Marketing products and services via internet-based media is arguably the most significant trend of the past few decades. This has grown from a mere idea to a multi-billion dollar industry that drives global trade. It has also incentivized several radical business models and sub-industries.
Digital marketing agencies serving the global digital industry are specialized businesses that implement diverse digital marketing channels to create brand awareness. As a product of an unconventional business paradigm, firms in the digital sector continue to show an unusually high tendency of adopting changes in the operational model. Therefore these businesses need to have robust systems in charge of business operations.
Quite aware of their project management and customer support problems, a digital creative agency finally made the critical decision to migrate from a cluster of applications to a robust integrated project management and customer support system. The choice is to eliminate redundancy and repetition in their operations. OneDesk fits the bill perfectly.
Our new client operates remotely with customers distributed across the world. This makes an online system that can seamlessly connect employees and customers an absolute necessity for the business to function productively. Although the company previously had a project management system in use, the system lacked integrations for critical systems such as file storage, financial, and ticketing systems to name a few.
OneDesk is a single system that provides project management and customer support features, making it a top choice for ticketing and reporting in creative design agencies. The system is made up of three modular applications: customer app, the main web app, and a mobile app.
OneDesk’s customer app functions as an interface that connects the client-agency with customers. For a company with dozens of customers across the world, the OneDesk customer app provides an ideal online platform for customer ticketing. For accessibility, OneDesk offers two ways for customers to connect with the agency through the customer app. One is through the customer app web portal which is accessible via an invite link. The other is through a customer app widget installed on the agency’s website. The widget installation is achieved by pasting a pre-generated snippet in the website source code or by installing OneDesk’s widget plugin for WordPress websites.
The OneDesk app deploys a range of tools which the agency can choose to disable at will. A messenger app is a tool that allows customers to initiate live chat sessions with the agency’s support team. The customer app portal displays the tickets and other items submitted by the customer with their corresponding status. A knowledgebase feature allows customers access to information such as articles which the agency has published as helpful to customers. The customer app also has a webform tab through which customers can submit new tickets to the support team. The agency has full capacity to establish confidentiality where necessary by controlling what customers can see or do within the customer app and knowledgebase.
The OneDesk ticketing system is quite flexible. It allows the agency to capture customer tickets in more than one way. Customers can forward tickets as emails to a custom OneDesk email address issued to the agency. They could also send the email to the agency’s support email address which has been auto-forwarded to the OneDesk email. OneDesk will capture the email and automatically log a ticket on behalf of the sender. This feature ensures internal team members on a distribution list can get a copy of the submitted email while OneDesk creates a ticket from the email.
Alternatively, ticket creation can be handled internally by support teams when necessary. OneDesk makes this possible in several ways: The OneDesk main app which is designed for the internal teams has sub-apps for each of its key features. This involves a ticket app, a task app, timesheet app, and a host of others. Each of these apps has a panel through which corresponding actions can be carried out. On the ticket app panel, for instance, an internal user who has the right access level within the agency can import tickets in MMP, MPT, or CSV format. An internal user can also create a ticket manually for customers within the task panel, or create tickets from ongoing agent-user live chat conversations.
While creating tickets manually, OneDesk allows the agency to assign the ticket to a user, multiple users, or a team of users. They can also define project scope and add the requesting customer account to involve them. Once created, the agency can send automated messages and mail notifications to inform the customer.
OneDesk optimizes a creative agency’s operations by default. The system features integrated project management and customer support systems, making tickets, and submitted items automatically accessible in the project management system. No copy-paste necessary. Tasks are best suited for customer tickets that require further planning and scheduling. Thus, such tickets should be converted to tasks to have access to project management tools like agile points and scheduling tools.
The tasks app also allows the agency to create and manage multi-threaded conversations on ongoing tasks. Conversations threads can either be as a customer response which is accessible to all parties involved, including the customer, or as internal responses which is available only to internal teams. Messages that are not replied by the customer or designated user will be auto-forwarded to their email address following few minutes of delay. This feature is also applicable to the ticket app considering both apps have their similarities.
OneDesk also has a recurring tasks feature for managing repetitive tasks such as the design of promotional banners at regular interval. Recurring tasks can be achieved by cloning existing tasks or by specifying that the task is recurring on creation. This could be daily weekly or monthly with a specified number of recurrence.
Another vital feature of OneDesk for any Digital agency is time tracking. OneDesk allows internal users to log time spent on tasks and tickets assigned to them, either by using the inbuilt timer or by logging timesheets manually. A variant of manual timesheet logging is importing the timesheets in CSV format. Task attributes such as life cycle statuses and percentage completion are automatically updated when timesheets are submitted. This will reflect the progress of the task or ticket with respect to the schedule.
To enable the agency to keep an eye on ongoing tasks and tickets, a project panel interface on the main app displays the tasks, tickets, and other submitted items in a hierarchy. The default folder structure follows a base folder named after the agency, then subfolders representing each customer under the agency. The next folder level represents individual ongoing projects the agency is handling for the respective customers. Tasks, tickets, and items related to each project are then organized within the project folder. Projects can be arranged independent of parent folders, and a project can belong to multiple customer folders. The entire structure is subject to the agency’s operational requirements and can be organized as seen fit.
OneDesk provides an array of views to give the agency insight into activities within the task app, ticket app, timesheet, and other sub-apps. An example of such views is the tree view which presents a hierarchical view of the tasks in folders and subfolders. The flat view presents a plain list of tasks irrespective of the hierarchy. The Gantt view gives a comparative view of planned against actual schedule: a particularly useful view in the analysis of schedules and decision making. Other views include status board, calendar, and dashboard, each offering a unique perspective of items and activities.
For specific internal needs within the agency, OneDesk allows internal users to create custom views, save these views to reuse them, and share custom views with other internal users as they see fit.
For a company that works with the retainer model and hourly billings combined, the ability to generate reports on virtually every aspect of operations is an important one. Therefore, OneDesk allows the agency to generate reports on tickets, tasks, items, and virtually all user activities on a weekly or monthly basis. OneDesk also provides a collection of report templates, and users can create custom reports as well. These reports can be exported in any desired layout and format of choice. OneDesk also enables the agency to automate reports by sending automated reports to designated email addresses at intervals.
The OneDesk mobile app is the third app that makes up the OneDesk system. The app is fully synchronized with the OneDesk main web app, ensuring internal users can stay connected to the system even when on the move. The app carries over most of the main web app features and uses a push notification system to notify users of ongoing activities. It is available for both Android and iOS users on the respective app stores.
OneDesk supports integrations through a third-party app Zapier. OneDesk has prebuilt integrations such as financial systems zaps to generate invoice from OneDesk timesheets, file storage integrations or zaps, and several hundred more. The system also allows the development of custom integrations with in-house systems via Zapier.
OneDesk is highly-configurable. The main web app’s admin panel provides system-round configuration interface which is accessible only to users with an admin access level. The admin can also manage automated messages and emails OneDesk sends on behalf of the company. Further email customizations and system personalization such as email template edits, header and footer customizations, branding, and custom SMTP server are also achievable with OneDesk. The agency can enable or disable any of the OneDesk apps within the admin panel. Specific app features such as timesheets, for instance, can also be disabled without hindering the overall app functionality.
This blend of extensive functionalities typical of enterprise systems, and unmatched system flexibility often attributed to in-house software systems is precisely what makes OneDesk the ideal system for digital agencies.