Customer Service

Can you afford to make your customer wait until Monday morning?

By Hoyt Mann

Feeling unaccountably nostalgic for the old times (back in the early 90's), I started to compare the customer support software of then to what is available now. To give a frame of reference, the support software I remember was a home grown package of differing applications between departments, with an impossible to use customer search function, no functionality for macros, and it didn't even feature word wrap. The screen was your basic green text on a black background. Customer support used one software, field support another, regulatory yet a third.....and none of them were integrated. In fact, they all tracked the same issue using a different ID number. Upshot - no way to consolidate knowledge, no way to track customer issues with any accuracy, no way to gather the entire record on a specific customer. And ALL customer support took place by phone or physical visit to the customer site.

If this sounds like the type of customer support software you still endure, those days can and should be over. Customer support software has come a long way baby and so have methods of offering that support to the customer 24/7 while decreasing call volumes, increasing first call resolution, and keeping the whole customer record intact, complete, and accessible for creating reports, knowledgebases, and maintaining compliance.

Phaseware Tracker and its Event Engine and Self Service Center enhancements is one example of what is now available to streamline customer support or help desk workflows.

PhaseWare Tracker is a powerful, affordable customer-support and help-desk application built on Microsoft industry standards. It is ideal for external help desks and customer support groups with incoming calls, internal help desks supporting applications in outlying locations or offices, and businesses with complex products and services that require ongoing customer interaction.

To help you create a unique customer experience, Tracker lets you view detailed customer information with the click of a button; efficiently manage incidents, trouble tickets, and work orders; determine historical trends; and analyze recurring issues . Track your Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance and receive automatic alerts when you are about to miss an SLA. Use e-mail as well as phone to capture customer issues and allow the customer and support team to track the status of a trouble ticket. You can even gather a group of similar incidents into a parent issue to work all the tickets at once and close them simultaneously.

The Event Engine is integrated with Tracker to monitor your customer data and activities for automated actions. Priority tickets can be escalated automatically according to certain criteria. Tickets can be managed automatically, with no intervention needed. The Event Engine offers another avenue to create or update trouble tickets or to close them.

My favorite, the Self Service Center, lets your customers help themselves. A secure portal allows access to a knowledgebase of whatever you specify: FAQs, software downloads, fixes, and updates... the list is endless and is completely searchable. Your customers can create their own tickets or track the status of existing issues. All without intervention by a customer support tech who now has the time to deal with the more challenging problems. No longer does that support tech need to answer a call only to find the customer merely needs to update their phone number or find out the latest software revision number.

And Field Service can take Tracker on the road with them! An enhancement called TechWeb offers them the ability to enter and use information just as if they were sitting at a computer in the office. All departments interacting with this information can stay on the same page because the same page is being shown to everyone from in-house support, to field support, to upper level support and the compliance manager. It's all right there, customer information, issues and incidents, SLA information, contacts, autoescalation, and numerous methods of communicating to all departments and to the customer.

And I even like the color. Screens are easily customized any way you like. Goodbye green and black, whatever you like.

Granted, PhaseWare is not the only software that does these things. But it has an elegant simplicity that makes installation, integration, and training a breeze. And the price is right.

About the Author
Hoyt Mann
PhaseWare President and Co-Founder

Tags: PhaseWare, Self Service Center, Tracker

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