Agencies are all about their clients and customers. Providing good service and support is the foundation of the experience of working with an agency. This puts pressure on the agencies to be on top of their work, no matter how many customers they have and how much work is being requested of them. At times, agency work can be chaotic, and so having some solid software and tooling can make a world of difference in terms of management. Whether it’s reporting or tracking work, software can be leveraged to make sense of muddled workflows and help enforce processes. For exactly these reasons, one client came to us looking for a change.
Our client is an ERP IT & development agency in the apparel industry. Some of the challenges they’ve faced in their previous tooling have been around the inability to emulate and capture their workflows in software. At times, this has resulted in overly complicated processes and high tensions between team members due to a lack of clarity. From project management to helpdesk to trainings, our client was able to detail to us a number of different workflows and situations where their current tooling was more of a hindrance than a help. In evaluating OneDesk, our client had the goal of finding an all-in-one solution that could meet their needs at all of the different levels they work with customers on.
Managing workloads across the team
Due to the nature of our client’s work, they often find themselves balancing multiple different projects and requests across their team. Being able to see what each team member’s workload at a glance is key for their managers and directors to understand who might be able to take on new work or who may be overloaded and could potentially miss a deadline. As our client bills their customers for the amount of time spent on work items, they’ve identified a need to see at a team member-level what time has been spent on what tickets and tasks. Out of the box, OneDesk has a number of different views that our client can use to view their team’s workload and plan out future work. Our status board view is essentially a KanBan board that lays out the different lifecycle statuses of a work item as columns. Every item of work is then represented as a card with the high-level details displayed, including assignee. Another useful view is our Gantt view, which lays out work items with their dependencies to other work items, and even shows how the actual time spent on an item compares to what it was estimated and planned as being. By using filtering and grouping, these views can become even more powerful by giving visibility into all aspects of work, including requester, priority, SLA compliance, and even last modified date.
Tracking time spent even when scope changes
Time in particular is of utmost importance to our client. Because they bill their customers based on the time spent on work items, our client needs to be able to accurately track the time spent on work. One situation that they outlined having experienced in the past is when customers request additional work once the initial request is completed. This increase in the scope of work seemingly complicates matters around time tracking and billing, but in OneDesk, this is straightforward. For any new work on a ticket, an additional timesheet can be created and associated with a ticket. Because this is distinct from the first, initial timesheet, it becomes clear what time was spent on the initial request versus the added work. Even though a ticket in OneDesk may be in a closed or completed state, its details can still be edited, and so the summary and description can be updated to capture any new requirements or changes. Together, these steps make time tracking and billing a breeze despite any scope changes.
Customizing views for visibility into customer support usage
By default, OneDesk doesn’t capture or store quotas or billable hours. However, for our client, being able to track how many billable hours a customer has paid for and has used is critical for their finance team to send invoices out. Although this functionality is not built into OneDesk, through our flexible custom fields and hierarchical work structures, our client can achieve this easily. First off, OneDesk has the concept of projects, folders, and portfolios for organizing work items. By using projects to represent customers, our client can then associate different work items with the customers requesting the work. Once this representation is set up, our client can then create a custom numerical field for billable hours at the project level. This then allows them to store this value for each of their customers and refer to it when determining whether the time tracked against the work items meets or exceeds the established billable support hours. All fields – including custom ones – can be filtered on and grouped by in our views. This means that our client can then create dashboards and reports focused on their customers’ billable hours and the time tracked against their requests. These can then be shared amongst their team and even externally.
Providing transparency via the customer portal
Another application that our client was interested in is OneDesk’s customer portal. This application is intended to be customer-facing, but works seamlessly with our helpdesk product. Our customer portal is also customizable to our client’s needs, from its look and feel to its privacy and security. By providing their customers with access to the customer portal, our client then empowers their customers to voice their concerns directly while requiring all relevant details to be included in their write-up. Customers can then view the status of what they have logged and view updates directly. Visibility can also be tuned so that individual customers can view what others in their organization have logged as well, eliminating duplication of requests. To our client’s delight, no projects or private conversations are displayed or accessible in the customer portal.
With OneDesk’s full set of features and functionality, our client was able to develop logical, clean, and efficient workflows for all their needs. By setting up their own views to dig into time tracking across all work, our client is now able to stay on top of billing and can prioritize providing support to customers who have room left in their quotas. For larger projects, our client is also attributing timesheets to particular project tasks, giving more granular insight into whether time is being spent within the greater project. It became clear quickly that OneDesk’s flexibility and robust feature set unlocked a lot of efficiencies for our client’s workflows. Regardless of whether they are trainers, coaches, developers, or managers, our client’s entire team was able to streamline their work and focus on providing excellent service.