ArsDigita Archives

Customer Service Module Requirements

by Sarah Ewen

I. Introduction

This document specifies the requirements of the customer service module, part of the ArsDigita Community System. It explains:

II. Vision Statement

Fulfilling a need

The customer service module has two main purposes:

  • It enables customer service representatives to give prompt, personal responses to customer inquiries, thus improving customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.
  • All interactions are logged, thus patterns in customer feedback can be seen, and decisions on how to improve the service can be made accordingly.

The customer service module can be used independently of the ecommerce module; do just exactly that.

III. System Overview

The customer service module offers the following features:

  • Whenever an email is sent to a customer, an issue is created, or augmented, if it already existed. This provides a complete history of interactions between the customer and the customer service representative.

  • Issues the customer raises can be categorized either for reporting purposes or for referral to an appropriate department.

  • Unregistered users can be profiled based on what information the representative can obtain about them, and an attempt is made to match them to an existing user profile before creating a new one.

  • Customer service representatives can compose canned responses based on emails they find themselves composing frequently. These phrases can then automatically be inserted into any email created from that point.

  • A Spam System can select certain groups of users by order history, how much they have spent, when they last visited, what products they have browsed, or the mailing lists they are subscribed to, and send them email in bulk. A gift certificate can even be attached if they are valuable customers.

  • Emails sent through the Spam System are spell-checked first.

  • Customer service reps will do a lot of data entry; picklists help to make the job less tiresome by offering lists of the options they are likely to want to enter.

  • The Picklist Management Tool is used to configure what items make up a picklist.

  • The module generates reports and statistics to show up issues that are recurring frequently, which representatives are handling the most queries, the resources the reps need to use most often, etc. Each report can be filtered and sorted to help highlight where efficiency can be improved.

IV. Use-cases and User-scenarios

The customer service module is only expected to be used by customer service representatives.

  • Reacting to an issue: recording the interaction

    Carina the customer service representative has received an email from a customer. To log the interaction, she visits /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/interaction-add. She enters the following details:

    • The date and time of the interaction
    • How the inquiry was made (phone, email, fax, etc)
    • Whether it was herself or the customer that initiated it
    • Any information she can obtain about the customer (name, email, zip code)

    then she hits `continue'. On the next page, she enters the details about the issue and whether follow-up action should be taken. Also, if this interaction is related to a previously opened issue she can indicate that by entering the issue ID. Carina can also see what the system managed to determine about the customer (i.e. whether or not they were recognized).

    Finally, if there was only one issue discussed in this interaction, she chooses `interaction complete'. Otherwise, she can choose to `Enter Another Issue as part of this Interaction' and repeat the above step again.

    Once this is complete, she is taken back to the `New Interaction' page to fill in details about the next interaction she will deal with.

  • Viewing customer service issues

    Carina goes to /admin/ecommerce/customer-service and views the list of issue categories (any issues which don't belong to a category are stored under a `uncategorized' section). Within each category, she can choose to browse either `open' (still in need of attention) or `closed' (resolved) issues. Each link to open issues has a tally count displayed next to it so that Carina will be able to spot open issues instantly. When Carina selects a category she will be taken to a page which lists all issues, along with the customers they relate to.

    Carina could just have easily have got to this list by going straight to /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/issues. At the top of the page she can choose to change the category of issues that she is browsing, or the status (open / closed), and choose to view only those issues raised in the last 24 hours / week / month.

    Within the issue list, clicking on a customer will bring up all the details about that customer. Clicking on an issue number will bring up all the details about that issue; the issue details page also offers options to edit or close the issue, send email to the customer, or record additional interactions pertaining to that issue.

  • Editing an issue type

    If at a later date Carina changes her mind about the category she submitted an issue under, she can modify it. She picks out the issue from the issue list at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/issues and then chooses `edit' at the top of the page. She can then select the correct category and hit `Submit Changes'.

