will be prioritized by the Client Business Owner and it will be resolved if and when the Business Owner places it high enough in the discretionary workload queue.

Procedure


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