Kanban in Support Teams

Use case

Customer story

Industry: Customer Service

Use case: Support team

Favorite feature: Clarity of data

Kanban method has been used in many departments of various organizations and corporations around the world. It has been successfully implemented in IT processes, project management, human resources and software development. Are there any limitations on the use of Kanban ? I personally don't think so. My journey with Kanban usage in managing Customer Service has been nothing, but a great experience.


Kanban allowed me to assist my customers much more efficiently, stay organized and deliver the needed help to them as soon as possible. Response time and quality of assistance are key success factors to any support team. Kanban Tool has helped me to stay organized with incoming feedback from our customers: problems, questions and suggestions. The virtual boards allowed me to easily communicate with other departments that were required in order to troubleshoot the problems our customers were facing.

An example of sales board

The challenge

Customer Service requires me to juggle tickets and respond to inquiring clients to the best of my ability, but at the same time I need to make sure our clients get my response ideally within 12 hour from receiving the ticket. Our users submit a wide range of requests and a lot of external requests are submitted as well. All inquiries are very important to me, however I'm obliged to help my clients resolve their issues as soon as possible in order to guarantee their satisfaction and allow for error free experience. The visualization and ability to access all tickets easily is the key factor in achieving efficient Customer Service.

You've Got Mail

Most of the incoming tickets are problems our users are facing, questions, suggestions or general feedback. I will resolve most of the emails immediately, however some of them need to be stored or forwarded further to our Tech Department. Also, suggestions and feedback need to be stored in a manageable format to allow for an easy access. Here is where Kanban Tool shines as it allows me to store these emails directly on my customer service Kanban board and categorize accordingly.

Managing tickets

While Gmail is the core of my customer service activities, some tickets need to be addressed at a further notice, BUGs need to be submitted forward to our Technical Department and suggestions with feedback stored. This is where Kanban Tool comes into play. Thanks to simple zap on Zapier.com I'm able to tag my emails accordingly and have them sent directly to my board with proper coloring.

Why I love Zapier

Zapier will scan for new emails that include certain tags, in my case BUG, Feedback, Suggestion or Inquiry. Each of these tags will create a new Kanban card on my board with a proper card color in the very first Inbox column of my workflow. All important information is carried over to the task along with user credentials, email address and inquiry information. The user account domain is displayed on the top left of the card as a task ID to let me know who the customer is.

Zapier integration

Such organization on Kanban board is easily readable for my needs and allow me to judge at a glance how many tickets of each kind I have and distribute my time accordingly. In my Inbox I will have red cards indicating bugs, green cards for external requests and light blue cards with general feedback and suggestions from our users.

Limitations

Thankfully, there are not many BUG reports coming in, thus we can ensure to resolve these as soon as possible. Each issue reporting ticket is pulled to Waiting column in the BUG stage of my board. If I'm able to resolve the issue I will do that immediately, however some glitches or technical nuances require our Tech Department to intervene. Our Tech Department can only take 2 tickets at a time due to abundance of work they have thus the imposed 2 cards Work in Progress limit in the assigned to Tech Dep. stage of my board. Once I get a resolution from them I will forward it to our customer and move the ticket accordingly to the resolved column. This stage requires a great deal of collaboration among our team and being able to easily send and assign tasks makes my life so much easier.

How I know when our Tech Department submits solution? They move the task to the next column and I get an email notification with task link. Have I already mentioned how much I like Zapier? This lets me jump right to the ticket with provided solution. Now all I have to do is forward it to our customer and resolve their issues.

Email database

Kanban Tool serves a role of a database of user inquiries and emails we need to save for our reference. Columns like Suggestions, Feedback, External Requests or 'Active contact' create a database of important emails. It allows for easy retrieval of data and access to user suggestions that help push our service in the right direction. Active contact column serves the role of a reminder that there is an ongoing conversation with the person or I'm waiting for them to get back to me.

Why Kanban Tool?

The intuitiveness and Zapier integrations were with no doubt the major decision making factors while choosing a visual management platform. I was able to tailor my board the way I like it to ensure navigation is smooth and reliable. The most important benefits were:

The clarity of stored data

The way Kanban boards are organized makes it so easy to read through and find my items. By forwarding my emails to Kanban board I have my Gmail inbox clear for incoming emails.

Easy navigation

When I was using Gmail client alone I would often misplaced my emails and had hard time staying organized. My Inbox would overflow with incoming messages and I often found myself overwhelmed with the amount of emails and had troubles navigating through. That's no longer an issue.

Cross-department collaboration

Although our Technical Department is not primarily using my board, they are able to receive my tasks and respond with possible solutions. While my board is not following any particular Kanban method, the small part of Tech Dep. workflow within my board is following Kanban principles. Work in Progress is limited and proper stages are imposed to ensure efficient communication.

Automation

All I have to do is tag my emails and they will appear with appropriate color and information on my board. This makes it much easier for me to store and access emails at further notice.