It might seem that, in a relatively small office where everyone is within easy speaking distance, there would be little need, or utility, for an email like service. Particularly when Callsheets can be used as a vehicle for passing small notes or requests (at least between office personnel), the idea of still another communicative method might seem redundant. However, even if you have only a boss and secretary working in the same room, and only one outside technician, you're likely to find that ServiceDesk Email is one of your favorite tools.


Suppose you have a general announcement you want to make about an upcoming event or opportunity, or announcing a change in policy, or reminding of the importance of an existing policy, or congratulating for exceptional performance, or anything of the sort. You could post a paper note on a wall some place for everyone to read, but some might not see it, and besides, you have to compose and print or write the note, tape or pin it up, and so on. You could try to speak with each individual personally, but that's even more work. Instead, you can casually compose your message in E-Mail, and then with a single command instantly generate an electronic copy for each person in your organization. These copies will then appear for reading at each person's station (in regard to the tech's, each of their particular copies will appear as they individually check-in). And the copies will remain posted at these stations until deleted by their recipients, assuring that each has full opportunity to read and understand. Each has the further opportunity, moreover, to address his or her own E-Mail reply back to you (or to send their own original email if desired).

Of course, some announcements may be appropriate for your technicians only (i.e., they're not in regard to anything your office personnel need be concerned with). Maybe there's a new solution for a particular kind of repair, for example, and you'd like to share it with your technicians. No problem. ServiceDesk Email can be addressed simply to "All-Technicians," thus creating a copy for each of them, and no copies for anyone else. Similarly, you can easily address a message to just office personnel (thus generating a copy for each of them), and not to your technicians.

More typically for Email, there are obviously many times you need to communicate a matter to one individual. If that person is in the office with you at the moment the matter arises, it may be easiest to just talk. But if it's a technician who's presently out in the field, or an office person who's off-shift or sick while you have the subject in mind, it may be easier to compose a note. This allows you to clear your mind of the subject, knowing the information is safely in transit to the intended recipient. Even if you need to discuss something extensive and in person with someone not presently in the office, you can clear your mind substantially by sending them an E-mail message requesting that, when they are next in the office, they bring up the subject for discussion with you.

Indeed, in many cases we have found there are questions we need to ask a technician regarding some job. It used to be that we'd make a mental or paper note to ask him when he was next in the office. But during the few minutes after he next arrived, we'd either be busy on the phone or simply forget, and he'd leave with the question still unasked. Sometimes this cycle repeated several times, the frustration level increasing with each. With E-Mail, you have an obvious and automatic solution.

There are two different ServiceDesk contexts from which E-Mail may be created or read: one is for office personnel, the other for technicians.

In the first context, ServiceDesk once again makes ancillary use, on behalf of office personnel, of the TechInterface form (we also use it, as you may recall, as a secondary venue for conducting CstmrDbase searches from the office, see page 209). To load this form and simultaneously request its E-Mail feature, press Ctrl-F12. If there is any mail pending for you (a fact you should have already been made aware of, based on a flashing message in the MainMenu title bar, and a corresponding breep, breep sound), it will be displayed. If there is no mail pending, you'll be presented with a blank sheet of paper (at least the computer's best representation thereof), ready for composing your own E-Mail. In any case, it's easy to conduct whatever E-Mail business you may desire.

In the technician-use context, operations of E-Mail are pretty much the same. The difference is that the TechInterface form comes up automatically out of the Window/Tech-mode (that you'll presumably have that particular station set to), by the tech's simple press of any key. After he then provides his own TechInitials as requested by the form, the system searches for any mail addressed to him (including his copy of any mail that was addressed globally). Of course, it displays any mail so found, and he can reply or initiate any mail he wants as well. Much as in the office context, a technician should normally delete his own mail after reading it.

In regard to deleting your E-Mail, we found many users felt the need to keep a permanent record of all email activity. This enables the owner/manager to snoop on employee communications, if desired, but more importantly, allows you to check back to confirm some detail of past communication, resurrect a policy statement or general advisory (to possibly send out again), and even maintains some sense of history for your organization. In early versions of ServiceDesk, discarded E-Mails were, in fact, lost, but we've since amended the system, adding a new directory appropriately called 'OldMail' (look for it at 'c:\sd\oldmail'). Basically, when any email item is discarded, a copy is moved into this directory. The copy is named for the date on which it was discarded, followed by a an extension indicating the sequence of discards on that date (i.e., the second E-Mail discarded on 4/22/18 would have the following file name: '042218.002'). These files may be loaded into and read from any word processing program. If you want to re-use any portion of a letter, simply copy it into the Windows clipboard, then paste it into your new E-Mail.