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Helping Users

The IT Walk-in Center is a professional working environment. You are expected to dress and act professionally at all times. The people who come to the Walk-in Center for help can be very agitated because they may have a deadline to meet and are having problems with their computer that may be causing them to miss that deadline. Always try to put yourself in their place and imagine what they might be going through.

Students come to the Walk-in Center for help in one of three ways: walk-in, chat, or e-mail.

Users Who Walk In

Users who walk in should be greeted with "How may I help you?". Listen to them without interruption until they have finished explaining the problem or asking the question. After listening to and acknowledging their problem, ask for their last name and start a Remedy ticket for this interaction. Once the situation has been resolved, complete the Remedy ticket.

If you find you are unable to answer a user's question, confer with the other student consultants at the Walk-in Center, do some research online (e.g., Google), send an e-mail to the cg-stucons list requesting ideas, or confer with the Manager. Do not seek outside help unless directed to by the Manager.

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Users Via Chat

One of the computers at the Walk-in Center desk has Pidgin installed on it. When the walk-in center is open, Pidgin should be running so help is available via chat. The login name and password will be provided to you when you work.

When a user contacts the Walk-in Center via chat, the first chat back to them needs to be to ask them for their name. Help via Chat is available to the world on the Computing Services web site, so we want to be sure we are only helping members of the Dartmouth community.

Service Priority

  1. The person standing in front of you always has priority.
  2. Next is the person contacting you via chat.
  3. Finally is the person sending e-mails into Remedy.

Suggested language for those waiting for help:

  • To the human in front of you: “Excuse me one minute while I let this person online know I’ll be with them next”.
  • To those on chat: “brb! helping someone at the desk" 

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Users Via E-mail

Everyone who works at the IT Walk-in Center is responsible for answering questions that are submitted electronically. Electronic mail sent to "Help," "Help Desk," "Consultants," "Computer Resource Center," "Consultants Office," "Webmaster," "Postmaster," "Public-Admin," "Network Services," or "Kiewit Consultants" automatically goes into Remedy, our tracking system. Mail sent to any of the addresses listed above will either update an existing ticket or open a new one. All student assistants, student consultants and the student manager will have an account in Remedy. Your account name is your firstname, middle initial with a period, followed by your lastname, all in lower-case. The password is the same as your e-mail password. Students unfamiliar with Remedy will be trained by the Manager or other student consultants at the beginning of each term.

If there are no walk-in users and no users with questions via chat, look at the tickets in Remedy with an "Assigned" status. These tickets have not been touched yet. On the General tab, read the problem as presented by the user. On the Activity tab, record any work you have done for this incident in the work log, or send an e-mail message directly to the user that is automatically written to the work log.

If you provided the answer to the question, change the Status field to Resolved.

If you requested additional information from the user, from another source, or need to do additional research, change the Status field to Pending and the Pending field to Requestor Information, Requestor Appointment, Vendor Information, or Research.

When answering an e-mail message:

  • Remember that you represent Computing Services, its guidelines, and policies. Your answers must be professional and thorough. Make sure the customer is confident the problem is resolved (not just you) before changing the Status field to Resolved.
  • If you are unsure of an answer, but have some ideas, place a note to that effect in the Work Log or the outgoing e-mail message to the requestor.
  • If you need to do more research or need to confer with others to find a solution, mark the Remedy ticket as a "Work in progress."
  • If a significant amount of information has been given and you are waiting to hear back from someone with additional information, mark the Remedy ticket as Pending.
  • Call the user, if necessary, to avoid multiple messages and long-winded answers.

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Escalating Questions

There are certain things that student staff cannot do and need to be escalated: reset passwords, extend accounts, restore e-mail, etc. In these cases, set the Priority field on the Remedy ticket to "High". The full-time consultants monitor the Walk-in Center queue and look for these tickets.

You should NOT escalate tickets just because you don't know the answer. When you come across a question you do not know the answer too, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the problem really what the user thinks it is? (For example, a user may be complaining that the network is down because their web browser is not working, when the real problem might be with their network configuration or that their startup URL is incorrect.)
  2. Do I have any documentation or is there an electronic resource that could help me resolve the question? (For example, a question about Mail Merge in Word may be outside your realm of experience, but you have access to some third-party books in the office, Google, the Dartmouth FAQ database, the Microsoft Knowledgebase, etc.)
  3. Could I answer this question if I had more time to look up the answer or to ask someone? (For example, could you answer a complicated FileMaker Pro question if you had time to go through the manual. If so, tell the user you will sen them an e-mail as soon as you have the answer.)
  4. Does someone else in the office with whom I could consult know the answer?

If you still don't know the answer, enter any research information you have found into the Work Info section of the Remedy ticket so that the person who works on the ticket after you will not have to repeat the work you have done.

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Referring Tickets to Other Groups

All of Computing Services uses Remedy, so tickets handled by other areas frequently come in to the IT Support Center. After reviewing a ticket, if you are sure it is not a desktop issue, you can change the Group Assignment field on the Activity tab to the appropriate group. For example, questions about activating a new jack would be changed to the Network Services group; questions about troubleshooting an exiting jack would first be handled by the IT Support Center staff then only referred to Network Services once it was determined to be a jack problem.

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Network Trouble

If a user reports a network problem, follow these steps:

  1. Determine if it really is a network problem. Is the computer plugged into the correct port? Is their computer configured correctly? Are they using the proper software? Have they tried a different cable? Does the computer support networking via another port? Does another computer work in the same port with the same cable?
  2. If, after trying the above, the user is still unable to connect, refer them to the Equipment Repairs web page, which provides a means to input information on the type of outage. Once the user has entered the information and submitted the request, a ticket is created in Remedy, which is then assigned to Network Services.

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Saying "No"

Users may ask you to do something that does not fall within our guidelines. In a pleasant manner, explain to them that you cannot do what they are asking you to do at the IT Walk-in Center, or that they cannot do what they want to do. There is never a good reason to make a user feel stupid, bad, or guilty for asking a question, or because you do not know the answer. You should never give a flat "No" as a response. Always provide them with alternatives for seeking help, whether it be a local computer store or online resources. Be very clear up front that we only support HP Desktops, Lenovo Laptops, Dell OptiPlex, Inspiron, and Latitude and Apple computers for Dartmouth students. Dartmouth faculty, staff, or alumnae should be referred to the following Help Desks if a full-time consultant is not present at the IT Walk-in Center:

  • Staff From Administrative Departments: 646-2999
  • Tuck School Faculty, Staff and Students: 646-1818
  • Thayer School Faculty, Staff and Students: 646-2807
  • DMS Faculty,Staff and Students: 650-1600
  • Arts and Humanities Division Faculty and Staff: 646-2716
  • Science Division Faculty and Staff: 646-3144
  • Social Science Division Faculty and Staff: 646-2877
  • Library Staff: Your TeCoR Representative
  • Alumni: 646-3202

Sometimes users are unhappy with our policies or the outcome of their interaction with the IT Walk-in Center. In these instances, refer them to the Student Manager or to the Assistant Director, IT Support Center, Ellen Young (646-0367).

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Last Updated: 3/14/11