Platform - Customer Service - Call Handling

  • Updated

This article reviews handling customer calls and creating jobs so that technicians or salespersons can be sent out to help the customer at their home.


The customer service components of Successware handle all of your direct customer interactions. These include finding existing customer records, creating new customers, taking phone calls, creating and scheduling jobs, and maintaining your dispatch board.

In Successware, the customer information is stored in two separate files:

  • Service location.
  • Billing account.


Service Locations vs. Billing Accounts

The service location pertains to WHERE you perform services, while the billing account establishes WHO will be paying for that service.

The Service Location is where the service and phone call history, equipment, warranties, agreement and marketing information "live".

The Billing Account is the party that is responsible for paying for any charged work that occurs at a service location. The Billing Account maintains a history of all invoices, payments, adjustments, finance charges etc. related to that account.

Each location MUST have at least one billing account associated with it, but may have more than one. Alternately, a single billing account may be financially responsible for services performed at more than one service location.


Where Does the Bill Go?

When creating a new customer record, a detail that helps to dictate where the bill goes is the service location’s owner occupied status. In essence, does the person who owns the property live at the location? If the property is owner occupied, you can just copy the location information to the billing account section.

If the property is not owner occupied, but the job is such that the tenant is not responsible for the payment of service, you can either create a new billing account, or assign an existing billing account to the location.

Billing accounts may also be responsible for more than one location. If a party owns a number of properties, each of those properties may be listed as a service location on a particular billing account.


General Billing Accounts

There are times when there is an billing account that needs to be billed for work that is performed at a service location, where there is no reason for there to be a continuing (and therefore attached) relationship between the billing account and service location.

For example, if you are doing work as a subcontractor for a general contractor, the work is occurring at the service location, but the bill will go to the general contractor. At the end of the job, there is no continuing billing responsibility for the general contractor at that service address. To accommodate this situation you can create a billing account and designate it as a General Billing Account.

By definition, a General Billing Account can be selected as the responsible billing party on any invoice, with no prior relationship between the billing account and service location required.

Other examples might include third party warranty companies, utility companies, finance companies or insurance companies.

General Billing accounts are created by checking the General Billing Account checkbox when creating or editing a billing account.


A General Billing Account can be selected as the responsible billing party on an invoice, by selecting the Billing Account dropdown on the invoice, pointing to General Accounts and selecting the appropriate General Billing Account.  




Searching for Customers

Successware allows you to find existing customers using the following fields:

  • Address
  • Address 2
  • Lot ID
  • Subdivision
  • Phone Number
  • Customer Name
  • Company Name


Performing a Customer Search

  1. In order to search for an existing customer, navigate to the Call Handling menu in Successware.  Click the New Phone Call link in the upper left side of the screen.                                    NPC1.png


  1. In the Find Your Customer section, choose whether you would like to search for the customer by Address, or by Name/Company/Phone Number.



  1. Enter your search criteria in the field.
  2. Press Enter to perform the search. 
  3. If your search has generated results, they will display in the lower portion of the Customer Search


  1. Find the customer result you are searching for and click the Name of the customer. 


Customer Information Screen

When you open a customer’s record, the Customer screen will display. The Customer screen contains numerous pieces of information about the service location, billing account and service history, in addition to allowing you to create new jobs.




Use Notes to enter additional job or customer information. There are 2 classes of notes available to you, Customer Related notes and Job Related notes. Customer related notes are available to you from any screen where you are selected on a Service Location or Billing Account. Job Related notes are only available to you when you have selected a specific job.

Note: When a job is selected all Job related notes are available as well as all of the Customer related notes.

Notes fields are unlimited in terms of their size limit. You can enter notes without needing to delete earlier notes. This is especially helpful for Locations Notes for example. These Locations notes, if typed to include an entered date and the user's id or initials, serve as a nice "note history" for the location. This note history could include special information about the customer such as special discounts that have been offered to the customer, the fact that a promised discount was given and when.


Note Types

  • Location Notes- These are note that identify any information about the customer that you feel important to record. Location notes appear by default in the lower right hand corner of the Phone Call form when taking a phone call from a customer.
  • Billing Account Notes- Record any necessary regarding the specific billing account.
  • Job Instructions - Only available when a specific job is selected. Record job instructions and any other important information related to the service job.


