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Bridging Gaps Through Technology

IMG_2321Everyone gets complaints. Complaints about their service, complaints about their products, complaints about the cost, complaints about the noise (more on that last one in a minute). Which is why at fusionSpan we have a help desk system that allows us to track everything. A help desk allows us to both ensure we’re following up on all our customers’ issues, as well as tracking the kind of issues we’re getting. Yet most non-technology departments are not using a help desk system, or a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track the complaints, which is a huge mistake. In the time of big data, not capturing your data can put you at a significant disadvantage. You are unable to make strategic decisions based on the trends in your complaints, which will ultimately result in you making decisions that just result in more complaints.

A story about noise

Decisions are made based on anecdotes when your organization does not track issues. Not tracking can be a problem when your complaint pattern looks anything like those at Reagan National Airport (DCA). Based on this article, DCA received 8,670 noise complaints in 2015, representing approximately 570% increase in noise complaints from 2014. Now if you stopped there, you’d just assume all the jets at DCA had turned their engines up to 11, but there’s more. In 2015, 6,500 of the complaints came from ONE PERSON – that’s an average of 18 complaints a day! That means that if you remove that outlier, DCA only got 2,170. So DCA just has a squeaky wheel issue, right? Wrong. Those 2,170 complaints still represent 884 more complaints then the 1,286 they got the year before. So clearly there is a lot going on here, and DCA will need to dig further into their records to identify the issue.

Now imagine, instead of DCA we’re talking about your organization, and you are not tracking any of the complaints. You just ask the person who answer the phone, “Hey, how are the complaints looking this year?” They might respond, “We’re fine, except this one customer calls in 18 times a day with something or another.” Or maybe they’ll note, “There seems to be more calls then last year.” There’s a real actionable phrase, “Seems to be.” (#sarcasm) And that’s assuming the person has held the position for more than a year, and that you don’t have multiple people taking complaints, because then who knows what kind of stories you will hear. You need hard data to make decisions – you need to implement a help desk tool.

Managing your complaints

Now you want to get a help desk tool in place, but where to begin. From Vivantio, Desk.com, Jira Service Desk, and Zendesk, there are a lot of great help desk options. At fusionSpan, we use a tool called Freshdesk. Picking the right tool to get started is important, and you likely won’t need all of the traditional IT help desk features.

What might make more sense is to try some out. Most of the systems offer free 30 day trials. Alternatively, some will even allow for unlimited free use for small teams. When you sign up don’t forget to mention you are a non-profit. Many of these subscription services offer discounts to non-profits. So if you’re a small staff organization struggling to follow up with issues because complaints just end up in everyone’s inbox, or a small department at a larger organization looking to get organized, dip your toe into the help desk world with one of these trial or free options.

I know complaints have a negative connotation about them, but at fusionSpan we always love to hear from our customers, no matter what the circumstances. Plus, the complaints are never about what we have done, they usually come in because they know we can help them. So if you want to share your IT complaints with us, or need any help implementing a help desk tool, feel free to reach out. Hearing from your customers means they know they can rely on you. It’s when your customers stop complaining that you really have to worry.

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Justin Burniske

Justin Burniske

Justin serves as the Senior IT Manager at fusionSpan, bringing his experience implementing and overseeing an association management system for an education nonprofit. Additionally, he brings his positive, can-do attitude to any project on which he is working.Justin graduated from University of Maryland’s MBA program, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining fusionSpan, Justin taught middle school math and worked with education nonprofits. Also, he wants you to know he loves his family.
Justin Burniske

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