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The Study Hall

Instructure Support: Getting Ready for Back-to-School 2021

Back to school is once again upon us. Time has flown by! I think about this same time last year when we were all preparing for a school year, unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. As a Support Team, we tried our best to address the unprecedented volume and needs that surfaced due to the pandemic. We are preparing to be even better this year, focusing on response times and making high-quality resolutions.

As you prepare for back-to-school, I want to highlight a few key improvements and changes that have been made to support you.

Quality Response from the Entire Instructure Organization

Paramount to your success is our ability to respond to your questions and solve your problems quickly and thoroughly. Our team has revamped the training and development of existing and new support agents from the ground up. This work began in January 2021 and has already positively impacted how we respond to your needs. We have brought in seasonal staffing to meet the anticipated increase in volume better. We have also re-engineered how we work with other departments, like our Product organization, allowing us to serve you better. And finally, we will be inviting everyone at Instructure to respond to your support inquiries during our peak days in August and early September (yes, we are forecasting when those will be well in advance) to make sure we have as many helpful hands on your tickets as possible.

Refreshed Support Terms & Response Times

As part of our collection of Support improvements, we recently refreshed our Support Terms. In the past, we referred to our response times as Service Level Agreements (SLAs). We are replacing SLAs with “Targeted Initial Response” to reduce confusion. Many of our customers confused our previous SLAs with our system uptime SLAs. To distinguish these two and, more importantly, to emphasize time to initial response, we will now be describing our timeliness using Target Initial Response. You can find all of the details on our website, to which your contracts refer. Some customers have specific and unique Support terms in their contracts, which we will continue to honor.

We have updated our Targeted Initial Response times to reflect our goal of achieving a first response within a 5-minute time frame (For Tier 1 & Faculty Tier 1+ 24x7 chat and phones) and 1-12 hours for email/webform, depending upon your chosen support plan. Our goal is always to deliver a quality response that results in faster time to issue resolution versus simply aiming to provide a quick first response, which was the emphasis of our original SLAs. We strongly believe that this goal of timeliness and quality will make a difference in your success.

Free Instructional Design Coaching With Panda Pros

With our focus on delivering a quality experience, our inaugural Panda Pros program has arrived! We now offer educators 1:1 coaching on Instructure tools (like Canvas, MasteryConnect, Pathways, and Outcomes Assessment) from our Panda Pros throughout the Fall. These 25-minute coaching sessions are available for FREE to all of your instructors and should help balance “how do I?” questions with the ongoing technical needs you may have. For more details, check out this blog post, and to sign up, click here.

This is just a snapshot of the great, impactful changes we have made to prepare you for Back-to-School 2021. That said, the world is an unpredictable place. We ask that you help us prepare for the incoming rush in a few ways:

  • Check out the new Community site restructure and share it with your instructors and students. Our focus with the revamp was to get self-help resources into the hands of your instructors as quickly and easily as possible.
  • If you are a Tier 1 customer, review the IVR in place for your school and suggest edits to manage users’ questions and needs better. If you don’t have one, chat with your CSM, as they can help set one up. IVRs help ensure your users get routed to the right source of help from the outset.
  • Additionally, if you are a Tier 1 customer, please work with your CSM to understand your instructors and students’ most common questions. Your CSM can help you devise a plan to address this in partnership with our incredible Support team proactively.

Lastly, remember our hearts and heads are focused on supporting you. We are sending healthy vibes to everyone, along with asking for patience and love.

I cannot thank you enough for your continued support and partnership! Should you ever want to discuss any of this or provide any feedback, do not hesitate to reach out to me at traci.moes@instructure.com.

Keep Learning,
Traci