Support managers typically serve two significant yet distinct roles: ensuring a quality customer experience and managing a team. These functions require setting up and maintaining helpdesk/ticketing technology as well as establishing and analyzing department metrics. UserVoice allows me, as Head of Support, to fulfill these requirements quickly, efficiently, and painlessly!

Setting Up and Maintaining My Helpdesk

Managing Channels

Inbound tickets can come from various channels, such as chat, email, phone, contact forms, etc. I handle all of these from within the UserVoice Admin Console.

Email Forwarding—Users can email us directly at a dedicated support email address. I have set up email forwarding so that this email gets passed to the helpdesk. Check out How does a customer’s email make it into the helpdesk? for full instructions.

Phone—Some customers prefer the old fashioned “pick up the phone and call” approach. We make it easy to create a ticket manually: How do I create a ticket for a customer?

Chat—We now integrate with Zopim and SnapEngage, meaning that any live chat transcript can become a ticket. For more information, check out Zopim integration.

Contact Form/Widget—We provide a fully hosted feedback site with a contact form that sends tickets directly to our helpdesk. This has a number of benefits over email: ticket text is cross-referenced with our existing knowledge base (allowing customers to get their own answers instantly without having to send in a ticket, which can reduce tickets up to 40%, and system information such as browser and OS versions is available. A mini version of this is accessible from our own site in the form of a pop-up widget:

UserVoice Feedback Widget

CRMs and Other Integrations—Using our API and Service Hooks, UserVoice tickets can be integrated with SalesForce, SugarCRM, and really any third-party web-based product or service.

Customer Identification

Support agents frequently don’t know anything about the customer writing in. While we firmly believe that all customers should be given the same amount of love, it can be extremely valuable to know something about the person contacting me. Perhaps this is the CEO of a large and influential company, or perhaps I may have actually met this person but don’t recognize her name. With theInspector sidebar gadgets, I get a ton of information about who exactly is seeking help:

Admin Console Inspector

Routing Tickets

Since I have multiple team members answering tickets, it’s important to be able to ensure those tickets get to the right place.

To automatically route tickets with certain conditions (such as text in the subject or body, or sent to a particular channel, or flagged by the customer with a certain custom field), I set up rules that trigger when a ticket is first received. I created my own custom queues, such as sales, support, and voicemail, so our various team members can go directly to a pre-sorted bucket of open tickets. Of course, not all tickets can be routed automatically, so I’ll assign or re-assign from the queues as needed.

Another great way to manage a large queue (say I come in Monday morning and have to quickly suss out which tickets need an immediate response and which can wait a bit longer) is to create a “High Priority” queue. After going through all unsorted tickets, my team and I will know which to tackle first.

Knowledge Base Articles and Canned Responses

This is all about improving response time (or eliminating the need for a response altogether). Simply put: document everything! I try to have an article written for every feature, and I make sure the title contains the keywords that might be searched for. If I’m writing an article about single sign-on, I’ll include both the abbreviation and the full name. e.g. “How do I set up SSO (single sign-on).”

These articles can either be linked within the ticket reply or inserted as a canned response. If I or one of my team members has written a really good response to a question, I’ll go back and save it as a canned response. While we don’t want to sound like machines answering questions, it’s always nice to have a template that can be easily called up, to make sure each response hits all the right notes and to save the agent from always writing the same thing again and again.

Using UserVoice to Manage a Support Team

Monthly Analytics

At the end of each month, I like to see how my department is doing. How has the volume been? What are people writing in about? How effective are our knowledge base articles? Are my team members responding quickly and getting kudos? I get all of this within our Admin Console.

The Helpdesk Report (accessible by going to Analytics → Helpdesk Report) tells me how many tickets I received that month and which channel(s) those tickets are coming from. I immediately see how this compared to the prior month, as well as how the custom fields I’ve set up are trending in comparison (perhaps I’m getting 42% more tickets about the iOS app—in that scenario I could deduce that new features are causing a lot of confusion). Furthermore, I can look at all my knowledge base articles and see how many of each are being presented to an end-user when she searches or starts writing in a support ticket. Perhaps even more valuable, I see how many of those articles, when clicked, actually kept her from contacting support (meaning she was able to find the answer for herself thanks to a well-written article!):

Admin Console Helpdesk Report

The leaderboard, while a fun way to promote friendly competition between team members, also shows me some good information about how my agents are performing. I see their ticket volume, how many of the responses met our target response time of one hour or less (a “quick reply” on the board) and how many kudos each person is getting (while kudo rate is by no means scientific—I’ve had customers say to me “kudos, Ted!” but not given me an actual kudo!)—over time it can give you a good idea of an agent’s friendliness and helpfulness:

Leaderboard

Training New Hires

A little trick I use when training a new member of my team is to utilize the notes feature. Rather than having the agent respond directly to the customer, I’ll ask him to craft his response as a note. This way I can review it with him before he sends out the final copy (since notes are viewable only by admins and not by the end-user).

Admin Console Sidebar—Tickets

Monitoring Tickets

Sometimes I’ll want to see how particular agents are doing, whether it’s reading over their tickets (especially for new hires) or getting a sense of how many open or closed tickets they have. With saved searches, I create such custom search parameters and save them for easy access. I even see how many tickets there are in each search query (for example, if I want to see how many tickets Andrew has open) just by glancing at the sidebar.

So there you have it! I hope I was able to give you some insight into how UserVoice can be used to run a support department. We’re constantly evolving, and if you have any suggestions, feature requests, etc. then please let us know on our feedback.uservoice.com forum—we do listen! If you want to chat with me about how I use UserVoice (or hey, about anything)—just drop me a line at support[at]uservoice.com. Now let’s go make some customers happy!