Your customer support reps have just put in a long day answering a deluge of phone calls and producing trouble tickets, or incident reports, along the way. Some of those get closed immediately after being opened because the issue was resolved on the first call and your product was not defective which would then require a more comprehensive resolution.
What about the rest? When do the rest of those incident tickets get closed?
Of course, it depends a lot on what the ticket is about. If there is a major issue with your product, it may take some time to resolve. Once resolution is reached all tickets related to the issue must be closed. But do you know which ones those are?
Then there are those tickets left open for followup. But do you know which ones those are and when they can be closed? Or do they get buried behind newer tickets like Twitter posts that travel down the page until you can’t find them anymore after a couple of hours?
What if an incident was worked on by more than one person? Is there any way to tell who is responsible for that ticket? Or will it get thrown around like a hot potato between participants because nobody wants to claim it?
Can you tell from the tickets opened today and over the course of time whether there is a trend in any important metric, such as products breaking down earlier than product testing indicates it might? Or how many days tickets are remaining open that should have been closed?
Maybe you call this ticket tracking or incident tracking. Or maybe you use a different term for reports of a problem with a product. Whatever you may call the process, you need to be able to know where a ticket is and how many tickets about the same problem are open. You need to be able to assign a ticket to someone who is then responsible for it until it is closed. Your CSRs need a way to remember to go back and close tickets that were left for followup. Plus you would probably like to gather some metrics such as number of tickets older than 7 days or how many widgets are cracking in the franistan right after installation.
These are just a few of the problems that can occur when you do not have software developed specifically for customer service and support. A spreadsheet may tell you the answer to some of these. If you run multiple applications to cover all required activities of customer support, you might be able to get some reports easily while others cannot be extracted. If you are trying to keep track manually….well, let’s just say that after a particular point this becomes impossible.
A good customer service and support software solution can track each incident from open to close. Multiple tickets about the same issue can be grouped together into a larger project and be automatically closed all at once at resolution. An alert can be set on a ticket as a reminder to come back and close it at a later date or to remind of a needed followup call. An incident is always assigned to a specific person and that assignment changed whenever there is a change in the person or department working on it.
Additionally it can generate reports on just about any permutation of ticket tracking and trending possible. Issue trending, ticket aging, and tickets opened per CSR can be put into a report. In some instances, a dashboard with real time information on these tickets is available.
Too expensive you think? How much money is being lost in unproductive time spent trying to find where the tickets are, what the issues are, and who is responsible? How much is being lost from customers leaving because their needs are not being met when CSRs must put them on hold or call them back because information is not available? And, heaven forbid, if a regulatory agency should ask for records which cannot be reliably produced, how much might the fine be?
Makes the software seem quite a bit more reasonable, doesn’t it? If the software is offered over the web in a delivery model called Software as a Service (SaaS) a good portion of the up front costs are eliminated. In fact, it may even be possible to subscribe to that software directly from a developer’s website. As with everything, even customer service and support software vendors must exhibit the customer support you need to get started and to take care of any questions or problems (not all of them drink their own koolade).
Do some research. Decide what problems you need the software to help solve. Lock down your requirements. Then go to Capterra or other software catalog site that has reviews and look the different solutions over. There is certainly no shortage of websites that give advice on how to find the right solution. So get out there and take control of your tickets.
What? Are you still here? Get going before your competition gets the customer support software message.