How to use Targetprocess for customer support

Targetprocess is probably best known as a project management software application. You expect to do things like moving cards on a Kanban Board, planning and tracking work, checking reports - that kind of stuff. While this is most certainly true, you’re missing out if you’re not using Targetprocess for customer support as well.

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Our support process is mostly email based, and can turn incoming emails into requests in your Targetprocess account. You can also activate dedicated Service Desk to make it easy for customers to submit requests, view their status, and vote for ideas. We’ll discuss Service Desk more at the end of this guide page.

Pretty simple, isn’t it? However, there’s so much more under the hood that it deserves a closer look.

Set up process and workflow

First things first. To manage incoming customer requests, the Help Desk practice should be enabled for your process. You can do this by going to Process Setup -> your process -> Practices. The option is also available from Settings → Processes →edit your process

Next, you should take a look at the standard workflow for requests and update it to fit the way you work. For instance, you might consider adding a new “Active” state for cases in progress, or “Waiting for Fix” to indicate that the problem is confirmed, and now it is up to developers to fix it.

By the way, did we mention we use Targetprocess for our own customer support? Here is the screenshot of our workflow for requests:

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Our workflow supports both Issues and Ideas. Feel free to use our process as a foundation, but make sure you customize it to fit your particular company.

Set up email communication

Receive emails

Most of our customer requests are created from incoming emails. Sending an email to support@yourcompany.com is a fast and intuitive way for customers to reach you.

Create an email integration profile at Settings → Plugins to start receiving emails:

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You can apply your own custom rules for turning emails into work items. For example: you can make questions about licensing go straight to your sales team. More details are available at this user guide page.

Keep customers up-to-date with email notifications

The easiest way to notify a customer about the progress of their request is an email notification. The notification goes to the customer as soon as a comment is added to the request:

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By the way, you can change the default email templates. Additional information on email notifications is available here in our user guide.

Use Service Desk

Targetprocess offers a free standalone application for your customers and external users to track their issues and ideas: Service Desk. It is a is simply a convenient way for external users to interact with your team. They only need to create logins/passwords to be able to use Service Desk, so it’s an alternative or addition to email integration (outlined above). You can decide which feature works better for your team, or use both.

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See more information at our Service Desk in the user guide, or check out frequently asked questions here.

Auto Reply to requester

You can set up an auto-reply generic message, letting your customers know that their request has been accepted. There is a special plugin for that, called Auto Reply To Requester. You can change the subject and the body of outgoing notifications as needed. You can find it in the Old Plugins section of your Targetprocess account.

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A visualization of the communication flow for email notifications

Configure email notifications for Service Desk users

Find detailed information in the dedicated article.

Using Targetprocess views to manage requests

As you know, Targetprocess is a very flexible tool. There are some great views available for your support team. Start with one of our support solutions, then customize and build on it to create an optimal workspace for your support team. As your process changes, continually refine your views with more sophisticated filters, mashups, visual encoding, cards customization, webhooks - the list goes on.

Our support team uses a board that shows requests per person and per state:

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In this particular case we also support our SLA in a visual way. Requests that are marked as yellow have not been replied for more than 20 hours, so we’d better hurry up. Red means it’s been there for more than 24 hours and needs to be replied asap. The green one was added less than an hour ago, so there is a chance to create a wow-effect and reply to the customer right-away. This color-coding is implemented via a special mashup that is available for you to use and modify.

Whatever your process is, you can create a view that allows you to focus on the things that are most important for you. For example, you can choose to separate requests by Business Value and organize them using the view’s list mode.

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A list of requests, categorized by business value

You can add your own custom fields, like SLA, Type of Request and Department. You can separate work by Projects, Teams, tags or individual requesters. It’s hard to list all the possibilities here, but if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We’ll help you explore all the different possibilities for your team.

If you don’t know where to start, it may be a good idea to check out Solutions Gallery and try the views from “Requests Management” solution.

Related items

Requests in Targetprocess don’t just exist in a digital vacuum. There can be related user stories, bugs or even projects that are associated with a given request. You can add a relation to any item (including another request) at the request details page. New backlog items can be created from incoming requests as well. Check out our article about Requests related to backlog items.

A view that’s based on relations will look something like this:

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Merge requests

Certainly, not all requests are unique, especially when you are doing ideas management. Fortunately, it is possible to merge these requests. First, you need to find them from either the Relations tab or from the Request Duplicate section and mark them as duplicates:

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After that just hit the “Merge” button, and any duplicates will be closed and added as comments to the main request.

Reports

Your support team can also benefit from the Reporting functionality of Targetprocess. For example, you can see trends for newly received requests. This allows you to take a proactive stance towards solving future problems -- such as hiring new support agents before an overload happens.

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There are some helpful templates that are tagged as “Help Desk” that will allow you to build reports like “Issue resolution time” or “Issues Lead Time vs Business Value.”  You can also build your own custom reports. Read more at the Reports and Dashboards section of our guide.

Dashboards

Dashboards were not created exclusively for support activities, but they can actually really come in handy -- especially if you’re a Support Manager. You can quickly get an overview on the current state of things, and add new comments, widgets, or any other list or report:

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Read more at the Reports and Dashboards section of our guide.

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