Automating Customer Support for Efficiency, Quality and Scalability
This project was part of an internal process improvement initiative for Dispatch Integration. As an organization that offers cloud integration and automation services, we are continually seeking opportunities to leverage our expertise to improve our processes for efficiency, scalability, and quality.
As Dispatch has grown, we now provide operational integration support to many clients. Our clients rely on us to detect and resolve errors and failures in their integration portfolio to minimize business impact. We use Freshdesk to track incidents and resolution activities for each client. Each incident automatically creates a ticket in Freshdesk that is triaged, assigned a priority based on the business impact, allocated to a support agent, and tracked through to resolution.
Before this internal project, we used a simple automation script to alert our team via email and Slack whenever we received new support tickets. Our developers, who double as support agents, would see new tickets, investigate/resolve issues, and make updates in Freshdesk directly.
This process was cumbersome for support agents who had to flip between multiple applications to get the information they needed to start work on the ticket. It did not allow managers and other stakeholders within our organization visibility into ticket status. It also limited traceability on tickets within Slack due to the volume of messages.
For urgent priority tickets, which are sometimes created outside of working hours and need immediate action, this simple automation was insufficient to guarantee developers would be notified immediately to begin ticket resolution.
We developed a suite of Workato integrations to automate the support item tracking process further. These Workato recipes now manage ticket information flow between applications and notify support agents of urgent tickets more reliably.
As before, new tickets in Freshdesk create Slack messages in the appropriate support channel with issue details and the assigned support agent attached. The routing of tickets to Slack channels is managed by a Workato lookup table, allowing us to set up new support channels with minimal configuration.
Support agents can directly interact with the Slack messages to add notes or send updates on assignment, status, and priority back to Freshdesk. The support agent making updates from Slack is tracked on the ticket’s audit log in Freshdesk. Updates to tickets in Freshdesk trigger updates to the existing Slack messages, ensuring the information in Slack is always up to date. Closed tickets are cleared from Slack channels to reduce clutter – only pending and active tickets are ever shown in Slack. All support channels are refreshed hourly to ensure accuracy, accounting for errors caused by temporary service outages in either system.
Incoming urgent tickets trigger automated phone calls and SMS messages to the assigned primary and secondary on-call support agents. Escalation phone and SMS alerts are sent to account managers if not acknowledged within a pre-defined time. This automatic escalation goes right to the CEO if the ticket is not responded to within a fixed window.
This internal automation process helps us support many existing clients and do more with limited resources. The open ticket visibility in Slack keeps all stakeholders up to date regarding active cases. The automated alerting and escalation helps ensure we can meet our Service Level Agreement standards. This automation reduces administrative time to manage each ticket and improves the efficiency for each of our developers by presenting everything they need to know to get started with problem diagnosis and resolution right in Slack.
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