The Art of Software Support: Design & Operation of Support Centers and Help Desks by Francoise Tourniaire & Richard Farrell, hardcover, 336 pages, 1997, $41.99



Here is a complete, real-world guide to building and running help desks and software support - one that provides you proven, best-in-class, integrated tools and techniques for structuring and operating a customer-focused support organization. Whether you're starting a software support or help desk organization, or seeking to improve the one you already have, you'll find invaluable guidance on:

  • Choosing and implementing the call management model that's right for your organization
  • Selecting tools such as phone systems, fax systems, knowledge bases, customer tracking applications, and other software
  • Measuring support center performance
  • Packaging support programs that can make your organization a profit center

Learn when to outsource, and when not to. And discover practical, easy-to-implement ideas for every stage of the software lifecycle, from new product planning and testing, to managing software bugs and fixes. The Art of Software Support also gives you time-and-money-saving tools you can use right now, including:

  • A sample user's guide

  • Call resolution checklists

  • Worksheets for determining staffing levels and justifying budgets

Perhaps most important, The Art of Software Support offers practical help with the tough challenges of supervising support people. You'll learn how to determine staffing levels, hire the right people - and keep them, even in difficult times. Whether you manage software support, or you're a support engineer working "in the trenches," The Art of Software Support will dramatically enhance your effectiveness.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 2 - Call Management Models

  • Achieving Customer Satisfaction
  • Call Flow Models
  • Other Call Management Considerations
  • Escalations

Chapter 3 - Call Management Implementation

  • Hotline Support Basics
  • Phone Interface
  • Call Routing
  • Escalation Management
  • Non-Phone Based Support
  • Disaster Recovery Planning

Chapter 4 - Measuring Support Center Performance

  • Important Process Metrics
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Analysis Metrics

Chapter 5 - Packaging Support Programs

  • What is a support package & why create one?
  • Defining Successful Support Packages
  • Pricing and Selling Support Packages
  • Sample Support Offerings

Chapter 6 - Support Organization Structure

  • Do I need an organization dedicated to Support?
  • Third-Party Support: Outsourcing
  • Reporting Structure
  • Do I need more than one center?
  • Internal Structure of the Support Group

Chapter 7 - Managing Support People

  • Planning Support Staffing Needs
  • Hiring Support Staff
  • Managing Support Staff Performance
  • Retaining Support Staff
  • Managing Morale

Chapter 8 - Managing Software Bugs & Code Fixes

  • Definitions and Models for Bug Fixing
  • Bug Fixing Process
  • Fixes for Third Party Products

Chapter 9 - Tools for Software Support

  • Choosing, Justifying, and Implementing Tools
  • Phone System
  • Fax System
  • Call Tracking System
  • Bug Tracking System
  • Knowledge Base System
  • Proactive Customer Communications Systems
  • Customer Tracking System
  • Problem Reproduction Environment
  • Call Center Management Applications
  • Facilities

Chapter 10 - New Product Planning

  • Planning for New Products
  • Training For New Products
  • Testing For New Products

Appendix A - Sample Support User's Guide

Appendix B - Call Resolution Overview

  • Framing the Call
  • Problem Solving
  • Creative Brainstorming
  • Checking Satisfaction

Appendix C - Determining Staffing Levels

  • Deriving a Staffing Level Knowing the Service - Target
  • Deriving a Service Level from the Staffing Level
  • Effect of Call Length on Service Level
  • Theoretical Proof of "Big is Beautiful"

Appendix D - Creating & Justifying a Support Center Budget

  • Justifying a Support Center Budget
  • Building a Support Center Budget

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Title Index
Subject Index
Catalog Index

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Last modified August 24, 2003