Customer Subtabs

Once you find the customer in the Call Handling screen, you can click on the several subtabs:

  • Profile
    • Customer Information
    • Service Locations
  • Equipment
  • Jobs
  • Opportunities
  • Invoices




Adding Opportunity Information for a Customer

The Customer Opportunity subtab allows you to keep track of customer needs. This can aid in the identification of possible future sales opportunities and the tracking of multiple sales opportunities for a single customer. The items displayed in the Customer Opportunity subtab can also be converted to a mailing list by accessing the Customer Opportunity Report.

  1. From the Call Details form, click into the Sales button.   
  2. Under the Sales Call section, choose the Sales Opportunity.        Opp1.png
  3. Choose the opportunity code from the drop down in the Opportunity. 
  4. Assign the employee who identified the Opportunity in the Assign Employee field.  .
  5. Click Create Opportunity to save the Opportunity.



Creating a New Customer

If you search for a record and cannot find the service location or billing account then you will have to create a new record.  Service Locations and Billing Accounts can be added and edited through the Call Taking form when taking a phone call. When you are entering the customer’s information in the New Location form, Successware will automatically search the database for matching records, starting with the last name. If a match is found, you will be given the option of selecting the existing location to prevent the entry of duplicate records.  If no matches are found, continue entering all customer information. 


Creating a New Location

  1. Open the Customer Search screen by clicking the + New Phone Call link.
  2. Search for the location by address.                                                         
  3. If no address is found, press the + Create New link that appears to create a new location.


The Location Form

The Location form is used to enter information for a service location or customer as well as view information once it has been entered. The New Location form also allows you access to the billing accounts that are associated with the service location. Once you have filled in all of the relevant information for the customer you can either hit the Enter key or click the Create Customer button.




Once you click the Create Customer button, you will be prompted to enter a payment method. Use the dropdown menu to select the payment type and enter in the customers payment information. After confirming the information, click Save.




Creating a New Billing Account

The Billing Account form allows you to create, edit and view information about any billing account. The same form can be used to create individual billing accounts or to create a general billing account. 

Billing Accounts can be added at the time that a new Service Locations is created, either through the Customer Search or through Call Taking or can be added through the Receivables Manager.

The Billing Account form can be accessed by searching for the billing account or creating a new billing account in the Receivables Manager.


Billing Account Form







Account Number

The account number will be filled in by default. If you want to change it, the new account number must contain a letter.


Enter the Last Name, First Name and Title (i.e Mr, Mrs.) of the customer.


Enter a Company Name if applicable. If you enter a company name, the name you enter will display on Work Orders, printed invoices as well as statements instead of the customer name.


Enter the address of the billing account.


Enter any additional address information such as an apartment or suite number.


Entering City or the Zip Code will auto complete the Zones and Tax Codes fields or prompt you with a drop-down list of available choices.

Service Contact

Name of person to contact regarding service.

A/P Contact

Name of person to contact regarding payment questions.


Right-click in the location field to add another location to the billing account.

Phone 1 and Phone 2

Enter phone number with or without area code. Field will auto-format if no punctuation is entered.


Enter cell number.


Enter fax number.


Enter email address.


Choose the customer rating from the drop-down list. This rating will be displayed in the upper right corner of there Customer Information Screen as well as the Call Taking screen when the customer is selected.

Tax ID#

Enter the Tax ID# if applicable.


Choose the payment terms for the account from the drop-down list. Every customer is assumed to be COD by default. It is only necessary to select a Payment Term if the terms are other than COD.

Payment Method

If you select a credit card type or bank draft, enter the card or account number in the following fields. This information will automatically carry over to the Payment Method fields of AR Invoices created for the Billing Account. See Credit Card Security for further information.


Enter the customer’s credit card number.


Enter the name as it appears on the credit card.


Enter the expiration date of the credit card.


Choose the salesperson from the drop-down list.

Credit Limit

Enter the customer’s credit limit.

General Billing account

Place a check in the box if this billing account will be available as a general billing account.

Other Checkboxes

Check the additional boxes to determine whether or not this account should receive finance charges or statements, is a bad risk, should receive solicitations or happy checks (follow up calls).


Adding an Alternate Address to a Billing Account

You can add an alternate billing address while you are editing or adding a billing account. This should be done if the address that the bill is sent to is different than the physical address of the billing account, such as a home owner who maintains a winter residence or a resident who is living elsewhere while renovations are being performed in their home.

  1. While editing the billing account, you can access a drop-down field labeled, "Choose the Alternate Address".  BAD5.png
  2. In the Alternate billing address form, fill in the appropriate information.
  3. Click OK to save.


