Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Understanding Queues in Parature from Microsoft

Parature is Microsoft's leading customer service tool in the Dynamics family. It supports multiple channels for customer service, including online self-service, social, phone, chat and more. 

Queues are one of the fundamental concepts of Parature and other customer service products.  They define a structure for presenting tickets to customer service representatives so they can be handled by the right person at the right time. This blog post expands on the material in the Parature knowledge base.  Here is an article with instructions on the steps to create and modify queues.

The most fundamental queue is the customer service representative (CSR) queue.  The queue is a holding place for tickets before they are grabbed by a CSR to work on the issue.   Once they are grabbed, the queue has served its purpose and the ticket will disappear from the queue.  Multiple CSRs could use the same queue, or queues could be personalized for a single CSR, depending on how your CSRs map to the issues and tickets. 

To determine how many queues are needed, you must map out the skills required to resolve a ticket and availability of CSR resources.  For instance, if all CSRs can solve all tickets (a desirable but uncommon state), then one queue would be sufficient for all CSRs. In this case, tickets will be pulled from the queue by each CSR as they are available. 

More commonly, tickets are divided into multiple queues based on the type of issue.  The result is that a CSR specializing in a particular issue would only see tickets for that issue. You want to avoid presenting CSRs with tickets in a queue on which they cannot act.  

Availability of CSRs at different times and service level agreements (SLA) present additional layers of complexity. You may need queues that allow you to map to which CSRs are on duty. For this reason, Parature offers special types of queues:
  • Escalation Queue: for only escalated tickets so critical issues that require special attention can be handled in a timely fashion.
  • Business Hours Queue: You can set up business hours, after hours, or always queues, and assign the appropriate CSRs each queue based on their work schedules.
  • Un-routed Tickets Queue: In the event of a routing rule error make sure you never miss a Ticket with an un-routed Tickets queue.
  • Urgent Queue: For emergency cases or issues to create high visibility for CSRs and managers.  
Parature queues may be used in additional ways that combine features of these queue types to meet your needs.  You set up intelligent workflows to ensure that tickets are assigned to the correct queues.

As you roll out Parature, you may end up refining queues to optimize the performance of your support staff.  Self-service capabilities can change the pattern of trouble tickets over time and affect the workload of CSRs, so you may want to consider revisiting your service desk design from time to time.



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