Help desks have numerous features to help agents. One of those are tags. Tags are there to help us categorize customers, conversations and follow everything.

They also enable us to trigger certain actions as well as to automate them. You probably already knew all that, but the real question is – how do we determine what tags do we need?

Let’s try and ease the process with a few simple questions to ask yourself about the tags.

3 questions to ask before setting up or changing tags in your help desk

Amazon has arguably the most renowned customer service in the world. Their former Global VP of Customer Service, Bill Price, wrote a book The Best Service is No Service in which he explained how he tried to lower the number of codes to less than 30.

Contact codes a.k.a. tags were reorganized in order to achieve faster turnaround and follow up with everything their customers were doing. In that process, he asked three important questions:

1. Are we organizing with arbitrary categories?

General tags quickly turn into a pile of meaningless lists which are hard to navigate to. Similar to bookmarking a webpage which we (almost) never check, tags should be more meaningful.

Start with asking yourself and your team: Could we recognize the reason why a certain tag has a spike in activity? Is it because of good or bad connections? Do you know more or less whatever caused that trend?

Take “Payment” and “Payment failed” tags for example, obviously, we want to know what caused the increase in either of those and do whatever is necessary to improve the conversions.

2. Do we need to know what, or why?

Companies often organize conversations, but they miss to mark the real reason of why the conversation started in the first place.

The reason for contacting customer support is not necessarily the same as the content of the conversation.

Price noticed that “shipping issue” is not a useful tag, but “shipper delay” and “warehouse delay” on the other hand are way more detailed and allow you to get into the issue with more attention and knowledge.

3. Do our identified problems have clear owners?

Price recommends using the MECE principle to categorize issues. MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive.

In other words, if a problem is owned by someone it is far more likely to be solved. That way, departments can actually take the responsibility and rightfully address the issue to those who need to take care of it.

Otherwise, the problem may hang around for a lot longer than the customers and the customer service team wants and none will actually start fixing it.

Those are the questions. Now, it is up to you to provide the answers to them.

Don’t let tags become one more feature that is a burden for the agents – it’s supposed to help them and you should make sure your tags are up to the task.