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The Support Desk: The Unsung Hero of the CRM

My wife and I are both Salesforce consultants. Inevitably, this leads to us discussing technical holes we’ve fallen into during our day over dinner as our 20-month-old throws baked beans at us. (For the last month it’s been overtaken by GDPR but that’s a story for another blog.) But if the job of a consultant is to perform business analysis and configure a system fit for purpose, why do we always come back to perplexing technical issues? Because people are excellent at taking what should be a perfectly functioning system and finding weird ways to break it. Enter the Support Desk…

What is the Support Desk?

At Stimulus we have a dedicated support team headed up by our Support Manager, Mandy Drew. These certified Salesforce professionals provide expert advice and guidance to our customers; resolve technical issues; and enhance their CRMs with new functionality as new business needs arise.

Hang on, can’t we just get an in-house system administrator to do that?

The short answer is, yes, of course you can! By either hiring a sysadmin, or getting someone trained as one, you can bring much of that knowledge in house. In fact, in our implementation projects I encourage all of our clients to have someone sysadmin trained. It means they then have a proper understanding of what I’m proposing, gives them some ownership over their own IT systems and the confidence to lead on the project with me. It also means that they can tackle a lot of the day to day maintenance of their CRM. But what happens when that person or team of people run into something they can’t manage? Or when they have too much to do and not enough time to do it in? That’s when there’s huge value in having access to a dedicated support line. So what do we get asked for most often?

Most requested 1: Data imports

Every sysadmin has had one of these days: a customer-facing member of staff has “a couple of spreadsheets” they’d like uploading to Salesforce. 10,000 records and five hours of data cleansing later and you finally click “upload”… 10,000 “a flow failed to trigger” error emails later and you’re about ready to scream! Data cleansing and error-free uploading to Salesforce takes time that many people just don’t have in their day-to-day schedules. It’s also something that you can do quicker the more you do it. Sending these tasks to the support desk makes a lot of sense.

Most requested 2: My web forms are broken!

Salesforce web-to-lead forms, Pardot forms and Pardot form handlers. All fantastic tools. All capable of strange behaviour if they’re not updated properly alongside your CRM and website. We’re often asked to ensure existing forms match the right fields on Leads and Cases as well. Salesforce will generate the HTML you need for forms but if you want to add extra functionality to them the support desk is a great place to go.

Most requested 3: Reporting issues

Using the drag-and-drop report builder is a real joy. It’s simple, easy and intuitive. So, when you click “Run report” and get a sum total of zero records returned it can be maddening. Or when you and your colleague have built equivalent reports that show different figures. Or when you can’t seem to find the fields you need in the report builder. Or when you… as you can probably tell, reporting can be as frustrating as it is rewarding! Being able to send these requests to a team who have built thousands of reports for clients from across the non-profit / for-profit spectrum means there’s a huge pool of experience and knowledge there to get to the bottom of the issue quickly and in a way you can feel confident about. (Definitely worth getting a bit of training if you need to report a lot in your job though.)

If I can do those three things myself then I don’t need support, right?

This is where my dinner table conversations come in. My wife and I hold nine Salesforce certifications and 11 years of Salesforce experience between us and still get stumped by odd queries that come up. Sometimes there is no substitute for a team of people who can work on your issue and get your system doing exactly what you want it to. It’s why we provide the service and why you can buy a bundle of hours with us to call upon when you need it. For all those head scratching moments, there’s the unsung hero of the CRM: the support desk!

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