Customer Contract Management

In today's post, I'm going to introduce you to Serio's Contract Management features.

Serio provides for two types of Contract Management:

  • Customer Contract Management. Manage the contracts your Helpdesk/Service Desk has with the people it provides support to. Clearly, this applies most to Service or Help desks with external clients.
  • Supplier Contract Management. Keep track of support contracts for third party suppliers providing service to you.

I'm going to focus today on the Customer Contract Management features within Serio – we'll return to Supplier Contract Management in a later post.

Before dealing with a new call, Service Desk staff usually need to know whether the caller has a valid support contract.

Customer Contract Management enables frontline staff to answer basic questions about the Customer's entitlement to support, such as:

  • Has the Customer's support contract expired?
  • Has the Customer reached their quota of calls for this year?
  • Does the Customer's support contract cover the piece of hardware about which they are calling.

Whereas Service Level Agreements (SLAs) define the level of service that customers can expect when they contact you, Customer Contract Management keeps track of who is entitled to support and for what.

Here's an overview of how to get up an running with Customer Contract Management. If you need more detailed instructions, please refer to the online help for SerioAdmin.

Enabling Contract Management Features

Firstly, you need to make sure that your SerioClient users can see information relating to Customer Contracts through SerioClient. Turn on Contract Management features in SerioClient by ticking the option 'Enable Contract Management Features in SerioClient' on the 'Issue Logging-2' tab page of the user's Agent Profile in SerioAdmin.

Creating The Contracts

Next you need to create your Customer Contracts within SerioAdmin.

Open a new Configuration Explorer from the 'File' menu, and expand the 'Customer Contracts' section. (Note that if you use Serio Helpdesk rather than Serio Service Desk, the presence of Customer Contract Management will depend on the modules you have purchased.)

Customer Contract Types

Customer Contract Types enable you to organise contracts into different categories based on the type of service offered to the customer. You might create Contract Types such as 'Gold Support', 'Silver Support', '10 Call Support Pack', 'On-site', 'Server', etc.

Customer Contracts

Start creating your Customer Contracts by selecting 'Customer Contract Management' under 'Customer Contracts'.

First, set the Contract No., Contract Type, the Customer's Company, and, if necessary, Branch.

Each Contract carries an expiry date – information available from SerioClient when you are logging calls, so that you can instantly see if the Customer has a valid support Contract with you.

Support Pack Contracts

If you switch to the 'Contract Terms' tab page of the Customer Contract form, you can choose to make the Contract at Support Pack. This means that the Customer can only raise a limited number of Incidents (say 20) under the Contract. Again, the Incident logger can see automatically in SerioClient whether or not the Customer has any calls left in their Support Pack. Of course, you can also still apply the expiry date to a Support Pack contract.

Support Pack contracts work like this. Each time you resolve an Incident for a Customer at the client's Company, you specify whether that Incident should be deducted from their Support Pack. This discretion is essential, because you may not want all types of Incidents to count against the the Customer's Support Pack – for example, if the Customer is raising a complaint.

Items Covered by the Contract

After you save the Contract in SerioAdmin, you will notice that an 'Items' tab appears. If you have an Asset or Configuration Management Database (CMDB), you can indicate on the 'Items' tab which of the Customer's Assets are covered by the Customer Contract, so that you may identify when working within SerioClient whether or not the specific piece of hardware for which the Customer is reporting a fault is covered by a Customer Contract.

In Conclusion

Customer Contracts provide an invaluable tool for determining whether someone calling the Service Desk/Helpdesk is entitled to the support they are requesting, and of providing differentiated levels of support. If you're a Serio user with a large number of external clients, you're bound to be storing this information somewhere already. Why not make life easier for your Service Desk staff and store the information in Serio where they can see it?