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Support Incident Tracker Forum • View topic - Customer views

Customer views

Discuss and get help installing, using and configuring SiT!

Customer views

Postby timfederwitz » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:54 pm

Hello All:

This is my first post, as I just started to use this application and am trying to bend it to my will. ;)

I tried to search the forum for anything having to do with "customer" and found nothing. I also googled a bit on this and never found what I'm looking for. In addition, I was looking at this tutorial on SiT! http://sitracker.org/wiki/Tutorial and it seems that the form they present in that is NOT what the customer sees when they login. In fact, if I login as a customer and create an incident, I have VERY little choice on ANYTHING. The incident is not associated with a contract, and therefore it does not come off the total incidents left on the contract; The customer cannot set the priority at all, and every ticket is coming through as "low"; The customer cannot assign the ticket to an engineer, yet auto-assign is not working for me in version 3.45 (I believe this is a bug with the triggers).

Is there a way to enable the "Customer" to have more control? Is it the intention of SiT! that only engineers initiate the creation of tickets, and then customers can get on to update the tickets?

I was really hoping that my customers could go to the support site to log an incident, but CERTAINLY be able to specify the severity of that incident as being low to critical. Reason being, I would hope that I can create different triggers based on the SLA and priority level for notifications and assignments, etc.

Any thoughts or help on this matter would be greatly appreciated... even if that's pointing me to some documentation I may have missed. :D

Thanks in advance,
Tim
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Re: Customer views

Postby svenner » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:11 pm

It is possible to create incidents as a user (contact). Just make sure that when you populate your system, you include at LEAST 1 site in there. Once you have created that site, start adding your contacts to that site (even if its just 1 contact as a test for yourself.). In order to allow users to add their own incidents, you have to make sure that in the contracts you set it as being current, and you make sure that the contract specified covers all contacts for that site.

As for changing the priority of the incident? I don't know. I'm currently at college and dont have my web server to hand.

Hope this helps slightly, but if not, I'll take a look for you tomorrow, as I have got mine working to the point where users can submit incidents to me.

Svenner.
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Re: Customer views

Postby timfederwitz » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:17 pm

Thanks for the reply! I probably should have clarified that I was able to create incidents as a contact (having already done all of the other steps you outlined to get them to be able to do this). I just found the "create incident" form for a "contact" instead of an "engineer", or regular user, to be far too limited.

Essentially, the contact can only give it a title and description and submit (although they *can* assign an "Area"). They can't even attach a file when creating the ticket, you have to go back to it and update it in order to attach anything to it (making additional steps for your customer). Even if you go in as a contact to update your ticket, you are never given an option to change the priority or even *see* the priority!

I'm no developer, and I certainly don't know PHP, but I'm wondering if there is a way to modify the form to provide access to some of these things/options?

I apologize if any of my terminology is incorrect... I'm a total n00b at this. :roll:

Thanks again for the reply!
Tim
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Re: Customer views

Postby svenner » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:24 pm

It really depends on how you look at these features to be honest. Personally, I work in IT as a network technician. If you allow end users to specify the priority of their on incidents, all you will get is like 80% of people submitting their reports as being urgent, which is going to simply upset yourself. In these kind of circumstances, it's best for you to review the incident at hand, and then liase with the user to establish a lead time on the task in hand. Once you know what the problem is, then you can get an idea of whats involved in the solution, who needs to take action, and how long it's going to realistically take you to fix. It's a sad fact that if you give a user any kind of choice, and they'll take the option that's going to cause you the most problems :) I have learn this over time, and I'm sure you will too.

I'm no developer, and I certainly don't know PHP, but I'm wondering if there is a way to modify the form to provide access to some of these things/options?

even if you add new fields to the form, you're going to have to add the handlers for that information in order to submit the data to a database, and then you'll have to add new fields in the database to store that information. Doing something like this would be advisable unless you are a well rounded web developer. But, if you want a challenge, go ahead :)


I haven't fully played round with SIT yet, as I have only beensetting it up on breaks at work, but it migh be worh investigating some of the features when asking about what it has to offer. Tha is always the best way to learn. Hope this helps.

Svenner.
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Re: Customer views

Postby timfederwitz » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:11 am

The company I work for now (my day job ;) ) has a support ticket site that allows our customers to set the priority of tickets. I would have used the same thing for my own companies needs, but the shared hosting I have is on Linux with MySQL. The other support ticket app only runs on ASP.NET and MS SQL.

