That’s what Fishbowl, maker of the leading inventory management software for QuickBooks, had to figure out.
Fishbowl’s Support and Account Management teams include 50 technical trainers, grouped into 5 smaller teams based on geolocation. They process more than 2,500 messages each week. With solutions in manufacturing, warehousing, industrials, and ecommerce, every customer has a different implementation of Fishbowl’s software. This makes things challenging and time-consuming: they almost never see the same question twice.
Their secret to saving $150k in time and software licensing every year? Managing their communications in Front.
Fishbowl is a highly complex product. Newly hired trainers undergo months of training. They found that using Microsoft Outlook to manage their email and voicemail gave them no accountability.
Their process for properly triaging messages in Outlook was time consuming. Support managers spent time every day manually sorting through messages, as well as editing and labeling subject lines with information like customer name, location, and product. Then those messages would get sorted and pushed to the right team. This process was tedious, and it meant customers had to wait longer for a reply.
Project Manager John Erickson found that Front had more robust functionality than any other support solution or help desk, including Desk, Intercom, and Help Scout.
Front’s the best. Front fulfilled more of our wishlist than any other product and enabled us to custom build the rest.
- John Erickson, Project Manager, Fishbowl
The limitless customization provided by Front’s open API was a deciding factor when choosing Front. Fishbowl’s Internal Systems group had a vision to make Front their team’s central hub, where they could work as efficiently as possible and have easy access to critical customer information.
Erickson said the transition from Microsoft Outlook to Front was simple. The UI was familiar since Front is email-based, not ticket-based. Now their Support and Reporting teams manage email, live chat, and voicemails without ever leaving Front.
Fishbowl depends on a few key Front features: Front’s API, rules, and tags.
Rules: Let you automate actions in your inbox based on triggers, like keyword or sender
Tags: Help organize and label messages so you can locate them easily
Fishbowl client trainers save a minute and a half on every message by using Front instead of their old Microsoft Outlook setup — and that time adds up quickly. Here’s how they did it: Anthony Frank and Callen Barton, internal systems engineers, used Front’s open API to build a plugin that displays the customer information they need directly in their inboxes. When a trainer opens a message, their custom plugin automatically matches and displays information from Fishbowl’s backend and CRM.
Their custom plugin also enables trainers to take key actions directly in their Front plugin: click-to-dial to call back a customer, click-to-paste license key information, and a popup flow that lets the trainer add a note and transfer the conversation to another team.
Clients can open and track support requests directly from Fishbowl with a request creation form that connects to a shared inbox in Front. This makes it easy for customers to create tickets from their product, while allowing their team to manage those tickets as emails.
Since Fishbowl is a highly technical product, they champion precision and correctness in their replies. “Our support teams are based on quality and volume. With Front we have a lot of transparent statistics around volume, so individuals and leaders know exactly how many messages they’re processing each day live,” Erickson said. “Front makes it easy to monitor based on quality because the entire history is in one place.”
Erickson created an ROI model to calculate their savings from Front. Front saves them more than $150,000 every year, which is double what he initially expected.
Their plugin pulls customer information from their CRM. Since they can access customer information directly in their inboxes, the majority of the team doesn’t need a CRM license. This saves them more than $50,000 every year.
Front’s productivity features save them another $100,000 in time. Using their plugin and rules, Front adds more than 10,000 tags to messages each month, and gets messages into the right hands instantly.
Because of the native functionality in Front, we don’t need leadership to go through messages to label and sort things. So we’re saving $100,000 there each year through Front’s efficiencies.
- John Erickson, Project Manager, Fishbowl
The Fishbowl team plans to build even more time-saving features onto their Front plugin. They want to display a summary of the most recent notes in their CRM panel and customize the panel for each sub-team. With Front, Fishbowl is continuing to shave minutes off their resolution time for each message, which saves them thousands of dollars and gives customers a better experience.
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