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The Call for assistance screen

 

 
The Call for assistance function appears in the Qutilities menu whenever a question is open. It brings up the screen shown above.

You can use this screen to send a message to the staff members that you select by placing ticks in the To: column.  The tick box on the header bar for each location can be used to easily select all staff in that location (you can then untick individuals in that location).

This is a highly useful function that you might use to solicit help from a specific RefTracker staff user, or a number of them, that you suspect might have information to help you with the answer. It can also be used by the allocated staff member to ask other staff to perform sub-tasks in relation to this question, allowing more than one person to work on a question.

Because Call for assistance can be used by anyone, and the call comes from the staff member who sent it not the allocated staff member – this function can also be used by managers to suggest to certain staff that they might like to claim the question.

When you send a Call for assistance the status of the question will be updated to "Called for assistance".  This will ensure that the status of the question, that shows in the Open questions screen, indicates that a call has been made.

The selected staff receive/s an email with your message in an email template that provides instructions that they should reply using their email reply function.  If they use "Reply" the allocated staff member will receive their response as the reply will come back to RefTracker and be applied as an update to that question.  If they use "Reply all" then all staff copied on the call will also receive their response - staff should use "reply all" if others need to know about their response such as if they are claiming the question.

When a response arrives the status of the question will move to "Updated by staff" showing anyone who views it in the Open questions screen, that that the "Call for assistance" has been responded to.  The allocated staff member will be advised by email that the reply to the the Call for assistance has been received, so they can then go on with working on the question.

 

This screen starts with a Question summary that will also show the name of any staff member to whom this question is already allocated.

Type your request for assistance into the Instructions field and select the staff member, or members, that you want to call to go to.  If you select more than one staff member, all selected staff will see who the call has gone to (in the To: field of the Call for assistance email they receive), and all will see the response (if sent as a "Reply all" email), making this a good way to have staff collaboratively contribute to the resolution of a question.  You can send multiple individual Call for assistance's, if you do not want each request to be private.

The Instructions field is QuickText enabled.

Then click on Save/Send

A record that this Call for assistance was sent will be placed in the History file for this question.

An email will be sent to the staff member/s that you selected, clearly indicating your request, that the request is from you, and providing details of the question or task you need assistance with. Although yours may be different, it is usual for the email sent to your selected staff to provide links to some RefTracker functions for access to that question, but the instructions will clearly say that staff should respond by email.  If they use email "Reply", the response will go to the allocated staff member (if the "Call for assistance is" a request to perform a sub-task, staff should reply to let the allocated staff member know that they have completed the task).  If they use email "Reply all" all copied staff will see their response so it provides a good way to collaborate between a number of staff especially where the "call for assistance" was a solicitation.

When an allocated staff member asks for help with a sub-task, they might ask that the result of the sub-task be sent back by email, or they might ask that it be added to the Answer field (with a note about which content is from you). If you add content to the Answer field, make sure you send an email reply to the Call for assistance when your work is complete as this will tell the allocated staff member that it is complete and it will remove the "Called for assistance" status from the question in the Open questions screen.


Exercise

Pick a question from the Open questions screen and try using this screen to send a message to one or more of your colleagues e.g. "Just a test – but I could have been asking for your valuable guidance on how to research this question." (don't forget that you can use QuickText in this field).

Select the colleague(s) that you want to send the email to by ticking the box to the left of their name(s).

Click on Save/Send , and your request for assistance will be sent to the selected staff member/s using a preformatted email template.

The email sent by Call for assistance

 

This is an example of the email sent to the staff that you select using Call for assistance. Yours may look a little different if your system administrator has defined a differently laid out template.

It automatically includes your contact details so the selected staff can contact you directly if necessary.

Note that recipients of "Call for assistance" are asked to use their email Reply function to respond, your reply will be imported as an update to the question, and the allocated staff member will be advised by email that the update has arrived. (In the unlikely event that this email is not received, Email importing for the service email address may have been interrupted).

The links to this question in RefTracker are provided in this email tempalte for convenience because the recipient may have been asked to add their contribution to the Answer field.  If they add content to the Answer field they should reply to this "Call for assistance" email to let the allocated staff member know when their contribution is complete.  They might also use these links to record that a requested action has been taken (by adding a Workflow Note).

 

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