Credit Card Security

Credit Card information that is gathered from customers is securely stored in Successware. Credit Card numbers are encrypted at the database level. This means that if the database were to be accessed directly, the credit card number would not be displayed in a readable format. When credit card numbers are displayed in Successware fields, such as the payment method field in a customer agreement, only the last four digits of the credit card number are displayed. The remaining characters are masked. This prevents unauthorized users from having access to sensitive customer credit card information, but still gives enough information for the user to be able to confirm which credit card is being used. 



Creating a Job

What is a Job in Successware?

A job is the work (service, install, sales, maintenance) that you perform at a Service Location. A job is created based upon a combination of values taken from 2 Reference Tables; The Job Class and The Job/Call Type.

The Job Class generally defines the major area of work that a job falls within. For example, Repair, Installations and Maintenance would be examples of Job Classes. Once you select a Job Class, it will filter the available choices in the next table, Job/Call Types.

Job/Call Types identify the specific type of work that you will be performing for the customer. For example, if you select a Job Class of Installation you would be able to select from a list of Job/Call Types limited to just types of installations such as Furnace Installs, or AC Installs. The Job/Call Type defines three very important values related to the job you are creating:

  • The Default Department who will perform the Job. This is the Department that will be responsible for the cost of the labor associated with the job and will appear as the default department on the invoice, receiving credit for the revenue generated on the job.
  • The Expected Number of Hours. This will define the length of the bar that will represent the appointment on the dispatch board. This is an estimate, the appointment on the dispatch board can be manually lengthened or shortened as necessary.
  • The Expected Number of Appointments or trips that will be required to complete the Job. These appointments or trips in Successware are referred to as Calls. Additional Calls can be created as necessary for a Job.


What Happens When a Job is Created?

When a job is created two things happen immediately:

  • An Invoice is created for the job
  • A Call is created.

Additionally the Customer for whom you created the Job now shows an Open Job attached to their Service Location. A Service Location can have more than one open job in progress at the same time.



When jobs are created, they automatically create calls. Calls are appointments (scheduled or unscheduled) to perform service, and are restricted to one-day events, therefore whenever jobs may take more than one day to complete, several calls may be created. Each call is associated with the master job.

If in Successware you have predetermined that a particular job takes several calls to complete (through the Job/Call Type used to create the job), the system will automatically create the correct number of calls for the job.

A Call contains 3 main attributes:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Technician

Once a Call has been given a Date and a Time it is considered Scheduled. If it is missing either of those values it is considered Unscheduled.

Once a Call has been given to a technician it is considered Assigned.

In order for a call to be run and therefore completed, it must be both scheduled and assigned.



The Job Form


After clicking the Create Job button, the job itself will be created. You can view the job listing by going to the Job Records page in the Call Handling screen.



Creating Jobs from the Customer Information Screen

You must create a new job in order to schedule a call for your customer. 

  1. Using the Customer Search, find the customer you want to add a job to, or create a new customer.
  2. Open the Customer screen for the customer by clicking on their name in the search result.
  3. In the Call Details screen, click the Job Request button. 
  4. Fill in the appropriate fields for the job. 
  5. Schedule and assign the job if possible.
  6. Click the Create Job button.


Creating a Callback Job

If you have performed a job for a customer and there is a problem with the installation or repair which requires you to return to the service location and perform work to correct the situation (Perhaps at no charge) you can create a Callback Job in Successware.

Callback jobs create a relationship between the original job and the new job you are creating. Callbacks do not require you to (and we do not recommend that you) reopen the original job.

Creating a Callback job will allow you to track Callbacks based upon the job itself, the tech responsible for the original job and the tech who performs the callback job. 

A Callback Job can be created by:

  • When booking a job using the Call Handling screen, check the Call Back box. This will display a dropdown which contains a list of past jobs for the customer. Select the job you are being called back on.


The Callback Job should be completed as you would any normal job.


Taking a Phone Call

The Phone Call is the main source of initial contact that you have with your customer. The Call Handling form should be your main source of customer addition and job creation in Successware. 

The Call Handling form can be used to create jobs for both new and existing customers as well as allow you to schedule and assign the appointment (call) related to the job.


