As small businesses grow and acquire new customers and users, their work management needs also grow. For agencies that offer multiple, different services, it’s challenging keeping track of every piece of work and every person that is involved with making it happen. Over the course of a business scaling up, they pick up new tools along the way to address needs as they are identified. This often leads to a strange combination of tools that doesn’t work well together and doesn’t quite cover the concerns of the now established business. Not having an all-in-one tool led to one client reaching out to us seeking a solution to their varied needs.
Our client is a digital marketing and branding agency that helps companies in various industries with their branding. They focus on providing a variety of services to their customers including web design and development, graphic design, SEO, pay-per-click marketing, digital marketing, and branding. By tracking and treating these services as customer requests, our client currently has to use three different tools to manage their work, which is far from ideal. Moving forward, they’ve outlined that their future tools need to cover project management, client communications, and time tracking. In particular, time tracking is important to them and the tool they currently use for this is one that they don’t see themselves moving off of. That means going forward, the software they use will have to integrate with their time tracker.
Handling incoming tickets
There are a few different ways tickets can come into the OneDesk system. As most inquiries from customers come to our client through e-mail, we identified an easy transition from their current setup to one that streamlines tracking those requests in OneDesk. For every ticket type our client defines, OneDesk automatically generates an e-mail address to which customer requests can be forwarded to. Anything going to this e-mail address gets logged as a work item in OneDesk, eliminating any manual intervention that might normally be needed to transfer the relevant details to a OneDesk ticket. Beyond fielding client requests via e-mail, we have another application that our client was interested in trying out. Our customer portal is an application that is managed separately from our project management and helpdesk applications, but integrates seamlessly with them to provide our client’s customers a standardized way to log requests. Based on what data is entered into a webform, a ticket is automatically created in the OneDesk system that is also visible in the portal, so customers can track the status of their requested work. This portal can be customized to match our client’s branding, and the webforms can require certain data to be entered so relevant details are known up front. Along with the ability to tune the permissions on who can see what requests are logged – whether limited to those requested by that individual or by anyone in their organization – our customer portal offers visibility and a precise level of management for incoming requests.
Built-in Communication features
One of the features our client was particularly interested in was communication. On every ticket, we display a log of previous conversations about the work and also allow messages to be sent directly from the ticket itself, whether they are internal messages or notifications to customers. Even if communications are occurring through e-mail, they are captured and shown on the ticket, making it easy to track what has been said without sifting through inboxes. Another communication feature OneDesk has is the ability to automatically generate a response to a customer’s e-mail about a ticket. These responses can be fully customized to deliver our client’s intent in a standardized way that still has a personal feel.
Building project templates
Due to the range in services that our client provides, efficiency in managing their work is crucial to them. They highlighted that there is a certain amount of repetition between different requests for their website development services. Each request to build a website for a client is a project in itself, and from their experiences, our client has been able to distill down the process into a standard set of tasks. To save themselves the effort of setting up the same set of tasks for every website they develop, our client wanted a way to define templates. In OneDesk, templates can be created at the project and task level. For tasks that are similar to each other, any task can be considered a template ticket and then cloned. Cloning a task creates a new task with all of the details already entered, copied from the original template task. Projects in OneDesk can also be cloned. Because projects are merely collections of tasks, cloning an entire project makes copies of the entire set of tasks in the template project. Depending on the number of tasks a project template contains, a lot of efficiency can be gained from cloning a complex project with many underlying tasks. For our client’s use case, a website project template comprises of all of the template tasks they know need to be done to deliver a website to their customer.
Although there is built-in time tracking for tickets in OneDesk, our client identified that they need to continue using their current time tracker. This led to some concerns around having to use multiple tools to complete their project management experience. However, one area where OneDesk enables extensibility is through our integrations. By default, there are a number of built-in integrations we have created for some common software tools our userbase has required in the past, but beyond this set of integrations, OneDesk users also have the option of using Zapier to link their accounts and data. Zapier’s integration platform allows for nearly limitless options in terms of connecting other applications to OneDesk, and while there are a number of “zaps” created by users already, our client also has the option of developing a custom integration with OneDesk themselves using the Zapier platform.
In this busy world, it can tough being able to keep on top of requests, inquiries, and tracking who’s working on what for how long. Using a bunch of different, unrelated tools to get the job done can be enough to keep going, but without looking for efficiencies, this can lead a slowdown in productivity. With OneDesk’s ability to bring customer communications straight into its ticket management reduces the amount of time spent switching from software to software gathering all of the pieces. Along with our leveraging of Zapier, integrations are simple to set up and not limited to just a small set of third-party software. This way, our client’s favourite tools can still be used without leaving the OneDesk ecosystem.