Published on: August 5, 2022Category: Zoho Desk, Zoho DeskLast Updated: August 16, 2022 Comments: 0
Running a help desk system provides tremendous business value by keeping customer requests from falling through the cracks, helping to improve the customer experience and lower churn. Working with a platform like Zoho Desk also benefits managers and executives, who can use support desk performance data to improve customer outcomes and overall productivity.
Generally speaking, Zoho Desk works like any other help desk or customer service desk–think Zendesk or Freshdesk. It issues tickets, assigns them to individuals, and then tracks their progress as each ticket gets resolved.
That said, there is still a lot of confusion that exists about the platform. One question in particular that we often get at ZBrains when our users are setting up Zoho Desk is the difference between Zoho Desk Teams and Zoho Desk Departments–as well as how you use them appropriately.
Because there is a major difference between the two, let us take a closer look at each of them, including the various scenarios in which you would use each.
What are Zoho Desk Teams?
In Zoho Desk, a Team is a group of “agents” all sitting in the same department. When you upload a new profile to Zoho Desk, they appear as individual “agents.” You can then create “Teams” into which you can add multiple agents. A Team might represent a subdepartment, a project, or any kind of subdivision within a department.
When a customer submits a new ticket, you can assign it to an agent, a Team, or an agent within a Team. That agent or Team will then get to work on the ticket by following the ticket blueprints, which you will have already set up.
Zoho Desk will then track that ticket via various metrics, such as response times, customer satisfaction ratings, and product-specific issues. These metrics can be agent-specific or department-wide.
What are Departments in Zoho Desk?
“Departments” are how you fully segment Zoho Desk to represent the departments or segments within your company. You can, for example, use it to differentiate between different brands, knowledge bases, locations, and other entities within your organization.
When Should You Use Zoho Desk Departments?
In short, we would advise you to only set up a new Zoho Desk Department if you need to. For example, if your organization deals with separate brands or knowledge bases, it stands to reason that you would want to keep these brands apart.
In fact, you may already have separate domains–and, therefore, email addresses–linked to those separate brands. In this case, you would benefit from setting up entirely separate Zoho Desk interfaces to keep them distinguishable from one another.
Another scenario where using different Zoho Desk Departments is appropriate is when you want to keep two departments within your organization separate.
Take, for example, your HR and Customer Service departments. It is highly unlikely that you would want to reassign tasks between these two departments–and you are likely to have different sets of users working in those areas, anyways. In this case, it makes sense to keep them separate and to set up entirely distinct departments.
When Should You Not Use Zoho Desk Departments?
While there are advantages to using separate Zoho Desk Departments, there are cases where the extra effort is not appropriate. Since setting up separate Departments is a big task, it is worth avoiding it, if possible.
Further, remember that there is a hard cut between Departments. As a result, you cannot assign tickets to another department within your organization. If you have multiple teams that collaborate closely, working within a single Department allows them to retain this functionality.
Effectively, as long as your teams operate within the same knowledge base, brand, and department, using “Teams” as your ticketing differentiator should make the most sense.
Of course, we also recognize that every company’s structure and needs are different. If you have any other questions about Zoho Desk Teams and Zoho Desk Departments, reach out to the team at ZBrains. Our team of Zoho experts can help you clarify the specific solution that is best for your requirements.
On a time crunch? This is a 7-minute read about Zoho for beginners.
If there’s one thing we’ve said before but really can’t stress enough, it’s the importance of proper adoption when deploying Zoho apps for the first time. Don’t worry, I can already see your eyes glazing over with that barrage of buzzwords. Because I understand your pain, I’ll try to make this “Zoho for beginners” article as painless as possible while also being informative. The truth is there are several solid suggestions to ensure you have the strength of your whole team behind you when getting started on Zoho – and you can avoid spitting instructions at a bored or disgruntled room.
We may be salespeople here at ZBrains, but we aren’t psychologists, so there won’t be any Jedi mind tricks here, aside from those already built into Zoho’s software (they are the clever ones). Without further ado, let’s get started!
