Red-flagging problem (or special) customers

Unless you’re very lucky, you’ll occasionally have customers that cheat you, abuse you, or otherwise act in such manner that you want to put their name on a list that, essentially, says watch out for this person.

Or, you may have an opposite situation: VIP customers that you need to pay special attention to. Or, there may be any of several other potential circumstances where, when a particular comes up, it’s beneficial for an operation in the system to be reminded of some particularity concerning them.

It’s for any of these situations that ServiceDesk is equipped with its own “Special Situations Advisory.” This is simply a place for keeping track of the identity of these customers, of recording what they did to you (if it was a bad customer), and what your treatment of them should be in the future (i.e., whether refusing service, demanding up-front payment in cash, treating them extra special, etc.). And, it’s a system that automatically flags any future effort to service such people, whether you’re looking out for the fact of not.

The primary basis for this system is found in what we call the “SSA form” (for “Special Situations Advisory”). To access this form, press Alt-F11. You’ll find, when you do this, the system makes certain assumptions. In particular, if you invoke the action from a Callsheet with text in it or from a JobRecord, the system assumes you want to make a new SSA-Record having to do with the customer as found in that source context. Thus, it displays the SSA form with such text pre-loaded for you, so to make a new record all you must do is add any applicable additional notes. If Alt-F11 is invoked from any other context, by contrast, the system will assume you’re simply wanting to review existing SSA records, and so will load in that fashion.

In addition to these contexts for loading the form, there are two others that will volunteer themselves on the basis of other actions, whether you’re thinking about the need or not. In particular, if you’re in the AccountsReceivable form and writing-off a bad debt (see page 179), or if you’re in the Funds form and writing-off an uncollectible item of money (see page 162), the system will essentially figure to itself “Hey, if you’re losing out on this money, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to want to “red-flag” that customer against future service. Accordingly, the system checks to see if the person’s name is already in the SSA-List. If not, it asks if you’d like to add it. If so, it again assists you in the process by displaying the form with as much text as possible pre-loaded for you.

You may conclude, therefore, that entries are added to the SSA-List either quasi-automatically (when engaging in separate actions that are deemed as probably applicable) or as otherwise voluntarily initiated by you. The form itself is self-explanatory, as you’ll see upon viewing it. You’ll simply save an individual record there for each problem (or other special situation) person, describing what’s important in their particular regard.

So, now that you understand where these records are kept, and how they are added there, the next question is: How is the fact of such a record brought to your attention, in a buzzers ringing, lights flashing kind of fashion—whenever, perhaps some months or years after having created a SSA-Record, you’re again about to take a job order from the person involved?

The answer is that entries from the SSA-List are made into part of the CstmrDbase system. The result of this is that, in any of the various contexts in which a listing of past jobs appears (such as when typing a matching name, address or telephone number into a Callsheet, for example), references to applicable SSA-Entries will also appear—in the very same CstmrDbase list as you’re already perusing for other purposes. Thus, it’s very likely you’re going to see the SSA-reference (they’re distinguished in the list by a series of “#” signs in the reference line) if it’s applicable to any new job you may be proposing to create.

And, in this case if you click on the reference, rather than showing an entire JobRecord (not applicable, because this references does not refer to a JobRecord), the system will instead display the the particular SSA-Entry involved, thus allowing you to instantly review the basis for your earlier complaint against the person, or other special notation (like other aspects of the CstmrDbase system, searches will also connect on the basis of matching address, telephone numbers and email address).

By this means, ServiceDesk makes it maximally easy for you to keep track of who are the deadbeat, lousy customers you don’t want to service, or at least want to be warned regarding any special circumstances—and to be automatically informed before you inadvertently write new jobs for them in the future.