There are 4 types of phone calls that you can record:

  • Job Request- A service phone call results in the creation of a job. The job can be scheduled and assigned to a technician. This could be a repair, installation, maintenance or any other type of job. In order for a Job Request phone call to be posted, you must gather required customer information (name, address, billing account data) and Job information (Job Class, Job Type, Lead Source).
  • Ticket- Any call that does not result in the creation of a job, but does require some sort of trackable follow up, such as a complaint, is recorded as a Ticket call. A checkbox will allow you to specify if this is a Concern call. This Concern call can then be marked as resolved and have resolution notes recorded with it. A concern call does not require that you add new customer data or search and existing customer. If you do however, a record of the call will be added to the location history.
  • Sales- Sales calls are a special type of Service call. This job will generally be run by a salesperson who is giving a customer a quote for new equipment. Sales jobs are not billable jobs in Successware.
  • Other- When a customer calls with a question that does not require follow up, or simply is asking for information, an "Other" type of phone call can be recorded. "Other" phone calls do not require you to gather customer information.

When a phone call is taken, a Call Reason is selected by the Call Taker. The Call Reason is set up to identify the "type" of phone call that is being recorded.


Call Handling Screen

The Call Handling screen can be found by clicking on the 'hamburger' icon in the top left of Successware, within the Customer Service module. 

Once a new phone call is started a call taking script will be displayed on the right side of the Call Taking window.

Required fields in the call taking form are highlighted with a red asterisk. These fields must be populated before you can finish the phone call.



Searching for Customers in the Call Handling Screen

While you are in the Call Handling screen you can search the database for an existing customer. Press the enter key after typing out your search term.

 The Find Your Customer screen searches the existing customer list based upon the following fields:

  • Name, Company, or Phone Number
  • Address

If any matches are found, the results will be displayed on the right side of the screen as a list. If the customer you are on the phone with appears in the list of results, click on their name in the list.



Finishing a Phone Call

After a phone call is taken and the appropriate information has been recorded, it must be finished in one of five ways. 

  • Abort- This option will cancel this call. You will need to enter an abort code to record why the call was aborted.
  • Post Pending- This will save the new information and indicate that other information must be entered.
  • Post- This will save the new job/call and, if new location information was entered, will add the new location.
  • Schedule- While you are taking a call from a customer and booking a job, you can schedule and assign the associated call. You can choose the date, a specific time or AM, PM or anytime to give a more general scheduling.
  • Save & Go to Dispatch- This will close out the call and redirect you to the Dispatch board so you can assign a technician to the call, as well as specify a date and time for the job.
  • Save & Close- This will close out the call, and the information will be saved in the Unscheduled drawer in Dispatch so it can be assigned later.





Phone Calls from the New Owner of an Existing Service Location

When a phone call is taken from an existing service location with a carbon copy billing account, and it is discovered that the location now has a new owner, simply changing the name of the owner will also change the name on the associated billing account.







Taking a Phone Call for a Job Request or Sales

A job will be created when you take a phone call from a customer with a call type of Job Request or Sales. A Job Request phone call will give you access to the Service sub form of the Call Handling form where you will add job specific information as well as scheduling and assignment information.

Job Requests are used for Repairs, Install, or Maintenance request. Sales requests are used to give estimates to a customer.


To Take a Phone Call for a Job Request or Sales

  1. Open the Call Handling screen by navigating to the Customer Service module.
  2. Search for the customer in the Find Your Customer section.
  3. Select a button under the Call Reason section.
  4. Enter any detailed instructions or notes about the call in Details. 
  5. Select the lead Source.  If the call will create a new location customer, the lead source will become the location AND job lead source.  If the call is from an existing customer, you will still select a lead source, which is the Job lead source.  Be sure to ask the caller if he or she is responding to a particular advertisement or marketing campaign to prevent the overuse of an “existing customer” lead source.
  6. If adding a customer, be sure to check Make Primary Billing Location if it applies.
  7. The Job Class will default based on the Reason code from the previous screen.  Use the drop-down menu to select the Job Type.
  8. If at this time you want to schedule the call, you can enter the date and time in the appropriate fields.
  9. Select whether to Bill service location or Bill alternate account.                                      
  10. If the piece of equipment you plan to work on has already been added to the service location, select it from the list. If not, click the + Add Equipment link from the Equipment subtab.    Equip1.png
  11. Enter the Equipment Age if the customer can provide that information.
  12. Choose any applicable warranties or agreements which may apply to this job. This information will be attached to the job and can be paged to the technician assigned to the job.
  13. Select either Post, Post Pending, or Abort.


Scheduling a Job Through the Call Taking Form

While you are taking a Service phone call from a customer and booking a job, you can schedule and assign the associated call from the Create a Job section of the Call Handling screen.


Taking a Concern Call from a Customer

When a customer calls your company because they are unhappy with the service they have received or have some other complaint, you can create a Concern Phone call in Successware. Concern calls can be related to a specific job and to a specific technician for reporting purposes later on.