Zoho Cliq: Your Canary in the Coalmine
Before you buy a new car, you’ll probably want to test-drive it. When considering Zoho for beginners, you’ll definitely want to make sure everyone test-drives their apps, too. In this case, I want you to think of Zoho Cliq as a precursor to more involved Zoho apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Books, Inventory, Desk, Projects, and others. Cliq, as you may already know, is Zoho’s answer to Slack, a popular intra-office chat software.
Cliq is nice because it does basically the same thing as Slack, but it comes pre-integrated into Zoho CRM, Zoho Desk, and Zoho People – the idea being that your staff who use primarily one app the whole day don’t have to log into another app just to chat with other folks in the office.
The other nice thing about Cliq is it’s really darn easy to use, at least for most people. You could add a safeguard against low adoption to your Zoho rollout by choosing to deploy Cliq for your whole team first, then letting the questions roll in. And, if there aren’t any stragglers, you can safely assume you can roll out more difficult and important apps like CRM with only the usual training-related questions. (And, fortunately for you, we provide Zoho training, so that’s even less on your plate.)
Zoho Desk: like a Miniature CRM
Ready for yet another driving analogy? Good, I’m not either. But, the fact is there’s another way to prepare for something as complex as Zoho CRM. Rolling out Zoho Cliq first is great at letting you know who your “problem children” might be, but it’s not the same as sticking them into the fire, so to speak, and watching them try to survive. And, I don’t want you to think about doing that. Instead, consider deploying a slightly more complex app, something that has a lot of the same features as the CRM without being the CRM itself. That app is Zoho Desk.
Desk has ways to sort through customers, prioritize emails in the form of tickets, and progress tickets through a series of possible actions with Blueprint, a feature that was first introduced in Zoho CRM. From an administrative standpoint, it even includes workflow automation, so your CRM admin-to-be can get their feet wet with that, too. That way, they can be better prepared for working with it more heavily in the CRM.
Even if Zoho Desk isn’t quite as easy as Cliq for year team to get their collective head around, it’s what our Chief Solutions Architect James Converse calls a “soft landing” point. Essentially, if you’re gonna crash-land, make it on a nice comfy mattress instead of the hard asphalt. That’s the essence of Zoho for beginners, and ensures you get some early buy-in.
All Done Testing? Time to Implement in Earnest
If you’ve already gone through these motions and it looks like your staff is ready to roll with you on Zoho, then that’s great! Staff buy-in is one of the most important pieces of a successful Zoho deployment, especially if it involves using more than one Zoho app.
When it comes to Zoho implementation, you have the option to do it yourself or hire a consultant to help you. There are advantages and pitfalls to both ways of doing it, so we’ll analyze those here:
Ensuring Zoho Adoption When You Implement Yourself
We usually tell people the most important part of any Zoho implementation isn’t the deployment of their specific custom fields, modules, and screens. Nor is it the programming of workflow automation and blueprint (when necessary), or the writing of custom functions to ensure their system adheres to very specific business logic. It’s not any of that. Actually, it’s a lot more basic.
It’s the training.
Training in this case is almost like buy-in, and sometimes the two are interchangeable! Some of your staff will give you their buy-in from being trained, and others will need to buy into an idea before opening themselves to the idea of learning a new system – but, it all looks the same in the end.
In any case, properly training your staff ensures everyone uses your system the way it was meant to be used. You’ll probably need to train administrators at your business and have those admins train your other staff members. Maybe you’re the only admin – and, that’s fine too. But, you’ll need to confirm that each person using a specific app knows exactly what to do in that app and when to do it.
For example: in Zoho CRM, you might want to impart to a salesperson how to enter leads into your database, how and when to convert them to contacts, accounts, and deals, and how to use the Activities module and tasks to structure their day. And that’s just a small portion!
Obviously, administering a Zoho for beginners training yourself is a big deal. It isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re already trying to run a business. You just don’t have time!
Ensuring Adoption When Using a Zoho Consultant
Fortunately, you don’t have to work terribly hard to ensure proper Zoho adoption if you hire a Zoho consultant to help with system deployment. That’s our job! We’ve done Zoho implementations many, many times, and while no business is exactly the same as the next, basic training on Zoho CRM and other apps tend to be pretty regimented. We almost always give training sessions in advance of the actual app deployments. And, we allot some time at the end of our training sessions for a Q&A session. The answers to those questions usually get everyone’s noggins joggin’, and this makes the following Zoho consulting sessions to configure custom fields and screens that much more fruitful.
