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Developing a Communication Workflow For Your Help Desk

The MessageCommunication is the core of what we do here at The Yeomen. We communicate with our clients, we communicate with our team members, and we communicate with our client’s customers. It’s SUPER important that the flow of communication happens smoothly among these three groups of people.  

If you work in customer support, you are very well aware of the importance of communication. You also know that there is a lot that needs to be communicated. On any given day you need to know what problems are arising, why they are happening, and what the solutions or responses are when people write to your support about them.

At the same time, you’re gathering information from your support queue about new issues/problems customers are facing, and find solutions or responses to those problems. New problems that arise have to be documented so that the entire team is aware and prepared for handling the subsequent incoming support tickets.

As you can see – there’s a lot of communication that goes into handling support. So the question is, how do you keep up? Here are some documents and workflows you should be using to manage the large amounts of communication you will handle as a support team.

Internal Documents

Current Support Issues

This document is a collection of the current issues being reported by customers, listed from most to least recent and should be read daily by the team. It should be written in detail with recent changes, description of the issues, current solutions/possible solutions to the problem, special instructions, appropriate action steps for agents to follow, etc. This important document should be updated and maintained on a regular basis.

Emerging Issues/Acknowledged Issues/Archived Issues

You should also keep a detailed log of issues as they arise and as they are resolved. These issues should flow through your tables from emerging (new or arising issues) to acknowledged (known or common issues) to archived (resolved/fixed).

Support Grid

Your Support Grid is a collection of workflows for all of the most frequent issues and requests you receive from customers. Each workflow should include a name, a description from the customers’ perspective, the issue-specific action steps for agents, and instructions for escalations, when applicable. Be sure you thoroughly label and/or tag appropriately for organization and search purposes.

Macros

A macro (short for “macroinstruction”), allows short sequences of keystrokes to be transformed into other, usually more time-consuming, sequences of keystrokes. This allows frequently used or repetitive sequences (aka responses) of keystrokes to be automated. Customer support teams use macros for repetitive responses in order to save time. That being said, macros should be for common, easy to answer questions and your responses should always be personalized. You cannot and should not use macros to run your support desk.

Your support team should have a macros document that contains every macro used in the help desk on a given project. In it, should be the macro name used in the help desk and a code for firing the associated snippet. You should also list the content of each macro (the message it generates in your reply to the customer), and the labels/tags that each macro populates automatically when fired.

Again, macros are for saving time, not for automating your help desk. Use them to be efficient and not as a crutch.

Other Internal Docs

These are any other docs you create to facilitate team/customer communication. They tend to arise from questions or concerns generated from patterns that you yourself (and/or your teammates) observe in ticket traffic. For example, you may want to gather data for packaging a bug, to find out whether a given issue is platform or OS-specific. These docs will generally be created out of necessity, and they will often link to a particular snippet that you have created specifically, on a moment’s notice, to help gather information.  

External Documents

A big part of communicating with customers is within your help section. These self-service options are just as important to maintain as your internal documents.

FAQ

As new questions become more frequently asked, you’ll need to document those questions and their answers and add them to your FAQ section.

Knowledge Base

Beyond the FAQ is your Help Section or Knowledge base. This is where customers should be able to find answers to everything related to your product or service. Be it functionality, terminology, instructions, etc. These documents are crucial and should be updated everytime there is a change.

WIKI / Forum

You should also update all information found on public wikis or wikis that live on your website as well as forums where your users are congregating.

There you have it, a communication workflow that will help you stay on top of your support desk, be more efficient, and allow you to blow your customers away with great customer service.

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