I understand where you are coming from in saying that users will generally make everything critical, but we don't have that problem with our customers. I think the key is educating them on what constitutes as what level of priority. Besides, marking something as critical even when it isn't simply resolves to you getting some additional emails possibly. For my own company, I have very close relationships with my customers and have faith they would use the system as I instruct them. Understanding, from their point of view, the urgency of their problems can help you when talking with them and getting to the bottom of things. But I guess this is all subject to your philosophy. I have been in IT departments having to deal with end-users and worked in various technical consultant roles for over 10 years now, so I've seen the type of headaches you talked about. It's just not the type of people I have to deal with anymore. :)

As far as what I was looking to add to the form for "contacts", those data elements already exist in the database. They are already available for regular users and administrators of the SiT! application... so I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel... just give my external customers some access to those elements. I don't always have the availability to call one of my customers the very minute I get an email that they are having a problem... but if the problem is truly of a critical nature, then I would make the adjustments necessary to get hold of them quickly. If it got to a point where they were logging non-critical issues as critical, I would have a talk with them on what constitutes as critical... but I know it would never come to this.
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Re: Customer views

Postby timfederwitz » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:47 am

I just found the following while trying to read up on SiT! as much as possible
http://sitracker.org/wiki/Portal

This tells me that the "Contacts" are actually getting to a different interface than regular users and administrators. It also explains what the contact can do (in my eyes, is limited to do).

I still may look into this area to see if I can modify this to allow them to change at least priority... but I may just have to educate my customers to enter the severity of their support needs in the description of the incident. Since I will get immediately emailed, I can review that and see if I need to drop what I'm doing and call them.
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Re: Customer views

Postby ivanlucas » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:17 am

Hi Tim,

You are right when you say that Contacts get a very different interface to Engineers (users) when they add an incident, this is a quite deliberate attempt to make logging incidents from a customer (contact) perspective as simple and easy as possible, and as Svenner pointed out it can be very troublesome when you let customers set priority on incidents at the time of logging. We do however, let customers choose which contract they would like to open an incident against, and different contracts can have different service levels.

In SiT we use Priority to mean "Urgency" or "Importance" and this is based on "Impact" that the issue is having, for example a power cut might be considered Critical priority because it is preventing a whole department from working, but a question about a forgotten password would be considered low priority because it is only affecting one user. This priority affects how the engineer responds to the incident, if the question about the password were logged as Critical, this might take engineer time away from more important issues such as the power cut. This is why we don't let the customer/contact decide the priority but instead let the engineer set the priority based information given by the contact.

Having said all that, I can sympathise with your position, maybe people need to use SiT in many different and it does sound, from your description, that you really could do with a priority field. What you could do is log a feature request for this and hopefully one of the developers will pick it up, I might myself if I find time, but no promises since time is hard to find at the moment. ;)

Cheers,

Ivan
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Re: Customer views

Postby timfederwitz » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:16 pm

Ivan, thanks for the explanation! I've been thinking about this, and the way you guys have it setup makes sense for most use cases for sure. I also could have better clarified the "customers" I deal with. The company I have is a consulting company... the "customers" I have are the System Admins for other companies, so not simply average users trying to open Word Documents and the like. ;) Needless to say, the people I am in direct contact with are generally fairly seasoned, and can make an honest assessment of whether or not something is critical or not. The work I perform is not on user's computers, unless there is a problem that the sys admin can't handle / figure out, but rather server or network type issues (e.g., Active Directory is not allowing users to logon, etc... and that specific issue DID come up once :) ). Sometimes the issues are not critical, but issues like the example I gave need to be addressed very quickly.

Although, I got the triggers working to email me as soon as a ticket is created, and the title or description would tell me that I need to get back to them right away, so I am less concerned with this now. :roll:

To your point of a opening a feature request, where would I do that? Is that in the bug tracker? If it was implemented, I would probably want it to be a TRUE/FALSE option per site, at least, or even per contact at best. I'm sure I would get someone who can't figure out priority correctly. :D

Another question I have is around you saying that the customer contact can create and incident for a contract... while this is true, if the contract has a limited pool of incidents (say 5), when the contact creates an issue against that contract, the incident is not charged against the contract pool of incidents (i.e., the pool of 5 stays at 5 incidents left). However, if I create a ticket against that same contract as a user, the incident is charged against the pool and the contract would then show 1 used of 5, etc.

Is this possibly a bug, or is this by design? I tried figuring out how to get the incident to charge against the contract incident pool, but could not figure out how to do it. The only thing I could come up with was to open a new incident against the contract and relate it to the original ticket (for history purposes). This is less than desirable to me, and seems like it creates unnecessary added steps... but it is not a huge deal and is easily worked around as I laid out. In fact, I was thinking it may be better this way, because the customer may try to open an incident against the wrong contract and I don't think there is a way to grant an incident back to the pool. I'm just curious if this was by design or not.

Thanks again for all of your wonderful help! The developers and the community have been wonderful!!

Cheers
Tim
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