Have I talked about my new job yet? I’m not sure, and I’m too lazy to look. At least, I know I haven’t really talked about it yet.
Whatever. It’s only tangential to this. I’ll get there later. Oh, and the title isn’t referring to my job. That’s going pretty well. Anyway.
My first real assignment here was to create a web portal to our support ticket system: HEAT. We’d had the system for a year, but my two predecessors had been unable to get a web front end running for it. HEAT apparently comes with its own front end, HEAT Self Service, so why there had been so much trouble was not clear. I started to get really worried when my co-worker told me her nickname for the system: Hate Everything About This.
Ok. So it sucks. But how much can a support ticket system really suck? This would be my third system I’d be throwing code at, and I’d seen some noxious stuff, but nothing that would have kept me from adding a ticket to the system through its API. And you know what? As far as the coding went, I was mostly right. The API worked. I got tickets back. I could create them, too. After understanding its slightly confusing attachment system (you send it a link to the attachment, but save the actual file yourself somewhere), there wasn’t anything all that difficult about it.
Then I loaded up the application itself and started to use it. That’s about when the hate began.
I’ve seen support ticket systems be clunky. I’ve seen them have UIs that were confusing and even nonsensical. I’ve seen an action that should take one click take three. But I’ve never seen a support system so completely embody every single bad design idea possible all in one package.
Let’s say a new ticket just got into the system, into the general queue and isn’t assigned to anyone yet. You see it and it’s one of those things where you can just rattle off an answer and close it immediately. What do you have to do if you want that ticket to show as Closed? Well.
- Click on the Assignments tab.
- Click New to create a new assignment.
- Pick your group then pick yourself out of the nested drop-down lists.
- Save the Assignment.
- Enter information into the Assignment resolution. Note, this is not the call resolution. You are just resolving your part in the ticket.
- Click Resolve for the assignment.
- Go into the main Call Info tab and enter Resolution information there.
- Now click Resolve to resolve the call.
- Click File->Quick Close (you can start laughing now).
If you fail to do any of this, the call will not let you close it. Thankfully, it will at least tell you what you’re missing, but when it tells you you have more work to do closing the ticket than you did to fix the problem, you probably won’t be feeling very gracious.
The whole system is laid out that way. Getting from the list of calls to the list of customers is, at best, perplexing. As is the as-yet-mysterious handling of its Call Groups, which make it very easy to not see a ticket and not realize that you are not seeing a ticket.
I hope that someone reading this is considering buying HEAT and that this post has just made their decision for them. That’d make this all worth it.