Now, you’re probably wondering how we find out about your business enough to recommend a Zoho plan that includes training on it, right?
The Truth About Our Zoho Consulting
It’s true that (nearly) everyone needs proper Zoho training, but after the training sessions our consulting sessions become much more tailored towards your business. Zoho can be both a blessing and a curse in that it gives you multiple ways to do almost anything in business. The question is always:
“What’s the best way to do all these things in the context of my own business?”
We figure out exactly which way to go with you by sitting down for a consulting session called a Business Process Analysis. In a BPA, we spend time with you and your team in order to get our heads around your whole business – then we make our formal recommendations to you, kind of like a doctor. Only, this isn’t just a five-minute wham-bam appointment. And, there’s no smelly waiting room either.
You may be starting to see just how much goes into deploying Zoho. It’s not something we take lightly, and you shouldn’t either. We’re here to help you every step of the way, from planning, to training, to deployment – and beyond.
We covered a fair bit in this article, so to recap, we:
Suggested implementing Zoho Cliq or Zoho Desk as a way to prepare your staff for a more complete “Zoho for beginners” deployment
Demonstrated training as a way to get ultimate staff buy-in
Discussed the value of a business consulting session to get a plan in place to ensure you do everything the right way.
This isn’t a call to carry all these out yourself, of course. In the grand scheme of things, you may be working with much more than Zoho CRM, Cliq, and Desk. (There’s Zoho Books for your finances…and 40+ other apps in the whole Zoho One suite.) And, as Zoho consultants, we’d probably do it in a reverse order (point 3, then 2, then 1). But, that may not be your style, so if you don’t want to engage with a Zoho consultant like us, you could really do any of these to help ensure buy-in from your staff. Regardless, as mentioned before, hopefully these points on Zoho for beginners get the old noggin joggin’.
Published on: September 24, 2018Category: Zoho CRM, Zoho DeskLast Updated: November 17, 2020 Comments: 0
Track Time Automatically or Manually with the Zoho Desk Timer
A recent upgrade to Zoho Desk has made this web-based help desk software even more valuable. Zoho Desk Time Tracking is the newest feature, allowing you to track time spent on tickets and add billable time entries based on predefined costs. The ease and efficiency of this new component is instantly identifiable — it’s such a no-brainer that you may wonder how Zoho Desk ever existed without it! We’ve spelled out the details of this streamlined process below:
The timer is a stopwatch on the top of the page that tracks the amount of time spent working on a ticket or task. Press pause and start to pause and resume the timer as needed. When you click pause, the accumulated time is held for you. You can restart the timer to pick up where you left off, or you can apply the accumulated time to your timesheet. There is also a refresh button to reset the timer, allowing you to start the timer over.
Timer displays accumulated time in the HH:MM:SS format, starting at the one-second mark
Timers can be run on multiple tickets simultaneously
Zoho Desk Time Tracking for Tasks
Simplicity is the name of the game, which is why tracking time for tasks is very similar to tickets. The chief difference? An administrator could restrict you from running the timer on multiple tasks at once. When this happens, a pop-up on the upper right area of the screen prompts you to submit the time spent on the current task before beginning the timer on the new one.
Clicking “Yes” in the above box will submit the timer for the accumulated time for the current task and start the timer on the new task.
How to Track Active Timers
Although you could run the timer on multiple tickets and tasks, it’s useless if you don’t remember to stop and submit their time. When you have lots of work on your plate, paying extra attention to a timer is the last thing you want to do. That’s why Zoho Desk includes My Active Timers, a view that lists all of your active timers in the department. (Because let’s face it, multitasking is no longer just a mark of efficiency, it’s a way of life.)
To view your active timers:
1. Log into Zoho Desk
2. Check the Pending Activities icon
3. A new window slides open on the right hand side of the screen
4. Click the My Active Timers icon at the top of the window.
Your active timers along and their accumulated time are listed here. You can pause, stop or reset the timer corresponding to a ticket or a task from here.
