Let me see if I can paint you a picture. It’s Friday morning. Coffee in hand you walk into the office. You can immediately tell something is off just by looking at people’s faces. Somewhere in the other side of the world a server crashed and now the sentence “critical failure” is filling up the air. Wearily, you put down the coffee and join the others to play detective. This is not what you had in mind when you left home 30 minutes earlier.
If only there were a process to help you deal with situations like this. Well, there is (and you have probably heard of it before). It is known as incident management and just like with every other process you must make sure you properly implement it if you expect to see results.
What is Incident Management
Let’s start with the very basics. Incidents are unplanned or unexpected events that disrupt the service quality. The occurrence of an incident doesn’t necessarily sound like a big deal until you realize it involves the risk of complete failure. However, there is great value in incidents. Single or reoccurring incidents can pinpoint to an actual problem in your business which you must fix (that is, if you wish to remain in business).
Incident management is a process which allows you to handle incidents. Unfortunately, there is no standard incident management process. The good news, however, is that you can build your own process according to the special characteristics of your business and the expectations of your employees.
Why do you need incident management?
It is evident that you need an automated process to deal with incidents. Here is what you can accomplish with it.
Identify an incident
Incidents are sneaky. They might manifest out of thin air. What you need is a process that allows for someone that has identified an incident to log it. Logging an incident is the first action in a flow of steps to follow in order to deal with incidents.
Classify an incident
After you identify an incident you should be able to add it in a category for context. Categorizing incidents is crucial because later you can analyze your data and look for trends and patterns. This step leads to effective problem management in the future.
React to the incident
The whole point of incident management is that you respond to incidents. Responding means that you are actively engaging and trying to address the issue in hand. This step is complicated but, to be honest, responding to incidents is the whole point of the incident management process.
Close the incident
Closing an incident is a small victory. Nonetheless, you are far from winning the war. A closed incident should be logged into your database and in the future you can use it as a reference (in case similar incidents come up).
How to utilize a survey integration in incident management
An incident management process is beneficial for many reasons. Here is the thing, though. You must put effort into making sure that the process is tailored to your organization and that the end users get the most out of it. Surveys are one of the best way to achieve that.
Integrate a survey solution into your incident management process and what you have in your hands is the fastest and easiest way to guarantee the process works as intended and generates actionable insights for the entire organization. Use different types of surveys in several instances along the process:
Incident resolution surveys:
Trigger this type of survey every time you resolve an incident. This is to confirm the incident has been dealt with successfully. Send this survey to the person that logged the incident in the first place to receive feedback on whether there are still issues or not. Furthermore, survey responses contain valuable data concerning the effectiveness of your incident management process. Share this data to your stakeholders to give them an overview of the situation. Higher management, especially, needs access to this data to make informed decisions that affect the workforce and the customers.
Incident response status surveys:
Some incidents are more complex than others. This means that they take a longer time to fix. Response status surveys function as a means to get a quick update on the status of the incident which you can communicate to interested parties. The responses to these surveys can be used as automation triggers. For example, if you know it will take a while to deal with, let’s say, a server incident, you should probably let your customers know. Right?
User experience surveys:
Trigger user experience surveys in longer intervals to ensure that the users within the organization are satisfied with the incident management process. User feedback and suggestions are crucial and acting on that feedback can lead to an improved process and better results.