RE: procedures for handling customer calls

Subject: RE: procedures for handling customer calls
From: "Jessica N. Lange" <jlange -at- oee -dot- com>
To: "TechWR-L" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2000 10:05:42 -0500

Rene Stephenson asked for help in "setting up customer service."

<digression>We techwriters sure get involved in a variety
of tasks in our jobs, don't we? IMHO, that's what makes
it so fun!</digression>

Then Gunther Schmidt suggested:

> how about designing a form which helps you to record the relevant details?
> It will take a while to complete this form, but it's whortwhile.

May I suggest instead: make that an ONLINE form with a database backend --
running on an intranet web server. If your company doesn't have an intranet
web server, you could use MS Personal Web Server (it'll run ASP). If you
can't afford an ASP (or other) programmer for the web interface to the
database, get Drumbeat (from Macromedia), which is aimed at people like us.

This solution provides SO MUCH power and flexibility for the future.
--Much easier to find information. If the question has been answered once
by Joe,
why should Jane redo the work: just look up the answer in the database.
--Employees in other departments (like tech writers & trainers) could also
use the database, without interrupting the CS reps.
--Software developers (and engineering types) could use it to learn about
the bugs in the product that need to be fixed.
--And it would be relatively easy to transition to a knowledge base
to all your customers over the Internet.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity--if you start the paper-based
it'll be exceedingly difficult to convert to electronic down the road.
*hate* change! Plus you would have years of paper filling filing cabinets
everywhere that'll have to be scanned in or input.

And based on my experience here, I'll add:
--- No matter how well-designed your form, CS reps tend not to fill them
out entirely (no time, or no interest). This can mean that a solution to a
given problem exists only in the brain of one guy. When he quits your
company, that knowledge leaves with him.
-- I suspect that an online knowledge base is more likely to be
used than paper form--however, this feeling is based on the fact that our
CS reps are all Geeks who'd rather use a computer to do *anything*!

Well, there are my thoughts, Rene. No, our company doesn't use an
online system for customer service, so I see all the problems of paper.
The SW developers *do* have an online system for bug reports & new features,
(which I use all the time) so I get frustrated that the CS dept remains
so wedded to it's paper! (Blame the pointy-headed boss for this inertia)

By the way, there are a bunch of vendors of "help desk" software; pricey,
but maybe right for you. Search the web.

Sorry this is so long. Good luck

Jessica N. Lange mailto:jlange -at- oee -dot- com
Technical Communicator, Ohio Electronic Engravers, Inc.

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