Four Practical Tips on how to Categorize Contact Reasons

18 Sep, 2023
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It is of crucial importance to understand why customers are getting in contact with your organization. It may help to improve your customer experience, optimize processes and increase general customer satisfaction. At more than 100 of our Freshworks implementations we have done, categorizing the reasons for contact seemed to be the most challenging subject. In this blogpost, we have gathered four practical tips on how to best record the contact reasons of your customers.

What are contact reasons?

A ‘contact reason’ is a reason why a customer gets in contact with your organization. This could be because they want to order a product, ask a question, file a complaint, get technical support, or receive information. These reasons are often filed into a system such as Freshdesk or Freshservice. Preferably with the use of dependent drop-down fields that are connected to a ticket.

Why are contact reasons important?

A well-structured recording of all contact moments has many advantages. We have summarized a few of them:

    1. When you have a good insight into your contact reasons, you are able to make more concrete forecasts. Think of contacts resulting from a campaign or even changes in the season of the year.
    2. You can use contact reasons to actively steer to contact reduction. When you understand which processes have a major influence on the number of contact moments, you are able to optimise these processes.
    3. Next to that, you can also make use of the information about contact reasons to become more efficient or customer focused by combining data, by combining customer contact reasons and results of customer satisfaction research. This cominbation can give an insight into the contact moments with the least satisfaction rate. You could then effectively ask customers how you can improve your service.

Four tips

Even though there are many tools to improve the records of contact reasons, we would like to emphasize four of them.

1. Connecting reasons to the responsible departments

When designing the contact reasons section, we often advise our customers to connect the contact reasons to the responsible department of specific processes within the organization. A contact moment from a customer rarely occurs from something that the client contact support is responsible for. Often, a customer calls client contact support because they have received an unclear email, an incorrect invoice or they might have a problem with a product. When arranging the design of customer contact reasons, it is impactful to connect with these internal processes, so that a specific internal department is able to improve upon a case that has been logged in the contact reasons section.

2. The rule of 3*7

Some of our client’s customer contact employees had to scroll through over 100 possibilities to record the reason for contact. Eventually, this led to a lack of accuracy. According to research, people cannot remember over 7 items that they have read in a drop-down menu, that’s why we advise to never have more than 7 options. Depending on the drop-down choice made, a new drop-down will appear in Freshworks with values specific to the first one. This is called a dependent drop-down field. Here, we limit again to a maximum of 7 fields. Also when choosing a field on the second level, a third field can appear with a maximum of 7 fields. In this way, there are a maximum of 777 = 343 different types of contact reasons.

3. ‘Mutually Exclusive & Collectively Exhaustive’

This could be an ambition in the back of your mind when thinking of and categorising contact reasons. The first part ‘mutually exclusive’, means that there are no contact reasons that can be logged among multiple main contact reasons. The second part ‘collectively exhaustive’, means that there cannot be a contact moment that does not fit among any category. To fully realise this, it may be challenging, but it may help you to improve your first categorising contact reasons – attempt.

4. Other

It is a main topic of discussion in many organization: can you use ‘other’ as a contact reason. The reason to avoid the ‘other’ reason, is that many contact moments can be logged on ‘other’. When this is happening, it is hard to gather and trace back insights from the logged data. The suggestions that we gave at our 100+ Freshworks implementations, were that employees from client contact could only work most efficiently if a few conditions could be met. First, make use of automation to already log a first reason. Secondly, have a maximum of 7 options per drop-down menu. Thirdly, make sure to return the feedback to the employees. When you see that the ‘other’ option is being used too many times, make sure to talk about the actual reason. Often, it seems that there might be a change in reasons for contacting, which results in a need for a new contact reason log.

Logging contact reasons


A good logging system for client contact reasons can help organizations improve their customer experience, optimize processes and increase general customer satisfaction. However, logging the contact reasons does not always seem to be that easy. By connecting to the responsible department of processes within the organization, applying the 3*7 rule, applying the “Mutually Exclusive & Collectively Exhaustive”-system, and working with dependent drop-down menus, organizations can improve the logging of the contact reasons. Logging these reasons can help organizations to better forecast, steer to limiting contact moments and be more efficient and client-focused, leading to greater customer satisfaction. Check out our blogpost on ‘Customer service: five trends‘ for more interesting facts and figures.

Koen de Leeuw
As a Freshworks consultant, Koen's focus is on the implementation of Freshworks applications. Understanding the business processes and transforming those processes into a good working product is what Koen loves to do. In his spare time he loves to swim, bike and run all over the world.

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