  • Closing an issue If Carina resolves an issue with a customer, but forgets to mark it as closed when she logs the last interaction, that's okay. She just brings up the issue's details from the list at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/issues and then chooses `close' from the list at the top of the page.

  • Send (spell-checked) email to a customer

    Carina views the issue list, finds the relevant issue, clicks on the issue number and chooses the `send email' option. She then fills in the cc / bcc / subject fields, and the message. Whilst composing the message, Carina can select any of the pre-defined canned responses displayed in the picklist and choose `Insert Response' at the appropriate point to save herself a lot of typing.

    Once she has finished composing the email she hits the `Send' button at the foot of the page. The email is then checked over for spelling mistakes; if any are detected Carina will see the Spell Checker page which displays the email Carina has composed, but replaces any words it does not recognize with a picklist that contains a list of possible corrections. Carina can choose the right correction, or, if the right correction isn't in the list, go back and edit the message. If the spell checker didn't have any suggestions the word is put into a text field that Carina can edit. Alternatively, if the word was correct and the spell checker has not recognized it, Carina can choose `Add' at the foot of the page to extend the spell checker's dictionary to recognize that word in future.

    Once she has worked through the email correcting any mistakes, she can choose `Submit'. The final document is then displayed for one final check over. If she is happy with hit, Carina hits `Confirm', and the email is sent to the customer. It is then logged under the appropriate issue, and Carina is re-directed to the issue's details page where she can see that it has been logged as the most recent action.

  • Searching for registered customers

    Carina can find a registered customer's details by entering their name at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service. The search will return a page listing all the close matches; Carina then clicks on the user that she was looking for to bring up their details.

  • Searching for an unregistered customer

    Some customers may not have registered with the site, but still contact the customer service department for help. If they do so, the customer service rep will try and enter as much information about the customer as possible when logging the interaction, in order to store a profile of them. This information might include email address, zip code, age, male/female. Carina can retrieve such a user profile by going to /admin/ecommerce/customer-service and entering an attribute she knows about the customer; the system will find the best matches based on what she has entered. Carina is then able to build up a history of issues and interactions with that user without them having to even register on the site.

  • Searching for customers who have made purchases recently

    It is always useful to know who your favorite customers are. Carina can find `customers who have spent x of the site's chosen currency in the last y days' at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service. She just fills in the numbers and hits `go'.

  • Spamming groups of users

    Should Carina want to send out an email to multiple customers, she should head over to /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/spam. From here, she has several options:

    • Spam all users on a particular mailing list.
      Carina selects the right mailing list from a picklist on the page.

    • Spam all the members of one user class.
      Carina selects the right user class from a picklist on the page.

    • Spam all users who bought a particular product.
      Carina enters the product ID into the `Product ID' field under that option.

    • Spam all users who have viewed a particular product.
      Carina enters the product ID into the `Product ID' field under that option.

    • Spam all users who have viewed a particular category.
      Carina selects the appropriate category from a picklist on the page.

    • Spam all users who last visited the site in a certain time frame.

    This is particularly useful for contacting users who have not been back to the site in some time, and may have forgotten about it, or may not know it has been improved. Carina chooses the begin and end dates for the time in which they might have last visited.

    Each of these options is accompanied by a `Show me the users who will be spammed' option. If Carina wants to see a list of the people she will be emailing, she can check this box.

    Then, she chooses `Continue'. She fills in the subject and message fields and, if she wants to send them a gift certificate, she can do so here by specifying the amount and the length of time it will be valid for.

    Once Carina has written her email she presses `Continue' and the spell checker looks over the document (the procedure for this is described above in `Send (spell-checked) email to a customer'). Carina can check over the document and choose `Submit' when she is happy.

    The email is presented in its final form for one last check over before being spammed to thousands of customers. Carina hits `Confirm' if she is happy with what they will read. Otherwise, she can use the back button in her browser to backtrack and modify the email.

