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Escalations: let the system watch your back

If you are working with customer service, changes are you are juggling a lot of inquiries all the time. Several service agents I have met over the years smiled recognizingly when I talked about that bad feeling you get on the bus home when you suddenly remember the task you should have done or the customer you forgot to get back to. Or, what happens when one of your colleagues get sick? Why didn’t anyone take responsibility of finishing the open issues he was working on? With everyone juggling all these issues, it’s hard to keep track of everything and a customer’s email may easily fall between the cracks. In a hectic environment, such accidents can easily happen. However, to the involved customer, this will not feel like a very professional handling of his inquiry. And if this happens frequently, it will reflect poorly on the business, and may eventually lead to customer churn.

Fortunately, there are systems which can watch your back. In SuperOffice Customer Service, there is such a system: “Escalations”. This system is constantly running in the background, even if no-one are logged in, actively monitoring all the open requests and checking them against deadlines. If a request is found which has been left unmanaged longer than the configured deadline, it will be automatically escalated, and the relevant users will be notified.

In a customer service environment, various inquiries will have different levels of importance. For certain cases we would like to be informed quite fast when it has not been managed, while for others we will accept a longer deadline. For this reason, our escalation system is related to the request’s priority, which indicates how critical a request is. The priority can be automatically set based on which customer it is, keywords in the inbound inquiry or directly by a service agent. Amongst other properties, the priority defines its “opening hours”. This allows you to configure both short and long escalation deadlines, as well as specify whether they should occur only during regular working hours (mon-fri, 09:00 to 17:00), or perhaps 24x7 for the critical ones.

Using this system, you should be able to lower your shoulders a bit, knowing that any inquiry left unmanaged will be automatically detected and escalated. In the long run, this will hopefully lead you to a less stressful environment, as well as helping your organization keeping up with your customers.

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