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Organizing requests

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In any type of business, requests can be asked through different means:

  • In person
  • By telephone
  • By email
  • As by-products of meetings
  • As unseen consequences of projects

Generally speaking, businesses deal with a mix of all of the above, in a not so organized way. It is a balancing act that may last for a while, but eventually, when they become successful, businesses find that it is a mix which quickly generates tension and insatisfaction throughout the whole company. The problem here lies with the fact that no one gets the whole picture!

Centralizing incoming requests

In any case, it is very difficult for any team to get a global picture of all incoming requests, as long as these are not centralized. If following and organizing requests becomes problematic in your enterprise, then managing all of them in a user-friendly tracking system makes a lot of sense. One thing is certain though, you have to dedicate yourself to centralize all of the requests in the system, not just some of them. You are not going to be managing the requests efficiently, unless you can prioritize and organize all of them. If you leave say, 10 to 25 percent of incoming requests, to be dealt with on an ad hoc basis, you still face the very real possibility of having your team submerged by work that not been properly accounted for.

Next comes the challenge of actually organizing the requests. We don’t need to go very far here to convince you that tagging emails in different categories does not get the job done. No one in your team is aware of the tagging system you privately use in your email client, and this makes dropping requests in the floor cracks all the more probable. In contrast, you can easily organize the incoming requests into meaningful categories in Plainticket.

Examples of categorization

Depending on your business model, you can choose categories that will suit your needs, and thus will permit you, and all of your team as well, to effectively track and follow all incoming requests. A few examples will be useful here:

  • Customer service: many of our customers divide the incoming requests in Plainticket by request type.  For example, if your team is responsible for customer satisfaction, you may divide your Plainticket categories into the following ones:
    • Sales inquiry
    • Shipping instructions
    • Post-sale questions
    • Defects
    • Returns
    • Other matters
  • Tracking orders: that is super easy with Plainticket. Orders, or questions.
    • One category per type of products ordered.
    • Or one category for each group of products that a team is responsible for
    • Shipping inquiries
    • Returns
  • Following sales leads: your team may be linked with the actual sales representatives. In that case, you can configure Plainticket so that you get one category for:
    • Sales leads
    • Sales follow-ups
    • Closed sales
    • Recurring sales

Matching your business workflow

Many of our customers start by dividing their tickets in categories like the ones mentioned above, but it is interesting to note that many of them eventually switch to categories which are closely tied to their business workflow.  In such a scenario,  tickets actually follow a path of resolution, which is defined by the order in which different parts of a team intervene. Briefly, you define one category as being the  central repository for one part of your team, which deals with a specific subset of problems.

Put in other words, each category becomes a tab in the list of open tickets, which must be targeted at a specific group of individuals that are part of your team.

We’ll discuss this some more in our next article about managing your business workflow with Plainticket.

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