  • Viewing, editing, deleting and adding canned responses

    Carina often finds herself writing `Dear customer, thank you for your inquiry regarding our new telepathic ordering service. This is currently only available to selected customers who know who they are. Regards, Carina, BigThoughts Inc. Customer Services'. It's getting tedious typing it out so she decides to create a new canned response.

    The canned responses can be viewed at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/canned-responses. She visits the page and reviews the existing canned responses to make sure that a similar one doesn't already exist. To create the new response, she selects `Add a new canned response'. She fills in the `description', which is what will be displayed in the picklist on the `send an email' page, and `text' field, which is the text that will be inserted whenever a rep selects this canned response. She chooses `Submit' to save her new canned response, and saves herself a load of typing in the future.

    Later on, Carina decides to edit the response. She brings up the canned responses page again and clicks on the description of her one. This brings up a page identical to the one she saw when she first added it, only the description and text fields are filled in with the existing values. Carina modifies them and hits `Submit' to save her changes.

    Later on, long after the telepathic ordering system has become available to all customers, she decides to delete the response altogether as she doesn't ever use it now. She brings up the list of canned responses and selects the `delete' option right underneath the response.

  • Viewing and editing the picklist

    Customer service representatives will interact with customers quite frequently. The last thing they need is a complicated, tedious form to complete to log each interaction that takes place. Picklists help ease the tedium by offering quick simple lists containing items they would usually have to type repeatedly. For example, `User inquired via:' is almost always going to be one of `phone', `email', or `fax', thus a picklist exists for this info. Customer reps can modify and add to the list of items that appear in the picklist.

    Carina decides to augment the `Inquired Via' picklist to include the new form of communication, telepathy. The picklist management tool is located at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/picklists. Carina visits the page; it displays the current items that exist within each picklist. Beside each item is the option to `delete', `insert after' or `swap with next'. Carina chooses `insert after' by the email option. She is invited to enter in the name of the item, and then after doing so she presses `Add'. The item is added into the picklist and she gets re-directed back to the picklist management tool so that she can see the new `Telepathy' item situated in the list after `email'.

    Some time later, telepathy gets really popular. Rather than having to click on the picklist and scroll down to `telepathy', Carina wants to be able to have telepathy listed right at the top so that it is the default option. She goes back to the picklist management tool and clicks `swap with next' until `telepathy' appears at the top.

  • Viewing statistics and reports

    All the reports that can be viewed are listed at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/statistics. Carina can choose to view:

    • Issues by issue type
    • Interactions by originator
    • Interactions by customer service rep
    • Actions by info used

    All the interaction reports provide options at the top of the page for viewing a list based on customer service rep, originator, method of inquiry and date of interaction.

V. Related Links

VI.A Requirements: Data Model

  • 1.10.0 Issues and Interactions

    1.10.01 Must save issues and associate them with the interactions that raised them.

    1.10.05 Must accommodate categorization of issues into a one level deep tree.

    1.10.10 Interactions and issues must be stored permanently in order to allow viewing of customer interaction history.

  • 1.20.0 Users

    1.20.01 Must save user profiles created by reps for association with issues and interactions with unique identifier.

    1.20.05 Must associate with ACS user table if the user is recognized as registered.

  • 1.30.0 Email and Canned Responses

    1.30.01 Must record details of all emails sent to individual and multiple users.

    1.30.05 Must store sets of canned responses created by customer service reps.

  • 1.40.0 Picklists

    1.40.01 Must store all items created in picklists with unique identifier.

VI.B Requirements: Functionality

  • 5.10.0 Issues and Interactions

    5.10.01 Several issues can be associated with an interaction.

    5.10.05 Several interactions can be associated with an issue.

    5.10.15 Issues can be open or closed.

    5.10.20 Issues can be viewed and modified.

    5.10.25 All interactions are time-stamped and associated with the customer service representative and customer that were involved.

