Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reader Comment 09-21-10 Tracking FAQs

Yesterday an anonymous reader commented on an older post where I described the new CFATS Knowledge Center web page. Along with cogent comments about my blog post (read – agreed with me) Anonymous had a valuable suggestion that I would like to pass on since I know that there are some DHS-ISCD readers of this blog.

Question Sorting FAQs

Anonymous wrote: “. I'd sure like to see the FAQs in the future contain a reference to the specific numbered question one would find in the information gathering processes of Registration, Top-Screen, SVA, and SSP; eg [Q:7.005-14425] from the SSP questions.”

The average CSAT user looking for information will typically be working on one of the many submissions that are the heart of the CSAT system. Their questions will most likely be keyed to a specific question that they are being to answer in those submissions. Being able to enter that Question Number as a search term will make the search for the information they seek that much easier.

Now I understand that the FAQ listed on this page do not cover all of the questions. Since there are only 422 FAQ currently listed and there are more like a bazillion questions in all of the CSAT tools, it is obvious that most questions don’t have an associated FAQ. This is actually a good thing; it means that the vast majority of the questions are written clearly enough that there are no questions about the information that ISCD is looking for.

Question Numbers on Questions

We can extend that suggestion to the web form that DHS provides for CSAT users to submit questions to the Help Desk. If the Help Desk Web Form were to be slightly modified to include a field for CSAT question numbers, it would help to facilitate question searching of the FAQ.

More importantly it would also make it easier to actually address the information need of the questioner. Very few people are trained to write effective questions. When those questions are asked live to Help Desk personnel on the phone, clarifying questions can be asked in return to allow for a more effective answer to the CSAT User. This is more difficult to do when the question is submitted via the web form. With the CSAT Question identified on the form, it will make it easier for the Help Desk personnel to accurately answer the question that is really being asked.

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