Automatic Zoho Desk Time Tracking for Tickets
In automatic tracking, the timer starts every time a ticket is opened in your browser and stops when an action is completed. The actions to be tracked are set up at the department level by your administrator. For example, sending a reply, drafting a response, leaving a comment, etc. If no action is completed the timer does not record an entry. Also, while you can pause, resume, and reset time on an automatic timer, you cannot stop or submit your time since it gets added once you complete an action on a ticket.
*The timer is visible only if your administrator has enabled your ability to view the timer under settings. Otherwise your time will be submitted in the background.*
Reviewing Time in Zoho Desk
If you started the timer one hour ago, but at some point you took a 15 minute break, you must discard this time before submitting it. That’s why Zoho Desk allows you to review and edit your time spent on a ticket. A pop-up window appears with the choice to submit or ignore the spent time. You have 10 seconds to review the time before it gets auto-submitted.
For example in the image above, you have 10 seconds from when the window appears to submit the accumulated time. Failure to do so will automatically submit the displayed time. However, if you need more than 10 seconds for review, click on the tracked time to remove the countdown and remain on the window.
*This review window is visible only if your administrator has enabled your ability to edit your time spent on tickets.*
**You cannot review or edit the time spent in manual Zoho Desk time tracking mode.**
It’s Thanksgiving! It’s the perfect time to chow down, visit family and friends, and be happy and thankful for everyone in your life. In the spirit of the holiday, we would like to share some of the Zoho Apps that we are most grateful for with you! They can help you to optimize your potential and can keep you on-track and ready to close more, win more, and earn more.
Here are 4 Zoho Apps that we are grateful for!
Zoho CRM is a powerful cloud-based customer and prospect management solution for your business. It is your most basic database where you can reach out to your customers and reference past work or projects, as well as forecast future sales – which you can use to make key decisions about your business. With Zoho CRM, you can set tasks and reminders to reach out to your customers in a timely and convenient manner, all for the purpose of giving your customers a smoother journey through your sales funnel. With a multitude of integrations, add-ons, and applications you can customize this CRM to fit your specific, unique business needs. Check out just how easy it is to migrate to Zoho!
Simplify project management for your business! This agile project management app designed to manage software sprints and help everyone get over their respective hurdles. A simpler project management solution than Zoho Projects, you can manage and track your team’s time and see where everyone stands using the Scrum Board. Use analytics which update in real time to help you make predictions, make adjustments, and identify bottlenecks. All of these features will make sure that your team is operating efficiently. Learn more here!
Being able to keep in touch with your customers and prospects is important: it can convert uninterested leads into warmer prospects, and it can turn one-time customers into lifetime family members. Instead of toggling between various different apps for email marketing, you can use Zoho Campaigns. It integrates with your CRM to ensure that your data is always up to date. Campaigns also gives you massive insights into your email marketing campaigns so you can know how they performed and automate follow-up campaigns. Best of all, the integration with Zoho CRM offers unparalleled visibility into those engaged with your content and pipeline. Learn more about the power of Zoho Campaigns!
Good customer service is important! Happy customers make life so much easier. Zoho Desk is that all-encompassing solution for your business in need of a ticketing system. Desk is context-aware and designed so your service never misses a beat. With in-depth reporting for management, detailed tickets and time tracking for agents, and a knowledge base for customers – this Zoho app help cover every level of customer service.
Love all of these Zoho Apps? Well, they are all included with Zoho One! If you are interested in learning more feel free to reach out to our team. Give us a call at (888) 207-4111 and schedule a consultation at a time that works best for you. You can also sign up for a free trial of Zoho by clicking the button below!
We here at ZBrains wish you a safe, happy, and delicious holiday!
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As any good service company knows, happy customers make life so much easier and make your business run much more smoothly. Your success relies on keeping customers happy. And it can be a daunting task if you’re faced with handfuls of customer help requests daily, or if you don’t have a way of properly funneling those requests to the right people in your company.
And then, even if you can assign requests well enough, how can you make sure the same problems don’t come up again? How will you know which agents are best at handling issues so you can be sure to utilize them more often?
Zoho Desk is your solution.
Zoho Desk is that all-encompassing solution for your business in need of a ticketing system. Desk is context-aware and designed so your service teams never miss a beat.
