How ShotSpotter Helps Law Enforcement Reduce Gun Violence

By Jeff Jaeger and Mike Will

SST, the makers of ShotSpotter is the global leader in gunfire detection and location technology. They design and deliver a gunshot detection, alert and analysis solution to state and local law enforcement agencies, federal agencies, and corporate organizations. Today, the product is deployed in 90 cities across the globe, and is highly regarded by many chiefs of police who have come to rely on ShotSpotter as a critical component of their gun violence reduction strategy. Law enforcement agencies have implemented SST solutions worldwide, including Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Milwaukee, New York, Boston, Oakland, San Francisco, and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

We spoke with Manager of Field Operations Jeff Jaeger and Head of Technical Support & Customer Service Mike Will on how SST/ShotSpotter uses Salesforce to manage the work they’re doing for police agencies around the country.

Tell us about ShotSpotter’s approach to customer service.

Our approach is to deliver on the quality of our products and focus on what we do best for customers — help them to reduce gun violence and enhance public safety. If we can quickly resolve issues for our customers, we can get them back to their jobs of getting on the crime scene faster, aiding victims, interviewing witnesses, and collecting evidence, all of which enhances officer safety and boosts prosecutions, which in turn, prevents gun violence and makes our communities safer.

We don’t look at individual agent metrics. There are no quotas or scripts; we’re not trying to clear cases. We want to deliver a “First Call Resolution, First Time Fix” scenario, where we give a real human touch to all our tickets. We want to be able to make people’s lives easier. Ultimately, at the end of the day, our products help to save lives and make law enforcement agencies more proactive in their own jobs. We believe in addressing our customer’s issues immediately the first time around so that they can continue to protect the communities in which they serve.

How do you maintain that level of quality when handling support cases?

Recently, we were able to scale up and improve our service process without adding headcount. We’ve started a new ‘level one’ call center that does the initial triage of the cases as they enter our system through chat or via the web. The cases get assessed at this first stage and if they can’t get fixed right away, they get put back in the queue and our ‘level two’ support picks them up. There are lots of factors to assess. Is it a technology error or malfunction? Is it forensic work around the analysis of a gunshot we’ve detected? Is it a high-priority case, such as an officer-involved shooting or a murder? Or is it lower priority with non-critical fixes? By crafting a level one triage center, we’re able to have around 12–14 people with more availability to address simpler issues, freeing up other agents to spend more time on complicated issues.

What were some of the challenges ShotSpotter previously faced in customer support?

Previously, we had a lack of consistency in our customer interaction records, where interactions weren’t getting documented and communications were scattered. Our previous system was also very manual; cases weren’t always routed or escalated properly. Our executive teams had little or no visibility into support operations.

What made you look for different solution for your business problems?

The company had been using another product, but it was cumbersome to find information and documentation. We stored information in multiple places, and we had three different systems to use. We were looking for an all-encompassing solution for everything we needed. In 2011, we transitioned over to Salesforce, and began building up the systems and processes we currently use.

How do you use Salesforce?

We started using Sales Cloud in 2011 and implemented Service Cloud shortly after as a ticketing system. We want everything in Salesforce, which replaced those three different systems. Our goal is to make it a hub of the business, tying and tracking everything back into the CRM. Since we store all of our sensor data and bug tracking in the CRM, including our drawings and diagrams, it’s become a useful aggregator of product defects. Court documents, subpoenas, field information — all of that data is available immediately. If support gets a ticket that needs help from field services, we can triage all of the tickets in Salesforce. Then, with the ServiceMax add-ons, we have the views and the means to see all aspects of the information. We can see where deficiencies are and can quickly fix problems. It’s so much better to be able to centrally track everything. Here’s a good example: With Salesforce, ShotSpotter can store building information where we have sensors setup. Previously, we had to call the agents that had gone onsite in order to figure out how to get into the buildings, but now that information is accessible in Sales Cloud.

What kind of improvements have you seen since using Salesforce?

Service Cloud has become a comprehensive support solution for us, complete with consistent customer interaction histories. Our workflow is now largely automated, where we have routing and escalation rules. This streamlined support process has really led to an increase in agent productivity. Everyone has better visibility across the board; not just the service activities, but the sales and account management activities as well. Executives can now access reporting at a granular level. Chatter allows us to have better collaboration between agents and experts. The integration with ServiceMax field service application allows field and internal agents to collaborate more effectively. We have company alignment on support goals, which leads to an enhanced customer experience.

Salesforce’s reporting capabilities has also been extremely beneficial in aiding our customers. With a few clicks, we can send valuable data back to our customers quickly. We have contractual agreements with several law enforcement precincts for regular reporting. Same with big data service companies we work with. Reporting ease is germane to their business and we can provide that.

How do you measure success?

We measure customer satisfaction through surveys and attach them to each case. We also can assign customized service-level agreements on every case to make sure that we’re able to deliver on all promises and meet expectations. When paired with ServiceMax, we’re able to have accountability for solving client issues faster and better. We’re able to stick to our main priority of delivering the right answer, the first time.

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