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Helpdesk and User Support Contacts

Nicole Crémel and Roger Woolnough , IT / User Services

As explained in several past Computer NewsLetters, last time in CERN-CNL-2001-001 (see "Why Helpdesk and User Support are two Entities?), we have tried to disconnect the two e-mail addresses and (or The objective was to make a very clear distinction between the actual "Computing Helpdesk" as it is implemented now, and the "User Support" group in IT division (now renamed to "User Services"). The "Computing Helpdesk" is a front-line (or 1st level) outsourced service where users can raise any type of computing issue via mails, phone calls or visits (a kind of telephone exchange for computing at phone number 78888, with main desk in building 513, and a satellite helpdesk in building 52). "User Support" group, now renamed "User Services" (to eliminate any ambiguity with the Helpdesk), is supervising the helpdesk, and working "behind" it, as a 2nd-level service, to treat a proportion of the queries that are received at the desks.

We have realised that the e-mail address is so deeply anchored in CERN users' mind and embedded in much documentation that it is inappropriate to completely disconnect this address from the helpdesk.

We have therefore taken "one step back" and re-enabled, such that users who still use this address (or kept it in their address book) as the entry point for computing issues will be automatically re-directed to the helpdesk. Users will however receive, at the same time, an automatic notification inviting them to use in the future, if they want to raise a computing question. On the other hand, users who wish to contact members of the "User Services" group in IT division, eventually to report either a good or not-so-good experience with the helpdesk, or to raise any support issue in general, should use the e-mail address

Following is the text of this notification message, both in English and French:

        This is an automatic informative message
(French version is following) 
Thanks for mailing User Support. Your message is being delivered to the 
central Computing Helpdesk where it will be treated or sent to the 
relevant support-line. 
In future please use the address for any computing query. 
Should you wish to contact members of the User Services Group in IT 
Division you can use the address 
Thank You. 
Nous avons bien reçu votre message à qui 
a été transmis au bureau central d'aide aux utilisateurs pour 
l'informatique, où il sera traité ou bien dirigé vers la 
ligne de support appropriée. 
La prochaine fois nous vous invitons à envoyer directement toute 
question informatique à l'adresse électronique 
Pour contacter les membres du groupe User Services de la division IT 
vous pouvez utiliser l'adresse 

About the author(s): Nicole Crémel and Roger Woolnough are members of the User Services group in IT, and are the CERN responsible for the supervision of operations of the Computing Helpdesk.

For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Vol. XXXVI, issue no 3

Last Updated on Fri Dec 07 14:18:27 CET 2001.
Copyright © CERN 2001 -- European Organization for Nuclear Research