Once a Concern Call is posted into the system it will be added as Phone Call History to the Service Locations and an "Unresolved Concern" will be created. These Unresolved Concerns can be reported, edited and ultimately, once taken care of must be marked as "Resolved" to remove them from the Unresolved Concerns reports. Concern calls are resolved in the Phone Call Review form.

Examples of a concern call include:

  • Customers with questions about their bill,
  • Directions to your office,
  • Complaints about service performed, and
  • Driver complaint calls.

NOTE: If a Non-Customer calls with a concern and you are able to gather and add Name and Address Information the caller will be entered into your existing database as a prospect.


To Record a Concern Call from a Customer

  1. Open the Call Handling screen by navigating to the Customer Service module.
  2. In the Call Reason section, click the Ticket button.
  3. Select a Ticket Type from the drop-down, and check the Concern checkbox.                                CON1.png
  4. Enter any detailed notes about the call in the Description.
  5. If you can get the information, enter the customer’s name, first then last.  Then complete the other customer information fields. This information is not required for a Concern Call. If an existing customer is selected, the Concern will be attached to their history.
  6. Click the Create Ticket button.


Taking an "Other" Type Phone Call from a Customer

When a customer calls you and the phone call will not result in the creation of a job nor is it to express a concern, an "other" type of phone call can be recorded. Other calls generally represent a customer calling for information such as checking a price or your scheduling availability.

Other phone calls do not require that you gather name and address information from the caller, but if you do and the customer is not already in the database they will be added as a prospect.

When an "Other" phone call is taken the Other sub form of the Call Taking form will be made available to you. There you can record additional notes related to the phone call as required.


To Record an "Other" Phone Call

  1. Open the Call Handling screen by navigating to the Customer Service module.
  2. Click the "Other" button under the Call Reason section.
  3. Select a Call Reason from the drop-down.
  4. Enter any detailed notes about the call in Details. 
  5. If you can get the information, enter the customer’s name, first then last.  Then complete the other customer information fields. This information is not required for an Other Call.
  6. Click the Save button.


Contact History

The Contact History page allows you to view a list of phone calls that have been recorded in Successware. The Phone Call review form allows you to search for phone calls based upon a number of factors such as date, call taker, and call status.


The Contact History page is accessed by selecting the Call Handling option from the Customer Service module. The headers, such as Customer Name, Date of Call, and Type of Call can be used to sort the listings in ascending or descending order.



These fields can also be used to search within each column by clicking on the filter icon.



Resolving Concern Calls

Once a Concern phone call has been recorded in Successware it can be viewed in the Ticket Record section of the Call Handling screen.



To record that a Concern issue has been resolved:

  1. Access the Ticket Record by going to the Customer Service module, and selecting the Call Handling option.
  2. Click the Home button, if not already there. 
  3. Select the Ticket Record listing on the left side of the page.
  4. Filter or search for the Concern call by Ticket Date, Ticket Type, or Assigned to.
  5. Click on the ticket itself.

Unresolved concerns will be displayed.


  1. Click the Edit Ticket button to make changes to the ticket.
  2. Add in any Notes as applicable.
  3. Click the Save Ticket button when Notes have been added in.


  1. This opens a pop up Ticket Confirmation screen. Change the Ticket Status to Closed, if applicable.  After updating the drop-down options as needed, click the Save Ticket button.


Call Taking Scripts

In the Call Handling screen, when a call is taken, a Call Taking script is displayed in the right half of the window. The scripts that appear in the Call Handling screen are meant to serve as a guide for those who answer the phone.


Access the Call Taking Scripts while on a Phone Call

When you take a phone call, the default script will be displayed in the Call Taking Script section. 




To Edit the Call Taking Scripts

Scripts can have their content as well as their names edited. Changes made to scripts are made at the database level and will affect the scripts viewed by all users.

  1. Select Setup from the list of modules, and click on Script Management.
  2. Scripts can be created for each type of call. For instance, you can click on the Sales listing, and choose different scripts for Agreement Estimates and Equipment Estimates.              Script3.png
  3. To create a new script, click the + New Script button on the top left of the page.
  4. To edit a script, click the Edit button in the lower right corner.            Script4.png
  5. Make the changes you want to the script.
  6. While editing the script you may rename the script by changing the name of the selected script. 
  7. To save the script click the Save Changes button.


Looking for a more interactive course on Call Handling? Check out our Learning Management System (LMS)! Our courses are available to all Successware users. If you don't have a sign-in for our LMS, contact us at for a free account.

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