    5.10.30 Issues can be categorized.

    5.10.35 Interactions can be viewed and modified.

  • 5.15.0 Sending Emails

    5.15.01 Customer service representatives can send emails to individual customers.

    5.15.03 Whilst composing an email, a representative can insert any number of canned responses.

    5.15.05 Customer service representatives can send emails to a group of customers.

    5.15.07 The pre-defined user groups that can be spammed in this module are:

    • Customers subscribed to a mailing list
    • All the customers in a user class
    • All the customers who have bought one particular product
    • All the customers who have viewed one particular product
    • All the customers who have viewed a particular category
    • All the customers who last visited the site within a specified time frame

    5.15.08 The customer service representative can view a list of all the users that are in the group they have selected to email before they begin to compose the email.

    5.15.10 All emails are spell checked using the spell checking tool before they are sent.

    5.15.10 Customer service representatives can review the final version of the email after it has been spell checked to confirm it is correct before it is sent.

    5.15.15 Words that the spell checker does not recognize can be added to the spell checker's dictionary so that they will be recognized in future.

    5.15.20 Customer service representatives can send gift certificates to groups of users when they send them an email.

  • 5.20.0 Searching for customers based on information obtained by the module

    5.20.01 Customer service representatives can search for a registered customer by their name.

    5.20.05 Customer service representatives can search for an unregistered customer by any other attribute that may be stored about them (zip code, email address, etc).

    5.20.10 Customer service representatives can search for a customer by the date of the last time they visited the web site. The parameters for the search are the begin and end times of the period in which the customer last visited the site.

    5.20.15 Customer service representatives can search for customers who have spent a specified amount of money on the site between now and a specified number of days ago.

  • 5.30.0 Picklists and canned responses

    5.30.01 Customer service representatives can view, modify, delete and add to the list of items available in three picklists:

    • The method of inquiry
    • The information that was used to respond to the inquiry
    • The category (or type) the issue was assigned to

    5.30.05 Customer service representatives can view, modify, delete and add to the canned responses that are available when composing emails.

  • 5.40.0 Reports and statistics

    5.40.01 Customer service representatives can view a summary of issues, sorted by issue type.

    5.40.05 Customer service representatives can view a summary of interactions, sorted by:

    • Originator
    • Customer Service Representative

    5.40.10 Customer service representatives can view a summary of actions, sorted by the information that was used to respond to them.

VI.C Requirements: User Interface

  • 10.10.0 Viewing Issues and Interactions

    10.10.01Customer service representatives enter information about an interaction through an HTML form.

    10.10.05 When entering an interaction, the items within each picklist should be displayed next to the relevant field they pertain to, to facilitate faster form completion.

    10.10.10 Issues can be viewed by type, status, or open date.

    10.10.15 Interactions can be viewed by originator, type, date, and representative. All these options should be displayed at the top of a list of interactions.

  • 10.20.0 Sending Emails

    10.20.01 Field layout for sending an email should closely represent the typical format used when sending an email in an email client (to, cc, bcc, subject, body).

    10.20.05 Canned responses should be presented by description, in a picklist beneath the email.

    10.20.10 The spell check tool should present alternatives to a word it does not recognize in a picklist, unless no alternatives can be found, in which case the word should be put in a text field for editing.

    10.20.15 There should be an option to add unrecognized words present at the bottom of the page where spell checking takes place.

  • 10.30.0 Viewing reports and statistics

    10.30.01 The index page to the reports and statistics should summarize key statistics next to the link to the report, so that customer service representatives can easily spot important reports worth looking over.

    10.30.05 The items listed in reports should be linked to pages where they can be viewed individually in more detail.

VII. Revision History

Document Revision # Action Taken, Notes When? By Whom?
0.1 Creation, based on
10/14/2000 Sarah Ewen
0.2 Reviewed, taking into consideration comments from Eve Andersson. 10/16/2000 Sarah Ewen