How to Improve Your Customer Service with Workflow Automation

Workflow automation drives service agents’ productivity due to quicker and more effective case resolution, which can’t but lead to better customer service quality and happier customers.

Although special workflow management software can help to obtain these results, we believe that using CRM for workflow automation is a better option. It doesn’t only drive case management but aggregates comprehensive customer info. It helps to track the history of customer interactions and address customers’ issues more aptly.

If you’re eager to see how to deliver quality customer service through efficient case resolution with CRM, let’s proceed with some real-life examples.

3 automated customer service workflows for efficient cases resolution

Advanced CRMs empower employees to manage their work more efficiently due to functionality for process automation. Service agents, in particular, can resolve their cases quicker and stay more productive due to timely case assignment, provision of deadlines and escalation of unresolved cases. It’s easy to achieve these goals in CRMs with vast capabilities for managing sales and service workflows, like Salesforce and Dynamics 365.

We will illustrate our point by showing relevant workflows and use as examples the abovementioned CRMs, which are listed among leaders in the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant research. However, CRMs may differ in the visual reflection of the steps of workflow rules’ embedding.

Use case 1: Monitoring unassigned high-priority cases

Severe customer problems or those coming from the customers with the premium SLA (Service Level Agreement) or problems connected with an expensive product are most likely to turn into high-priority cases in your service CRM. Cases are also prioritized in accordance with their severity level, type and, optionally, some other parameters, like customer sentiment.

If high-priority cases don’t get timely resolved, be it for the agents’ overload or improper case prioritization, you’ll see the customers getting disappointed with your service and choosing your competitors over you. According to Salesforce experts from ScienceSoft, the common way of managing such an issue is introducing case assignment rules that ensure automatic distribution of cases either to designated agents or to case queues where agents take them up. However, if a new case doesn’t match the assignment rule’s criteria, it will be assigned to a separate queue with non-standard cases. Left there for a long time, it may be forgotten, which is unacceptable. Since it’s crucially important to address high-priority cases quicker than any other case types, see how to ensure it with CRM automation capabilities. It requires introducing a workflow, which notifies a certain service manager if a high-priority case remains unassigned for an hour.

The workflow rule you need to introduce will follow the if/then statement logic: “If a high-priority case is unassigned for an hour, then the service manager gets notified.” The rule starts evaluating case records as soon as new cases are created. For the rule to run, the case priority should be high, and the case owner should be an unassigned case queue. After that, you introduce a time-dependent workflow action. To do this, you add a time trigger and specify when the action runs (in an hour after the case goes to the unassigned case queue). Under the specified trigger, the service manager gets an email notification when the preset hour expires.

Use case 2: Setting up resolution dates for high-, medium- and low-priority cases

Relying only on case prioritization may be insufficient to aid highly overloaded service agents to address cases promptly. What may help is adding a recommended case resolution date to the case record.

To ensure that cases of different priority levels are addressed in due time, you may introduce 3 workflow rules, which imply an automated update of the custom Case Resolution Deadline field for high-, medium-, and low-priority cases.

The logic for the high-priority case is “If a high-priority case comes up, then set its resolution deadline to 1 day from today” (if you want high-priority cases to be solved in a day). The rule starts evaluating case records as soon as new cases are created. The rule will run if case priority is high, which triggers the update of the Case Resolution Deadline field. To set up the necessary deadline, you need to specify the new value for the Case Resolution Deadline field with a formula, which adds one day to the opening date of a case.

The same algorithm of rule-embedding works for medium- and low-priority cases with the difference in rule criteria (case priority will be either medium or low) and introduced case resolution deadlines.

Use case 3: Escalating expired cases

Another reason for slow or inefficient case resolution is the absence of escalation mechanisms in the case management processes. You can see it when agents still fail to close some cases while the case assignment and prioritization rules are set up and the reminders of case resolution deadlines are provided with workflow rules.

To speed up the case resolution process, you may introduce escalation rules, which imply reassigning an unresolved case to another agent, and in some cases, even to a service manager.

Let’s imagine that a service agent failed to close a high-priority case within a day and didn’t comply with the relevant workflow rule. Then an escalation rule needs to be imposed with the following pattern “If a high-priority case isn’t closed in a day after it’s created, then reassign it to another agent.” The rule will be running for the cases with high priority. If you want to have escalation rules for cases from certain accounts (for example, those with the premium level support), additional criteria should be introduced. Then the rules should be related to these accounts by adding a criterion that the account’s support level is premium. After that, the time should be specified when the clock of the escalation rule starts ticking. In our example, the escalation period starts running when the case is created. The escalation rule itself runs when a day provided for closing high-priority cases expires. After that goes defining actions happening when the case is escalated. Usually, the escalation is followed by reassigning the case to another owner (a service agent or a manager) or the case queue with the increase in case’s priority (which is optional). The last step is enabling email notifications to the current and the new case owners telling them who is now responsible for the case.

The bottom line

Monitoring case resolution can be easier and more efficient with CRM’s workflow capabilities. Notifications on unassigned cases, automated field updates and case escalation mechanisms contribute to high-quality customer service, which your clients seek and appreciate.


About the Author

Egor Strashynsky, Marketing Specialist at ScienceSoft. ScienceSoft is a recognized partner of IBM, Microsoft, Magento, ServiceNow and Oracle. Our business achievements are recognized by prestigious awards, including a national 2014 Fastest-growing company award by Ernst&Young (EY).

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