For businesses of any size, consulting firms can help fill in gaps in the organization without having to build out a team or department themselves. The challenge for these firms is keeping track of all of their work across all of their clients. While it may be useful at times to have an overarching view of all work, the details can get lost easily. It is nearly always the case that certain clients will have requests that take precedence over others. Prioritizing work is critical for providing value at the right time to the right people. This balancing act is where one group of consultants came to us looking for some help.
Our client is an IT consulting firm that takes in requests from multiple companies to help them with their IT needs. Whether they are handling requests or issues, work items come in as e-mails that are not tracked. Without a ticketing system, they have had requests sent to various members of their firm, which has been frustrating. Our client wants to standardize how incoming requests and issues reach them, ideally through e-mail. Because they work with different companies, our client highlighted that they need a way to differentiate between their different customers and clients.
How IT consultants can use software to track requests
OneDesk’s tickets application seemed like the perfect fit for our client’s needs. As a ticketing system, it brings all of the requests and issues into a single place where they can be tracked and managed. By default, OneDesk creates an e-mail address that directly translates any e-mails it receives into tickets. This was exactly what our client was looking for in terms of a standardized way to take in work requests. Any subsequent e-mail communications in the thread are also captured on the ticket in the Conversations section, keeping all of the key information in a single place for reference.
Tickets in OneDesk follow a customizable workflow of statuses. In combination with the custom fields that can be added to tickets, powerful automations can be set up to manage work and ensure SLAs are being adhered to. An alternative way for incoming items to get logged as tickets is through our customer portal application. With the ability to customize the look and feel, our customer portal is a prime way to invite clients to log their requests directly into the system through a webform. The webform forces clients to enter all of the necessary details for work to begin, saving a lot of time going back and forth through long e-mail threads. Along with e-mails and the customer portal for logging work in OneDesk, users can also manually create tickets for issues that might come in over a phone call.
Tracking and organizing requests based on the client
The main requisite our client wanted to see in OneDesk was some way to differentiate which tickets were associated with a particular client. Our tickets application organizes tickets in a hierarchical fashion using projects, portfolios, and folder. These are flexible containers for grouping tickets however makes the most sense for our clients’ needs. In particular, for consulting firms, projects and portfolios can be used to represent their different clients. Tickets can then easily be assigned to these groupings and our client can easily see at a glance what items are associated with their particular client companies.
In terms of tracking individual clients and their companies, OneDesk does this automatically. Under our Organizations section, users can view the client companies that OneDesk has identified based on the domains of the e-mail addresses that have sent in requests and issues. These can also be manually added, edited, and removed. This concept of organizations can also be used as a filter to create custom views for displaying certain tickets.
Limiting visibility in our customer portal
As a consulting firm, our client services requests from various companies in different fields. For this reason, they voiced concern around visibility options in our customer portal application. Privacy is important to them, and allowing their clients to see other clients’ requests is unacceptable. Our customer portal’s configuration addresses visibility in a couple ways. One option is to restrict individual clients to only have access to their own requested items. This is the strictest option, and can help keep their view focused, while still allowing them to track the progress on their requests and have conversations with the support agents doing the work. Another option is to allow everyone from the same client company to view each other’s requests. This allows clients to see what issues and requests their peers are making, some of which may overlap with their own, reducing some duplication and repetition.
With all of the different configuration options, OneDesk’s flexibility proves to be one of the key ways consulting firms can organize their work. Consulting itself brings many challenges, from tracking clients, fielding requests, and ensuring communications are timely. Using a ticketing system is essential. Workflows, statuses, and custom fields can be used together to built a robust, organized system. With the ability to tune and customize all of these aspects, tracking work is no longer a burden. No matter the field or industry, OneDesk’s ticketing system can be tweaked to meet your needs.