The Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contractor located at the University of Minnesota.
ResDac provides free assistance to researchers interested in CMS data. As a CMS contractor, ResDac provides assistance to academic, non-profit, for-profit and government researchers, and helps them navigate the process of requesting grants for research purposes.
The team at ResDac has a help desk that receives emails and phone calls for information and support. Issues are resolved via email and telephone and much of the communication is spread across various email threads, mailboxes and users.
The team had no way of telling who had worked on a ticket to help resolve an issue. Not being able to get a complete picture of their client’s journey was a big problem as everything was spread across emails, and tracking requests was very difficult.
The support team was providing service using a mailbox and when multiple emails would come in from different people at the same company, the team at ResDac would not be able to merge all the emails referencing the same issue into one thread. In addition, since each ticket was worked on by multiple people, it was important to make available a complete history of everyone that had worked on the ticket.
“Our biggest challenge was not being able to get a complete picture of our of our client’s journey…everything was in emails and the inability to merge emails and track who had worked on providing service to close a particular ticket was very difficult.” - Faith Asper (Associate Project Director)
The team at ResDac needed a solution that would capture each incoming request along with the names of every person that worked on these requests.
We spoke with Faith Asper, Associate Project Director, who explained how her team assessed help desk platforms. They reviewed solution providers based on several criteria:
“We reviewed several solutions but they weren’t able to provide the level of customization that we required.”
As soon as Faith’s team moved to Kayako, their ticket volume dropped as Kayako allowed for a more organized approach with tickets, emails and other duplicate queries, quickly merging these into a single thread/ticket.
“When we originally switched to Kayako the volume of tickets reduced because we had independent emails which we were able to merge into fewer tickets.”
Additionally, the team at ResDac are able to better manage workflows with Kayako as they can now see exactly how far along a request or enquiry is.
“The way we use Kayako, it not only helps us with tracking the communication with our clients but also managing our workflow, making sure we can see the status of a request or enquiry - as there are usually several people involved in answering a question,”
Faith’s primary reason for choosing Kayako was the ease by which she and her team could customize fields and merge tickets.
“Merging tickets and the ability to create custom fields is extremely important for us. We would get multiple researchers sending emails about the same thing and we would need to merge those tickets. Kayako also allows us to customize fields that are specific to our workflow. Another solution we reviewed gave us a workaround for it but the workaround wasn’t practical. It was inhibiting our workflow and not aiding it.”
Due to the unique use case at ResDac, many of the solutions Faith and her team reviewed weren’t able to support them. They needed a help desk that would give them the flexibility as non-programmers to customize the solution where required.
“We have requests come in that have a lot of attachments and they can take a long time to process as we have multiple people involved in reviewing it. It’s like reviewing a grant reward and there are all these pieces that come with it; Who is the original person assigned to look at this first? Who’s are second and third people? With Kayako we have all this information as well as the name of the ticket owner. We also have a field on there to collect when a request was submitted to the people we work for who will be reviewing the request, when it was approved, what the tracking number is for the request - information that is very specific to our work.
Faith emphasized that customization was critical to their operation. She and her team have been very happy with Kayako’s ability to be tailored to their requirements.
“The Key feature for us is customization and the ability for us as non-programmers to easily add fields and codes or track things that are relevant to us. A lot of other products we looked at did not have that kind of feature available that allowed us to customize to the degree we’d like to or need to and we felt Kayako was ahead of the curve on that.”
Faith pointed out that using Kayako has helped improve ResDac’s efficiency and allows them to handle more volume now with the same number of resources.
“We have become more efficient. We can handle more calls and tickets than ever before with the same number of people. I would say that we are able to handle double the number of requests per person after Kayako than before. Kayako has been great with that.”
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