Building a Solid Ticketing System

Dawn Smith Bradney, Director, Customer Support and Audit, McKesson
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Dawn Smith Bradney, Director, Customer Support and Audit, McKesson

Every day we receive a number of emails from vendors explaining why each of their products are a must have for our business. And even though it is easy to just delete them and move on, I read them and determine if it’s a must have, nice to have or not needed. Must haves and nice to haves are then researched more and next steps are determined from there. The reason I bring this up is because it is very easy to discount what is needed in a support organization. Let’s think about this for a moment, your support organization is the face of your business. They are who engages with your customers in their times of need or when they are most frustrated with your product. The tools that you provide to your support organization are critical in the customer experience and can be the difference between them maintaining their relationship with you or transitioning to a competitor. I want to be clear though, this doesn’t mean you should buy any and every tool out there. You need to assess the needs of your organization and the needs of your customers. 

  ​It is extremely important to gather all your requirements for your ticketing system and prioritize the features it has along with its ability to be customized   

Let’s break down some of the needs of your call center. The obvious starting point to your technology needs for your support organization is the ticketing system. This tool needs the ability to show cases by customer, track the days to close and the minutes per incident. If your agents do not easily have the ability to see the cases recently opened by that customer, it can create frustration for that customer. They could be calling in multiple times with the same issue, repeating their issue time and again just for an update, or feels like you don’t understand their history or involvement with your company. Minutes per incident is key in your forecasting. Some systems will track it by the total minutes the case was open. But for accurate forecasting, it should only be the actual time that the case was actively worked by the agent. If you are an organization that has cases open for a long period of time or are supporting businesses, you will want a ticketing system that the customer can access it to review their open or closed cases. Additional items you may need are reminder notification, follow up flags, SLA indicators, PII masking, the ability to add manager comments, and so on. The point I am trying to make here is that it is extremely important to gather all your requirements for your ticketing system and prioritize the features it has along with its ability to be customized. If you have a ticketing system in place, don’t assume it is the right one. Do your due diligence and assess your current system against your requirements. Your ticketing system is your foundation and needs to be solid.

The next tools you look at are all going to be dependent upon your needs. The important thing to consider next is how they are implemented. You could have the best intentions and provide your call center with the perfect ticketing system, the perfect knowledge base, the perfect tool for executing your customers request or maybe it’s the perfect three tools for executing their request. You shouldn’t have to worry about how many tools you are providing your call center. Your implementation of those tools should be in such a way that they don’t realize how many different tools they are using. The tools should integrate together with speed and ease of use. This might require development on your part, but it will be beneficial in the long run. Another reminder is that no one wants to contact support. So if you have the opportunity to develop tools for your customers to be self-sufficient, then you should. Changing a credit card on their account, changing an auto order date, or initiating a refund should all be things that a customer should be able to do on their own. If you are forcing a customer to contact support in order to make a basic change then you are at risk of losing that customer.

If you are a high volume call center that has repeat calls, there are new tools out there that are about mapping the customers tone or past behaviors to an agent that is more compatible with their personality. This is a concept that is very intriguing to me. Being routed to an agent that will be a better fit for me sounds absolutely ideal. But we have to first make sure that our policies and procedures allow them to be the best they can be too. Recently I was on a call with a support agent that did not have the authority to issue me a refund for a flower delivery. The support agent called me to tell me that they were not able to deliver the flowers on the date I selected and paid the premium fee. The agent was able to offer me a new date with no delivery charge or a discount on a different order but those options did not work for me. So my request was to just cancel my order but the agent could not execute that request and had to get a manager to do it. So it wouldn’t matter if I was routed to an agent that was a better fit for my personality if the processes are not allowing him to fulfill all the expected requests. As a business you really need to make sure you are not putting too many restrictions on your agents. Allow them the rights they need to serve your customers and put the back end monitoring in place to stop abuse. Your customers will appreciate it!!

Overall as leaders in your businesses, it is important to invest the right resources in your support organization. Consider having an individual focused on the strategy for your support technologies. This will allow them to research the trends and assess them to the needs of the business and your customers. If you don’t feel this is necessary or you think you have the adequate technologies to support your customers, then do a little due diligence. Spend some time shadowing your support agents in person to see what they experience while working with a customer or contact your own support with a real issue and see what your customers experience. What is the wait time like, how much effort is it for the customer to get the issue resolved, and would you recommend this business based on your experience with their support organization? All of these things will have a future impact on your customers buying decisions so it’s worth the time to find out for yourself.

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