Fog Creek

An Account Manager’s Guide to Customer Support Success in FogBugz

I’m Jordan, a new Account Coordinator here at Fog Creek. Over the last few months, I’ve been getting stuck into a plethora of job responsibilities. From answering 50-100 sales and customer service emails each day and helping customers on the phone to conducting various marketing initiatives. It’s a lot to pack in, so I need to be as efficient as possible. I’ve distilled my madness down into these 4 steps so that you too can be successful with customer support in FogBugz:

1. Be Efficient with Custom Filters

I’ve customized my case filters to view and answer support cases as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can add whichever filters are most relevant to your work, but here’s what I’ve found works best for me:

  • A. In FogBugz, in the upper left-hand corner, I chose to view only the cases assigned to me rather than viewing the entire Inbox. To do this, click “Refine Further” > “Assigned To User” > “Me”
    inbox case filter
  • B. Due to the range of activities my team works on, we organize all internal and external cases by project. Although the majority of my cases are in the incoming “Inbox” project, I still have a few cases that are in other projects. So to make sure I can view all the projects, I click on “Area” (the default) > Project.
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  • C. Lastly, I sort all cases by due date. This is important to ensure that all cases get completed on time. On the rare occasion where a case becomes overdue, it shows up on top with the due date in red. This grabs my attention so I know to resolve it right away.

The above setup lets me focus on just my own work, prioritize the important tickets and make sure nothing slips through the net. By creating custom filters, you can always view the exact filter combination you want when starting your work.

2. Create a Time Map to Plan Your Time (and stick to it!)

To keep myself on track throughout the day, I create a Time Map. Think of it as a flexible roadmap for your day. Each item is a signpost to guide my day’s activity, but nothing is set in stone because as you know in Support work, you’re going to have frequent interruptions. For instance, I don’t know when calls will come in, so my plan allows me to be flexible.

I can’t work any other way. Working without a Time Map for me, is like trying to cook without a recipe. Sure, you’d know what dish to make, but you’d be at a loss when it comes to the ingredients, measurements, how long to leave it in the oven, etc. But with one, I always have a general idea of what I want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if a simple task becomes difficult to break away from, the time map guides me through my day. It ensures I allocate sufficient time to critical tasks and minimize time spent on more menial duties.

Here’s a final tip: In Tim Ferriss’ bestseller, the 4 Hour Work Week, he suggests giving yourself no more than two “main tasks” for the day. So for instance, I’ll give myself one major task (writing a blog post), and one minor task (researching a problem). Any more than that and my efforts become too diffused. The fewer tasks you attempt, the more thorough you can be.

Here’s my Time Map for today as an example. I created it with Trello (of course), but you can just jot it down on paper.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 17.50.23

3. Purge, Delegate and Highlight

Now that you’ve created a Time Map, it’s time to get started. I like to begin each day with a clean slate. In other words, removing any spam and assigning relevant cases to other team members. This way I can focus, and there isn’t anything getting in the way of what I really need to get done.

Some cases I don’t need to handle until later so I tag them. I also star cases to indicate that they’re a complex issue and I know that I need to allocate more time to take a proper look at them.

4. A Clear Workflow to Keep Organized

I’ve worked in customer service for the last few years at a few different companies. During this time, I’ve experimented with a variety of workflow processes. What works for me is finishing all of the cases due at the start of the day, before then tackling the most difficult issues that I had marked earlier. This way you can handle the most time-sensitive cases and still have time to get to the complex ones. It’s a one-two, knockout punch!

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I love using FogBugz because it’s a tool that grows with me. I’ve been able to be productive right away because it’s straightforward to use – especially for Customer Service and email-based cases. As I’ve gradually learned more of its ins and outs I’ve been able to use its more advanced features, ultimately completing my work faster. If you’d like to learn more about FogBugz for Customer Support and streamline your email Help Desk, then sign up for our free Help Desk webinar.