The company has digitized the handling of inquiries in the publishing industry. Automation including integration with Google Sheets, significantly helps the company reduce the workload and helps the smooth transition to telecommuting due to the pandemic.
Q. What kind of work are you using Questetra for?
We, Impress Professional Works Co., Ltd. are responsible for the business management, sales, and distribution management of all Impress Group companies. The Impress Group companies are developing two types of business. One is «content business» which provides various media & services including publishing and solutions for corporations mainly in the fields of IT, music, design, mountain guides, and mobile services. The other type is «platform business» which provides content business planning & development and distribution and sales functions.
We utilize Questetra for the handling of inquiries.
Our customer center is handling inquiries about the books published by three companies: Impress Corporation, Yama-kei Publishers co. and Ltd. Rittor Music, Inc.
The center receives about 30 to 40 inquiries a day from readers and the media. Most of them are about the contents of books, their defects, subscriptions to magazines, and requests to use the contents of books for TV programs.
Q. What do you feel about the automation of inquiry handling?
Before we introduced Questetra, we managed and aggregated response statuses using a sheet contained the types of inquiries.
- Print the inquiries received via email. (The printouts are the inquiry response forms)
- The leader decides the people responsible for handling the inquiries and gives them a sheet that describes the procedure. (either «Answer», «Escalation» or » Awaiting an answer from a supervisor after Escalation»)
- The people answer the inquiries based on the procedure. After that, they put the sheet into the tray for completed inquiries.
When we did this work using paper, we found it difficult to understand the situation, because we weren’t able to see who was handling the inquiries or the status of the response unless we asked them.
In addition to that, we had to manually input the necessary data to be calculated, such as the number of handled inquiries and the number of inquiries by type, into a spreadsheet after counting all inquiries.
Since we introduced Questetra, we have handled this work as follows:
- Inquiries received via email are automatically fed into Questetra.
- The leader confirms the inquiry contents in a «Confirm contents» Task and selects the procedure.
- The people responsible for handling inquiries process the automatically assigned Tasks based on the instruction of the leader.
We used to use 600-800 sheets per month for this job, but since we introduced Questetra, we haven’t used any, and the time and effort required for printing and understanding the situation has been greatly reduced.
We set up inquiry data to be automatically added to Google Sheets via data integration. This helps us aggregate easily with Google Sheets.
In addition, we also have set up a system for response emails to be automatically sent to the customer once the person responsible has entered the response text. Before introducing Questetra, we had to manually enter the address, sender, and subject in the email software, so there was a risk of mistakes occurring. However, now that the risk is eliminated and people can focus on creating answers.
Q. We’ve heard you had an issue with escalation
Yes, we had another major issue on dealing with inquiries.
Some inquiries cannot be handled by the customer center. For that, we ask the Editorial department to create an answer (escalation). In the past, it was difficult to manage inquiries awaiting answers from that department, so we frequently couldn’t provide satisfactory answers for customers.
We solved that with Questetra.
We have equipped a flow for asking the Editorial department for an answer with a workflow so that escalation (i.e. awaiting an answer from the Editorial department) is recognized. Also, in order to increase the frequency of reminders to the Editorial department, we have set up the workflow so that members of the customer center receive an alert one week after escalation. We can certainly remind the members of the Editorial department to create answers for inquiries by pushing a button to send a reminder email.
As a result, we can reduce the number of inquiries with the status «Awaiting an answer from the Editorial department» from 90 to 15 after we introduced Questetra.
Due to COVID-19, our Group companies have decided to actively promote telecommuting. We can smoothly allow the handling of inquiries to be done even while telecommuting because we completed the introduction of Questetra prior to the spread of COVID-19. We can easily imagine that promoting telecommuting would be difficult for us if we hadn’t introduced Questetra.
Furthermore, as book sales increased as a result of the increase in demand for goods consumed at home due to COVID-19, the number of inquiries has also increased by 20-30%. In spite of this, we have been better able to handle inquiries while maintaining our productivity because we could create an efficient work environment with Questetra.
Q. What do you expect from Questetra next?
Our initiative with Questetra can be regarded as the DX (digital transformation) promotion within the office. We believe that Questetra has helped our on-site members utilize IT for improvement of their operations.
In the future, we hope to utilize these achievements to support the promotion of DX in other departments (some of which have already started). That means we’d like to help each of them grow so that the entire company will grow.
One thing we expect from Questetra is more automatic processing functions, such as updating data in Google Sheets, for accelerating on-site DX. Actually, we sometimes create an idea for business improvement by seeing the prepared automatic processing functions. We suppose more automatic functions will help us accelerate DX.