The Escalation Wheel Of Troubleshooting - eWoT


I’ve been onboarding a new staff member this week.

Part of our new employee onboarding includes learning how we work, how we think, and how we act.

Yesterday I explained the eWot

Or what we affectionately call—The Escalation Wheel of Troubleshooting.

Imagine you’re a technician helping out an end-user customer.

There are certain things you’ll need to know about how to manage the interaction with that customer.

And one of those things is this…

How long should I troubleshoot something before I escalate?

To answer this question I created the Escalation Wheel of Troubleshooting or what has come to be affectionately known as the eWot.

The eWot

And it goes like this...

An end-user customer calls in with a request.

The first thing you need to do is to understand the request.

Next, once you’ve developed an understanding of the request.

Ask yourself the following question.

Can I solve this in 30 minutes or less?

If not, escalate to someone who does.

The reality is this

There is always someone who can solve a problem faster than you.

And an end-user customer doesn’t appreciate someone taking hours to resolve their request.

So, if you can solve the request in 30 minutes or less then proceed.

At 15 minutes do a self-check.

Ask yourself.

Am I on track to finish?

If so, continue.

If not, escalate.

See how this works?

At 30 minutes again—do a self-check.

Am I close to finishing this?

If so, continue.

If not, escalate.

At 45 minutes do a self-check.

Am I almost done?

If not, escalate.

That’s it.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Knowing The Goal

This Escalation Wheel of Troubleshooting helps technical support staff to stay focused on the goal which is…

Efficiently and effectively solving an end-user request.

It’s important to note that while this might seem like a simple process.

In the heat of the moment, it’s often hard to stop and escalate.

With new technicians, it will often take a little time before the eWot becomes part of their workflow.

Heck, even a seasoned technician needs a gentle reminder of it on a regular basis.

Technicians pride themselves on being smart.

Technicians pride themselves on being good problem solvers.

But the one thing technicians don’t do so well is to solve problems quickly and resourcefully.

And so The eWot lives on.

Getting On The Escalator

As part of the eWot training, we also explain what some escalation options are.

For example…

An escalation can be done by calling a vendor.

Or an escalation can be done by asking a coworker.

Asking your supervisor for help is fair game as well.

The key is that you escalate as you can but--no sooner than is needed.

Escalations are your friend.

An ego is your enemy.

At the end of the day tech support is about--people helping people.

It’s about solving end-user requests in a timely manner.

With a smile on your face.

And a good attitude.

People helping people.

That’s the ticket.

And so, there you have it.

The lesson of The eWot.