I only hope it was a practical joke…

Recently, the Tier 1 support we’ve contracted with (which I’ve come to call the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys) has found a new way to annoy my team.

For almost two years now (despite the fact that on paper, my group is supposed to be a Tier 3 Support group handling issues on a Regional level), whenever a user calls in a local problem that becomes a Priority 1 or 2 issue after hours, essentially any ticket in which the end-user proclaims the following phrases “this affects patient care”, “this affects ability to work”, or “this affects ability to dispense medications”, even if the end users’ utterance of that statement was a bald-faced lie, the ticket gets forwarded to us so that we contact the local on-calls instead of the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys who actually took the call.

The first ticket involved a single user being unable to dial out from a single phone line, and she declared that not only could she not do her job, she was unable to see patients as a result, even though the nurse’s station she was at had no less than 7 functional phones within a few paces of the phone she decided to use that night. She dutifully called the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys from one of the functional phones and said she couldn’t do her job or see patients until herĀ phone was fixed, despite the other phones working fine.

The second ticket was almost the same. A doctor’s pager battery had run out, and instead of finding a new battery on the ward (which all wards are stocked with for just such occasions, and is explicitely explained to the doctors no less than 3 times in their orientation), he decided to call the Desk Monkeys and stated that this was affecting patient care that someone deliver a new battery to him immediately so he could be paged, despite the fact he was actually on the ward and any of the nurses could just walk up to him and tell him what was happening.

Since both these tickets were at the same site, I contacted the local IT on-call, who laughed with me at the sheer silliness of both requests, and that she was well aware of both users using and abusing the “patient care” phrase to try and cover up their own laziness.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Less than 60 seconds after I hung up with the on-call, another Tier 1 Desk Monkey IM’s me, asking me for follow up information on one of the tickets, and 10 seconds after him, a 2nd Desk Monkey also IM’s me, asking about the 2nd ticket. Both stated that they were implimenting a new policy where all Priority 1-2 tickets had to be followed up on.

I merged the IM’s and dropped my supervisor in, since he asked to be added to such IM’s for just such an occasion. I informed both of them that I had only just gotten off the phone with the local on-call, and since both were obvious local issues, that didn’t rise to the level of being considered Priority 1-2 tickets (I made sure to emphasize user laziness isn’t a high priority), we were going to let the local sites handle it. And I also told them flat out that if they wanted an update, they could save everyone some time and simply look up the ticket, specifically at the notes I had written in the tickets instead of bothering us by via phone/IM/email, especially seeing that they had the exact same level of access to the tickets that we did, and could see the notes we wrote for themselves.

This, however, didn’t stop, and two more members of my group experienced the same exact thing, especially given that they were contacted only a few minutes after punting the ticket to the local site for an obvious local issue, and something that didn’t even rise to the level of a medium-priority ticket, let alone the 1-2 level (which normally means a major system went down and requires all hands on deck and requires a high-level conference call).

All this because they forget about Rule #1: USERS LIE.

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