It can be tempting to email (or call) your colleagues in ITS about a computer issue rather than sending an email to helpdesk or calling the helpdesk line. While we do love to hear from you, please reconsider! Contacting an ITS staffer may seem like the most direct route to help but it can actually hurt your chances of getting a timely reply.  Here are some thoughts on why helpdesk @ and ext. 109 are your best bet for a speedy response.

Reason #1: Email and Phone “Noise”

In ITS we think modern communication methods are great, but they are also noisy. They keep us up to date on all kinds of things, but our email inboxes are full of what I will call noise: everything from twitter updates to notices about food on the Channing landing (yum).  Noise is stuff we want to know about, but it usually doesn’t have the highest priority, so it’s easy for a single message to get lost.

Our phones might be a bit better but still not a safe bet. For example, I set my phone to ignore all calls during business hours that aren’t from a select set of folks in my contact list. Calls ring through to my voice-mail, which helps me stay focused on work and avoid time-wasting surveys and sales pitches. However, it could also mean that if you try to call me with an issue I won’t get the message until I check my voice-mail after work.

Reason #2: Accountability

When you leave a message on ext 109 or send an email to helpdesk @ a ticket is created in our system (RT, or Request Tracker). RT is a big todo list that everyone in ITS shares. We have weekly meetings to check in with each other (and our boss) about how our todo list is going. We’re accountable for whether or not issues are getting resolved in a timely manner. While an email directly to me could get lost in my inbox, a message sent to helpdesk won’t (at least not for more than a week).

Reason #3: More Eyes

Since everyone in ITS checks on the tickets created by ext 109 and helpdesk @, there will be several ITS folks trying to solve your computer woes. If one of us is out sick or away from our desk someone else will still work on your ticket.

So that pretty much concludes my ITS rant: email helpdesk or call ext 109 so your message won’t be lost in the noise but will instead get into a todo list that all of ITS works on and is accountable for.

Since I haven’t spammed the helpdesk email enough in this article yet, if you have any questions please let us know at: helpdesk @ (it really is the best way to reach us).

About the Author
James Curran