Best Practices for Customer Service to Prioritize Support Requests in CRM

How does your organization prioritize customer service in support interactions?

Responding to customers quickly is important, especially when the customer is in crisis. However, you would be surprised how many organizations don't have a methodology to rate the priority of support requests or a system to record them.

Many teams I see simply track cases in CRM as "open" or "closed," and every request is a high priority. I challenge that. There are various flavors of "open" with different priorities. When those truly high-priority incidents occur, if you have level set everything as the same, you end up watering down the sense of urgency.

Often the "process" depends solely on the person at the other end of the phone line, which has the title of customer service. When they are dealing with high volumes, you need to give them a mechanism to "rate the madness."

A support person may treat something as a high priority just because that customer is yelling the loudest, yet the issue is actually nothing in the grand scheme of things. It's not a "business down" kind of a request.  And while that customer yells, it could be taking attention away from someone who does have a true business emergency.

Having a methodology that outlines policies, procedures, and responsibilities in a communication readiness plan is extremely important.

Prioritize Support Interactions

There are two main factors to be considered when prioritizing support interactions.

  • The type of issue
  • The type of customer

First, let's talk about best practices for ranking the type of issue.

Your process could be as simple as just having a priority rating. For example, hot, warm, or cold, or P1, P2, P3. Something that allows you to organize the different levels of crisis. Every issue is a high priority to your customers, but you need to determine how much effort it will take for your team to resolve and who needs to be involved.

Just having a "priority" field in your CRM system is not enough.  The key is understanding the meaning of the value that you put in that field.

Outline Your Policies

The first step is to outline your policies:

  • What does P1 mean? What does P2 mean? What does P3 mean?
  • Then what do you do?
  • What are the procedures around each of those things, and whose responsibility is that?

Keep in mind, a low priority ranking does not mean that it is not answered quickly. In fact, it is often the opposite. Perhaps it is an easy fix that you have answered 100 times for other companies. That is "low priority" for your team, or maybe better to call it "low intensity." You can set rules and workflows in your CRM system for an automated message or route it to someone who can answer it quickly and move on to other tasks.

Having a game plan around that will dramatically increase your ability to manage a high volume of support requests. Most importantly, it will alleviate the pain faster for customers and provide them with a consistent experience.

Keep Everyone on the Same Page

Outlining your policies, procedures, and response in a communication plan related to customer support also means that everyone is on the same page.

If Joe receives an inbound request in the morning, then Mary receives the same request later in the day, the way they rank them should be the same. If Joe enters it as a P2, and Mary makes it a P1, things get complicated.

Kevin is the only one who handles P1 incidents. If Kevin is working on an important project, he needs to drop everything and get involved. This is fine if it genuinely is a P1, but if it was mis-catgorized and could have been handled by someone else later, Kevin's time is not being used in a productive way.

That could have been avoided if Mary and Joe both had the same clear plan around what it means to be a P1, P2, P3.

This is where I see a lot of room for improvement. Aside from technology, just coming to the table with a readiness plan for everyone involved in customer support is huge.

Build the Plan, Then Add the Technology

Once you have your policies defined and a clear plan, it is much easier to use technology to track the right information and automate processes.

For example:

  • P1 cases can automatically be routed to the right person or team, with regular follow-ups scheduled to make sure it is seen and resolved quickly.
  • Answers to the most common P3 cases can be sent automatically using email templates and standard replies. With a few clicks, the CRM system will send a well-crafted message with all the links the client needs to get past that problem.

Get the Right Advice

The team at Crowe CRM can help you to build a readiness and communication plan. As part of our consultative approach to Dynamics 365 CRM, we don't just give you the fields for data. We try to listen and understand the nature of your support requests so you can use those fields in the right way.

Before you get any technology involved, you need to have a methodology in place. The Crowe CRM team can help with both.

The Crowe CRM team can help your organization do powerful things with Dynamics 365. While completing more than 100 successful CRM implementations around the world, the Crowe CRM team has gained the experience needed to design, deliver, and implement effective solutions to our clients' real-life business challenges.

Contact us to start the discussion at [email protected] or 877-600-2253.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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