Here are 6 ways Zoho Desk helps you cover every level of customer service.
1. Keep your customers covered.
First and foremost, Zoho Desk keeps allows your customers to contact you easily through various methods, such as:
phone, live chat, email, and social media!
You can also create custom web forms for your customers to quickly submit tickets which they can track.
The option to create a searchable Knowledge Base so that your customer can find answers to common questions without having to contact support is also available. The knowledge base is customizable to fit your brand (or brands).
Desk also allows you to build a community forum, in which your customers can have discussions with your team or even with each other in order to solve problems, making it possible for some problems to simply solve themselves, using none of your valuable resources.
2. Improve the productivity of your agents.
As an agent, having all possible details is vital when responding to your tickets and being able to provide a quick solution. Zoho Desk provides you with the customer ticket but also gives customer details within your ticket so you know who you are talking to. Want to know if they have reached out before? No problem! Zoho Desk allows you to see past tickets and interactions on the contact details page. If a customer has submitted a ticket for a common question, Desk will auto-suggest solutions from your knowledge base.
3. Save time managing your team with automation.
As a manager, your day can be hectic, so Zoho Desk is made to help you save time. Desk can help ensure that customer service is running smoothly with automation and reporting.
Wasting too much time assigning tickets or tracking your team’s metrics? With Desk you can automate tickets assignments with criteria that you can specify, automatically escalate tickets based on rules you set, and automate workflow processes, all saving you tons of time. Both your customers and your agents will receive notifications when a ticket is updated, increasing your team’s productivity.
4. Key metrics and reports to optimize customer service.
With an easy-to-read dashboard, you can track customer happiness and your team’s key metrics in one window. You can see individual reports and monitor agents’ performance, response time, and even current availability. Or, you can view your team’s overall performance to monitor bandwidth, identify bottlenecks, and find patterns. All of these things will help you to optimize and organize your customer service.
5. Collaborate across departments.
When it comes to customer support, no one person will have all of the answers. Sometimes an agent will be stumped by a question, or not have access to the answer, and will have to reach out to another department for a solution to a problem.
Let’s say a customer asks about the status of a certain product, but you need to reach out to the shipping department for an answer. In Zoho Desk, you can simply tag or @ a colleague from the shipping department and they will be notified! With Desk you don’t need to be worried about unknowingly working on the same ticket as another agent. It will notify you who is working on the ticket in real time, whether it is another agent or the customer. Work efficiently across departments without ever colliding.
6. The option to go mobile with Zoho Desk app!
The Zoho Desk mobile app allows agents to receive instant notifications about the tickets they’re following. this includes details about accounts and contacts. Conversation responses and internal comments are available here, too.
The app automatically organizes Desk tickets, prioritizing the urgency for you. CRM customer information is available within, as well, so agents can quickly reference those contact details and past interaction details. Another level of functionality available from Zoho Desk!
Zoho Desk Consulting is available from ZBrains
Aside from its standalone functionality, Zoho Desk packs a number of different integrations to really take your customer service to the next level, and with paid plans starting at $20* per user per month for the Standard Edition, it’s a hard deal to pass up! (*prices updated June 2021)
Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of the ZBrains team today! Give us a call at (888)207-4111 or click the button below to connect with our consultants!
Published on: April 11, 2017Category: Zoho CRM, Zoho DeskLast Updated: November 17, 2020 Comments: 0
Zoho CRM Blueprint – The Blueprint to Sales Success
Hello, everyone! This is the second post in a series on the latest new offerings in the realm of Zoho CRM. Zoho has chosen to focus heavily on sales automation for this round of upgrades, and with good reason: as CRM is the most expensive and arguably most important Zoho offering, Zoho wants to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. These new offerings are only available with Zoho CRM Enterprise (and now Zoho One), so the powers that be really want to entice you to use that version of the software. And, for good reason – it’s already the best version of the system. So, without further ado, let’s talk Zoho CRM Blueprint.
When someone mentions a blueprint to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Probably a plan to build a house or other structure, but it isn’t a full rendering. Really more like a cross section showing all the walls, windows, and beyond… The guts of the edifice, where the wires and pipes go, the lighting fixtures – everything.
