March 27, 2012 19 Comments
SmarterTrack 8.x is turning out to be the largest and most important release of SmarterTrack since we originally released SmarterTicket, its precursor, back in 2004. We’ve always been committed to building products that offer enterprise-level features without the enterprise-level cost, and SmarterTrack 8.x is no exception. We took into account the feedback we’ve received from our customers through forum posts, feature requests and even face-to-face discussions and are pleased to announce the next release of our popular helpdesk and customer service software.
Getting started with the BETA
If you’re interested in getting your hands on the BETA, please visit the SmarterTrack 8.x BETA forum, where you’ll see how to:
- Sign up for the BETA
- Get a special BETA license key
- Download the latest BETA release (we update it regularly)
- Communicate with other BETA testers and the SmarterTools development team
- Stay up-to-date on the latest release note and BETA news
Fully integrated softphone
SmarterTrack 8.x will have one of the most integrated SIP-compliant VoIP softphones of any helpdesk on the market and even includes multiple brand support. The softphone is configurable from within SmarterTrack, allowing all settings, profiles and agent information to be pushed to any desktop or laptop an agent logs into. This full-featured softphone includes the ability to transfer calls, automatically create call logs, displays incoming and outgoing communication history for a caller; can record incoming and outgoing calls; offers complete call analytics and allows businesses to keep all customer communications (tickets, live chats and call logs) in one location.
More user information
SmarterTrack 8.x continues to expand the amount of information about each customer by associating all communication within the helpdesk to a user’s email address and phone number. In addition, complete user statistics help you understand the frequency and method in which a customer communicates with your helpdesk. Finally, user comments have been added and can be displayed across tickets, live chats and call logs to help agents better assist customers.
Easy access to custom fields
Custom fields are an incredibly powerful part of SmarterTrack. Some companies set up their helpdesks to: require users to provide answers to questions prior to starting tickets and live chats and store that information in custom fields; integrate with their existing billing systems and provisioning systems which automatically populate custom fields; allow agents to set custom fields based on information in ticket, live chats and call logs. With SmarterTrack 8.x, custom fields can now be placed in the communication area of tickets, live chats and call logs allowing the most critical of custom fields to be easily viewable and accessible. And as always, all custom fields can be associated to the Event system and can be fully reported on.
Completely revised task system
We’ve dramatically enhanced the tasks system. Tasks can now be assigned statuses like approved, in progress, on hold or completed and you can use the task scheduler to automatically create recurring tasks. Plus, managers can easily view global tasks by status or agent to get a better idea of what’s being worked on and when.
Customize with CSS
Customize your help desk without making changes to configuration files or changing skins! SmarterTrack 8.x allows system administrators to override CSS styles and customize the portal or management interface any way they want. So go ahead, move modules, change fonts or add a splash of color. Heck, redesign the whole portal. With custom CSS, you have the power to make your own design.
Simplify common actions into one click with manual events
Built upon SmarterTrack’s extensive event system, events can now be defined as manual. This means that instead of the system automatically triggering an event, a manual event can be created with specific criteria and actions that can be executed by an agent on a ticket, live chat or call log. Manual events can significantly increase the productivity of agents by eliminating the need to perform common actions individually; instead, multiple actions are performed with a single click. Here’s an example of how you might use this feature: you may want to transfer a ticket to another department, send a canned reply to the customer, adjust the custom fields in preparation to track the ticket, and SMS the agent that will receive the transferred ticket. Instead of an agent having to perform all of these actions separately, manual events can make all this happen with just one click!
Get personal with avatars
Now you can add a personal touch to your tickets and live chats using agent avatars. Customers feel more at ease when they can see whom they’re dealing with. By using pictures of your agents, or even adding company or agent-specific avatars that are displayed during live chats and in tickets, you can help ensure your customers and end users stay in the right frame of mind throughout the entire support pipeline.
Have a few RSS feeds you’d like to get in front of your customers? Perhaps you have separate RSS feeds for your blog, company news and social media accounts and want to make them easily accessible from one place? With SmarterTrack 8.x, you can centralize all of your important information in one location. You can even include feeds of your favorite news or industry blogs, further turning your portal into a true communication hub for your end users.
Better knowledge base management
We’ve revamped the knowledge base to make it easier to identify where articles are in the creation process and who is responsible for them. Now you can assign articles to agents, view a list of articles with broken links and quickly moderate customer feedback or ratings. Plus, see the path customers take as they browse your knowledge base: if they viewed another article prior, it’ll be listed as a referrer.
Improved helpdesk security
In an effort to build upon the need to fully separate different brands and departments, as well as to assist with the overall security of your helpdesk, agents now only see and interact with only those items that are assigned to their specific departments. In addition, take the security of your help desk up a notch by enforcing minimum password requirements for employee logins and enabling a setting that protects your system from brute force attacks by temporarily locking a user account if there are too many failed login attempts.
Improved categorization and organization
SmarterTrack 8.x introduces master categories. Configured by the system administrator, master categories are available on time logs and tasks to help managers see where an agent’s time is spent or to organize tasks related to a specific project.
Is that it?
Of course not! SmarterTrack 8.x has more features and improvements. You’ll find them all in the release notes we’ll post in the SmarterTrack 8.x BETA forum, but here are a few more that might be of interest:
- Ticket responses can now be saved as drafts, so agents can come back and work on them later.
- System administrators can now exclude response times that elapsed outside of business hours to ensure more accurate reporting.
- The last agent to sign out of live chats or go AFK can now receive a warning message to lower the odds that your helpdesk goes unmanned.
- Brand management is much simpler, even for companies with only one brand!
- We made many more changes to the interface to increase the speed and responsiveness on both desktops and mobile devices. We also made modifications to regain much needed real estate, which is especially noticeable on tablets (like the new iPad) and on Android devices.