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Thoughts from Support Group: Building a Support System for Good Reporting



Last Thursday’s Support Group was amazing, thanks to the wonderful insights of Turner Yevich. He shared with us his thoughts on how to build a support system in Zendesk so that it provides companies with vital information for improving their product and their service to customers. Here’s an overview of what we learned:


Why Reports are Important:

Most people who work outside of customer support don’t understand the goldmine of knowledge that exists in the support department. Customer Support is where businesses connect directly to customers, and those engagements provide the best possible insight into how people feel about their products or services. But if there’s no way to communicate this information to the people who could benefit from it, then that wonderful trove of knowledge is wasted. That’s where reports come in.

Reports are the link that gets this data to the rest of the company. They package all of the information gathered by customer support and package it into a form that is digestible for the rest of the company. Good reports show engineers what needs to be improved. They provide marketers with customer insight that can be used for successful advertising campaigns. They offer company presidents and CEOs with data that can be used to make better decisions. To put it simply, Good reports provide companies with the information they need to better serve their community and healthily grow their business.


Good Reports Start with Tagging:

The start of all reports is in the tagging system that’s established in your help desk. Tags are essentially words attached to support tickets that can later be used to generate data. Reports in Zendesk are based upon the tags that you create, which means that the key to pulling the data you want rests in how well you develop the tags you want to use. While every desk is different, Turner recommends that all desks have at LEAST the following tags:

The account tag is used for anything related to a user’s account. This includes issues like password changes, closing accounts, and password resets. Most of the time, these tickets are resolved in a single response (Tier 1). Tagging tickets related to these issues provides information regarding the productivity of specific agents and can also point to trends regarding recurring issues. These tickets also provide metrics regarding daily active users, which is a crucial stat for any service-based product.

The feedback/feature tag is designated to tickets that contain feature requests or product complaints from the community. Items included in this list may include bugs/glitches in the product, desired additions or modifications to the product design, or issues that make the product difficult or unpleasant to use. Generally, there are two different categories that these tickets fall into: emotional and technical. Emotional tickets communicate customer feelings towards the product, but don’t often provide specifics on the issue itself. Technical tickets come from individuals who have taken the time to layout very detailed reports of the issue, but don’t usually express how it has made them feel. Both are important, as they offer great insight into how people are reacting to your products.

The data these tickets provide can help engineers quickly fix bugs as well as plan for new features that will grow the user-base. In these cases, the detailed reports are most helpful. Emotional tickets help both executives and marketers, to better understand the audience and what they want or need from the product.

Troubleshooting tickets include anything that provides steps or processes for fixing an issue. These tickets are usually the result of an individual’s inability to properly use a product or service for reasons other than bugs/glitches.

This data is helpful for both developers and executives to understand where the pain points are in the product. By analyzing the trends of troubleshooting tickets, it’s possible to determine what aspects are most difficult for users.

This tag is used for internal processes. If a company wants to track certain types of tickets (spam, for example), this tag can be used to do that. It’s an excellent tag for providing an overview of the categories of tickets that the help desk receives.

The miscellaneous tag is used for data that is specific to your company. Any unique data, issues, or tickets that you want to track can be built into this tag. Some possible tags that fall into this category are mobile, returns, product care, etc. These tags depend entirely on the specific needs of your business.

Creating the Tags:

Here comes the tricky part: knowing what tags to create. The key to this is first to decide what information you want to collect from your customer support. Do you want to know how many daily users you have? Do you want stats about particular features? Every company will have a set of tags unique to their needs; however, there’s one thing that all companies should establish: Every macro should have at least two tags. At the most basic level, two tags are needed to create valuable metrics and data. First, there should be a tag for the specific product. This will allow for reporting on specific products. Second, there needs to be a tag that points to the specific issue (account issue, bug, etc…). This will allow you to learn about the specific needs of your community.

Whatever tags you decide to go with, remember this: Be careful. It’s easy to get excited and go tag crazy, labeling every tiny facet of your macros with categories to feed you information. It may seem like a good idea, but too many tags can actually make it difficult to find the information you really need. Make sure your system works for your needs, and don’t bog your desk with unnecessary information.


Using the Reports:

All of this data can be exciting and wonderful, but don’t forget that a report with no context is absolutely useless. Reports are just compilations of raw data. That data needs to be analyzed to have value. It’s up to your support team to provide that analysis, and use the reports as a way to highlight the issues. Don’t assume that engineers or CEOs will do this for you; they’re extremely busy, and don’t necessarily have time to try to decipher a set of data with which they are unfamiliar.

Giving your reports the proper context will ensure that your reports help improve the work of your company, and provides a higher level of care to your customers.

We’d like to thank Turner for sharing his knowledge with us. We hope that it’s useful to all of you out there in the Customer Support world. Our next support group will be at the beginning of the new year. Thanks to everyone who participated, and we hope to see you next time!


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