A friend of mine once told me “Rules are made for those that follow” and never was that more true than in my current support role. IBM has a support handbook that outlines a definition to follow when assigning a severity to your ticket. In an ideal world, customers would take that guide a bit more to heart when selecting the severity of their issue.

In practice I have found, there are customers that set their severity to 1 simply to ensure someone will spend dedicated time with them. Is that really fair to other customers who accurately assess the severity of their problem? Other customers seem to wield the severity 1 almost as a threat. In a similar vain, a problem that has been happening for weeks – perhaps worsening along the way – is just as irksome. Yes, we’re a support organization but there are practices that make you either a joy or a pain to work with and the inappropriate use of the severity 1 puts you in the latter category.

A word of caution – if you set your severity to 1 you had better be ready to be just as available, just as dedicated and invested as we are in resolving your issue. This actually holds true for the other severity levels.