PrestaShop enables you to centralize all of your customers' requests. This helps you keep track of which discussion threads need answering, rather than having to check with all the email recipients to see if someone has answered it.
In practice, the contact form of your shop, available under the "Contact us" link at the bottom of your front office, presents the customer with two contacts by default: "Customer Service" and "Webmaster". The customer only has to choose who to contact, and then fill in the rest of the fields. The message is then saved in PrestaShop's customer service tool.
Discussion threads are only included in the customer service tool if the contact has the "Save Message?" option enabled. You can change this setting by going to the "Contact" page in the "Customers" menu. This page is explained in detail in the next section of this chapter.
If the option is disabled for the contact that the customer chooses, the message is simply sent to the contact's email address, and is not stored in PrestaShop.
You also need to properly configure your IMAP settings, so that PrestaShop can retrieve the customer's answers to emails that were sent from the customer service tool. This is done in the "Customer service options" section, at the bottom of the screen.
On this page, each contact has its own box, where you can quickly see if there are any new messages (i.e. unread messages). By default there are two, and adding more contacts will move the "Meaning of status" and "Statistics" boxes further to the left and down.
These two last boxes are handy when you need to handle new messages daily:
Meaning of status. A simple reminder of the color codes that your team can apply to a discussion thread.
Customer service: Statistics. An overview of the global activity of your customer service since the beginning.
Further below is the list of received messages, both old and new.
You can edit a couple options at the bottom of the page, which apply to all contacts:
Allow file uploading. Whether the customer can attach a file to the message. This can be very useful if your shop has visual issues, as the customer can send you screen captures.
Predefined message. The default template for your employees' answer. Keep it simple, so that it can be adapted to many situations, even if it needs a little editing for each case.
Finally, the bottom of the page features the "Customer service options" section, where you can set many options pertaining to your mail (IMAP) server.
Handling Customer Service messages
Each conversation with a customer can be entirely handled through PrestaShop's comprehensive interface, without having to use an email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird.
In the conversation list, click on a row to view the conversation's details:
- You can apply a handful of actions to a discussion, in order to quickly sort them and thus handle them quicker. There are 4 available actions:
- Mark as "handled" or "Re-open". Changes the discussion's status to "Closed" or "Open".
- Mark as "pending 1" and Mark as "pending 2". These two statuses are internal: their meaning is up to your team. You may even choose to not use them, and only rely on "Closed" and "Open".
- Forward this discussion to another employee. From the moment an employee has started replying to a customer message, he takes charge of the customer's request. If during the discussion it turns out that another employee should be handling it instead of you, you can use this button to assign it using a dropdown list. The other employee will receive a notification. If the person you want to forward this discussion to is not available in the list, choose "Someone else" in the dropdown list and two options will appear, enabling you to indicate the email address of the recipient and a comment about your message.
- Reply to the next unanswered message in this thread.
- Essential details are available:
- Customer name and email, which you can click on to access the customer's information.
- Number of orders, total amount spent and date of registration for the customer.
- Time and date of the message.
- Finally, the message itself.
To reply to this thread, simply use the form with your default message (as set in the "Contact options" section of the "Customer service" page), and click "Send".
At the bottom of the page, the "Orders and messages timeline" gives you a clear, chronological view of the events pertaining to this discussion thread.
Customer Service Options
This section basically enables you to precisely configure PrestaShop's access to your email server through its IMAP interface. You should make sure all fields are filled in order for the customer service tool to work properly. Most of this information should be provided by your webhost.
- IMAP URL, IMAP port, IMAP user and IMAP password. Essential details to access the email server using the IMAP protocol.
- Delete messages. If enabled, messages on the server will be deleted as soon as PrestaShop has retrieved them. Use with caution: this would make your messages unavailable to other email clients.
- /norsh. If enabled, the connection to your email server is no longer authenticated. Not recommended.
- /ssl. If enabled, the connection to your email server will not be encrypted. Not recommended.
- /validate-cert. If enabled, PrestaShop will force the validation of the server's TLS/SSL certificate.
- /novalidate-cert. If enabled, PrestaShop will never try to validate the server's TLS/SSL certificate. Essential for servers with self-signed certificates.
- /tls. If enabled, PrestaShop will force use of StartTLS to encrypt the connection. Servers that do not support StartTLS will be rejected.
- /notls. If enabled, PrestaShop will not use StartTLS to encrypt the session, even with servers that support it.