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By the Numbers: IT Help Desk Supports Customers During Remote Instruction
Phones ring, emails ding, and customers sing (praises). This is a normal day for IT Help Desk employees.
But nothing is typical when it comes to the first week of the semester. It is arguably one of the busiest times for the IT Help Desk, especially this academic year.
Like many higher education institutions, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way UNLV delivered its courses. For the first time, the university opened the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters without thousands of people on campus. Instead, students and employees logged onto their computers to learn, teach, or work from home.
A majority of in-person classes were offered remotely and some on-campus services were reduced or moved virtually. The change was a big adjustment for many, but “key to preventing UNLV from becoming a source of community spread,” according to university leadership.
As expected, remote instruction required students, instructors, and staff to rely on technology a whole lot more.
“It is pretty normal for our IT Help Desk agents to field hundreds of support requests in the first seven days of classes,” said Hector Ibarra, IT support services manager. “We knew the fall and spring semesters would be a little different than past years because of remote instruction. Since people were learning how to use technology in a virtual classroom and office, we anticipated an influx of customer questions and prepared our staff for it.”
Like Ibarra said, some people were not familiar with using technology in an academic or professional digital environment, so it was not a surprise to see an uptick in help requests for the two remote instruction semesters compared to traditional ones.
First Week of Semester: Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Combined Numbers
- Nearly 5,000 IT service requests were created.
- Close to 2,500 calls were handled by IT Help Desk agents.
- Over 3,000 technology issues were resolved in one phone call.
- Almost 700 ACE and MyUNLV passwords were reset.
As students and employees adapted to the new virtual normal, the IT Help Desk also modified how it supported the UNLV community. It introduced new services to schedule appointments for in-person help and ask a chatbot for technical help, and agents referred customers to new remote resources, including how-to videos for Webex and Panopto.
Despite the challenges that came with remote instruction, the IT Help Desk improved its customer service levels between the fall and spring semesters.
First Week of Semester: Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Comparison Numbers
- The average call wait time went down two minutes.
- More people used Scarlet, the new chatbot, to get answers to technology questions.
- Less people needed help using Webex.
This can be attributed to people becoming more familiar with using technology every day. But in all honesty, everyone knows why the IT Help Desk does so well. It is who customers constantly rave about: the IT Help Desk personnel.
In times like these, care, compassion, and understanding are valued even more, as the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its effects on higher education lingers, the IT Help Desk continues to provide comfort and support for those who need it.
“So many IT Help Desk folks have been helpful to me,” one customer said. “Without you, (remote instruction) would not be possible during this pandemic.