And so it is with your sales cycle, in a manner of speaking. Even if you don’t see everything at once.
See, sometimes your salespeople need a blueprint to get from A to B. Obviously they know how to sell, but, especially in today’s technology-driven work environment, outside stimuli are everywhere. And, it can be easy to get distracted and lose focus.
So, wouldn’t it be nice if your salespeople had a blueprint, a sort of road map to get where they need to go, in terms of sales?
Obviously this is all a little abstract, but I’m hoping you’re with me so far! This is Zoho CRM Blueprint:
What we essentially have here is a literal blueprint to success for your sales team. This document has a few different color-coded blocks: White rectangles correspond to stages in the Deals module, while the gold parallelograms correspond to potential actions your salespeople can take in relation to those stages.
Now, ordinarily, your sales staff might have deal stages in front of them and just be expected to follow up with clients on a schedule, moving the deals stages accordingly when appropriate. But, that isn’t always enough to ensure success, as general instructions aren’t always clear. Even if you or your Zoho consultant of choice have set up workflow rules for your sales staff to let them know what tasks they need to carry out in relation to a deal, salespeople still have to access the task and click “complete.” Zoho CRM Blueprint takes this routine a step further, making it possible to complete tasks directly from the Deal screen and giving those tasks a wider context from which salespeople can view them and understand exactly where they are in the sales cycle.
Zoho CRM blueprint allows for setting simple instructions, as the illustration above shows: Start. Schedule Appointment. Qualify. And so on. Like a Zoho training session, but better.
Drawing up your Zoho CRM Blueprint
Unlike conventional blueprints, using Zoho CRM blueprint doesn’t require the use of drafting programs to really nail down – in fact, you don’t even really need a steady hand. It really is as easy as creating deal stages, creating per-deal tasks for salespeople (called “transitions”), connecting the dots, and doing a little drag-and-drop. Observe:
You can give conditions to Zoho CRM Blueprint transitions, too.
Part of drawing up your sales process involves setting parameters, and of course you’ll want to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can use these parameters to ensure that, for example, contracts are closed within a certain window of time, or that your sales staff doesn’t go crazy with giving out discounts. When your sales team goes to complete a transition, they’ll see an additional dialog box if you choose to add one asking for some details:
Not only does this keep your sales team in line with your company vision, but it gives you even more data with which to build reports and gauge the health of your company. For example, with the data collected from this dialog box to the right, you’ll be able to determine the average discount rate given by all sales team members, the average discount given by salesperson, and of course the amount of time taken to close a deal by salesperson and on the whole, if you aren’t already collecting that data elsewhere.
Thankfully, Zoho CRM anticipates this is just what you’ll be doing and created a screen just for drilling down into this data. Kinda makes me want to go in and start playing with it right now… Either that or make some sales; I haven’t quite decided yet.
How do these Blueprints fit into Zoho’s ultimate vision for the CRM?
Again, Zoho’s game as of late seems to be taking the sales process and automating as much of it as humanly possible, so after implementation you hardly have to touch it at all. After all, why spend any time thinking of what to do to improve sales processes if a machine can analyze your behavior and tell you exactly what works and what doesn’t? Why fret over which tasks to complete in what order if you can have the Zoho CRM blueprint right in front of you? Of course, Zoho recognizes that less time spent thinking means more time spent doing actual work, and since, barring your deftly-worded phone conversations, sales procedures themselves don’t tend to be all that individualized – that is, they tend to fit right onto a blueprint.
Look! Blueprint is now a component of Zoho Desk, too
Zoho has added blueprint functionality to Zoho Desk, which means you can give your support agents the same daily structure you give to your sales team. It also means you get all the same reports for your help desk that you do for your sales team, from time spent per transition to time spent on each blueprint itself. And that, in turn, lets you analyze your weak points and work to eliminate bottlenecks in your process.
Hungry for more?
Well, that makes at least two of us. I can’t wait to see what else Zoho has in store in terms of sales automation. The very prospect is a little mind-boggling: someone had to design the sales process itself, but once it’s committed to the blueprint and you have a dedicated staff to carry it out, it arguably runs itself.
Stay tuned for more updates like these, and let me know if you have any questions by clicking the link below this post!