The Customer Service Submodule

of the Ecommerce Module by Eve Andersson of ArsDigita
The Customer Service Submodule can be found at /admin/ecommerce/customer-service/ (it is also linked to from the main Ecommerce Administration page).

Issues and Interactions

There are two main concepts underlying the customer service submodule: customer service interactions and customer service issues.

There is a many-to-many relationship between issues and interactions. During the course of one interaction, a customer may bring up any number of issues ("My credit card shows a charge for $7.99, but I thought this ant farm was only supposed to cost $6.99 AND, while I have you on the phone, I'd like to mention that delivery took three days instead of the promised two."). Furthermore, if an issue is not resolved the first time it is brought up, it might span any number of interactions until it is finally closed.

Issues can be categorized either for reporting purposes or so that different departments of your company can handle the issues. Open issues are linked to from the front page of the customer service submodule to attract attention. Whenever email is sent to the customer (either automatically or by a customer service rep), an issue is created (or added to, if it is based on a previous issue). This is so that a complete interaction history containing all correspondence to and from the customer can be maintained. All issues created due to automatic emails are closed immediately so that they don't get in the way of other issues.

Small note: the intersection between an issue and an interaction is called an "action" (i.e., the part of a specific interaction that deals with a specific issue). This rarely comes up.

Registered Users and Unregistered Users

As a customer service rep, much of your interaction may be with people who have used the site but are not registered users (people don't become registered users unless they log in when they order, when they submit product reviews, etc.), yet you still want to capture the details of the interaction with as much identifying information about them as you can.

Whenever you record a new interaction, you are asked to enter as much information as you can gather (or feel comfortable gathering) about the user. The system then tries to match this person up with either registered users or unregistered people who have had interacted previously with customer service. If no match can be made, a new "user identification record" is created.

Each time you view a user identification record, the system sees if it can match that person up with a registered user of the system (in case they have registered in the meantime).

Sending Email to Customers

When you're viewing a customer service issue, you can send the customer email regarding that issue by clicking "send email" at the top of the page. The contents of your email will automatically be added to the customer's interaction history and will become part of the record for that customer service issue.

If you find yourself using the same phrases over and over again when you respond to customers' emails, the Canned Response System will be useful to you. You can enter your commonly used phrases once, and then whenever you send email you'll be able to automatically insert any number of these phrases.

If you want to send email to customers in bulk, then use the Spam System. You can spam users based on what products they've bought, what products they've even looked at, by when they've last visited, by how much they've spent at your site, by which mailing lists they're signed up for. If you're spamming customers that you like, you can issue them all gift certificates at the same time.

Your email text is also sent through a spell checker before it is sent to the customer.

Picklist Management

When your customer service data entry people are recording customer interactions, you want it to take as little effort as possible. One way to help is to predefine picklists that they can choose from when entering data. With the Picklist Management tool, you can specify what goes in what picklist in what order.


Reports and statistics are generated so that you can tell what types of issues are occurring most frequently, which customer service reps are handing the most interactions, what resources the reps need to use most often, etc. Each report can be filtered and sorted in a variety of ways to give you a clear picture of what's happening and what can be done to improve efficiency.