September 21, 2008
I just received a text message on my cell phone. No big deal, right? We each get perhaps a dozen or more text messages every day from family and friends about everything from one-line jokes to dinner plans. But this text message is special because it was sent to me by the SmarterTrack customer service software installation we use internally to manage our Technical Support team.
I decided to blog about this today because whenever I talk about this unique feature–even with some of our most loyal and educated customers–the person I am talking to often responds with surprise and says, “It does that? That’s cool!”
It is cool–really cool, in fact. Both our SmarterMail Windows mail server and SmarterTrack customer service software have the events and notification system built right in. This means that users, administrators, and managers can set all kinds of triggering events and the software will perform tasks, send notifications, or (in the case of SmarterMail) launch a command line executable.
Text Messages, Email, Reminders, and…SmarterNotify?
The notification can be via email and/or text message. SmarterMail has the Reminders pop-up that works with it as well. And–coming soon–the SmarterTools development team is ALPHA-testing a new (no additional charge) add-on to all of our products called SmarterNotify (you heard it here first!). SmarterNotify will be a lightweight desktop application that can be pointed at all SmarterTools products to function as an alert system–even when the browser is closed and you are not actively using the product. It will let you know when an email or ticket comes in or if one of your other alerts is being triggered.
The text message I just received is a Notification I set up called “Ticket Count” and it sends me a text message when the master queue in our customer service department–or for any individual agent for that matter–backs up beyond our Service Level Agreement (SLA) policy. My text message alert just informed me how many support tickets are waiting to be assigned.
Since I am writing this on a Sunday I am not concerned, but I know what the work load of our service team is going to be when they hit the door tomorrow morning–all without firing up my PC or spoiling the family Bar-B-Q. I also know that there are no critical or emergency support tickets waiting–I have alerts set up for those too so I can enjoy what remains of my weekend without a nagging voice in the back of my head (a distracted Jeff equals burnt steaks). I have additional alerts set up in case a ticket is sent from certain SmarterTools partners because we have a few important cooperative development projects going on (really good stuff–I’ll tell you as soon as I can). In a nut shell, the Events system means productivity and peace of mind–both are management brain candy.
Take Action, Now!
In the case of SmarterTrack, I can create an event so that if Agent Joe is falling behind, his tickets are automatically re-balanced to the rest of his team. An action can be created to automatically escalate any ticket with certain keywords to an internal specialist. We can even let the Partnership and Sales team “know” about a support ticket from a particular customer while letting the support team handle it in the normal fashion. There is really no limit and these Events/Notifications/Actions can be set up on the fly in the Web interface. Turn one on, turn one off, create a new one–all through the browser with no coding, control panel, or third-party application involved.
Business-side managers like me will love this in SmarterTrack. IT and Systems-side guys will love the same thing in SmarterMail because of the automated attack prevention and throttling (etc.) that can be achieved. I know that using these features internally has made SmarterTools a lot more efficient as an organization, prevented issues form getting out of hand, made our customers happy, and saved us money. Different types and levels of Events/Notifications/Actions are available for managers, administrators, and even individual users.
In the time it took me to write this post I received another message telling me that a specific email I have been waiting for has just arrived…you are going to love this thing!
This post was written by Jeff H., vice-president of business operations for SmarterTools. If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to the SmarterTools Blog so you don’t miss an update.