Skip to Content

CRM Service in the Interaction Center: Case Management, Complaint Management, Service Ticket/Order Management


Some people proudly follow the mantra, “Give ’em what they ask for!” However, giving someone exactly what they ask for — rather than what they need — isn’t necessarily the best approach. Sometimes it can lead to significant problems. Suppose for example, your company previously used a third-party software product for case management or complaint management. When you migrate to SAP CRM, you might similarly ask your consulting partner to implement SAP “case management” or SAP “complaint management”. However, a good consultant will first take the time to understand your current business processes and then to map your requirements against the appropriate SAP solution — which may be different than what you expected.

Another example, it turns out that in many case what companies actually need is SAP service ticket management, rather than SAP complaint management or case management. In SAP CRM, case management and complaint management are specialized solutions reserved for certain, very specific types of scenarios. Service ticket management is actually the solution that is appropriate for the majority of situations. However, these solutions — case management, complaint management, service ticket/order management — are not mutually exclusive. Rather they work together to support your CRM service requirements, with each transaction tailored to a specific purpose. Let’s take a look in more detail.

Activity (Interaction Record) Management

Before we get started talking about complaint management, case management, and service ticket/order management, we need to first become familiar with a something known as the interaction record — a crucial business transaction that is created whenever your company interacts with a customer. The interaction record is the leading business transaction, used for logging every customer interaction. Every customer telephone call, email, fax, letter or Web chat results in a new interaction record. The interaction record is used not only to document the purpose and result of each customer interaction; but the interaction record is also used as the anchor that holds together all other related objects (registered products, documents, emails, etc.) and follow-up business transactions (i.e., service tickets/orders, complaints, cases) that were created during the customer interaction. For more details on the interaction record, please see the Blog entry, “Everything you need to know about the Interaction Record in the CRM Interaction Center by Gert Tackaert.

Service Ticket Management

As mentioned, the service ticket is the most common type of service-related business transaction. Service tickets are commonly used as the default transaction for logging product defects, bugs, or any other technical issues. After creating a service ticket as a follow-up transaction to the interaction record, agents can perform technical analysis of problems (using multi-level categorization) and provide solutions within defined service-level agreements (SLAs). If necessary, agents can also dispatch or escalate service tickets to second-level support using pre-defined business rules.

Service Order Management

Service orders are very similar to service tickets (in fact they share the same underlying technical structure) but are used whenever it is necessary to schedule a repair, installation, or other field-service related appointment — especially if spare parts/service parts are required. Unlike service tickets, which do not support spare parts/service parts, the service order allows agents to assign the relevant spare parts/service parts required for a repair, maintenance or installation.

Complaint Management

Complaints are a very specific type of service transaction. In SAP CRM, complaints are created as follow-up documents to support product returns, exchanges, or refunds. A complaint is appropriate when a customer has a problem or issue with delivery shipment or billing invoice. Agents can create a complaint from a reference document such as sales order or billing invoice. Agents can also generate appropriate follow-on tasks such as credit/debit memos, QM notifications, free-of-charge shipments, and returns. In SAP, complaints are NOT used to record situations in which a customer is calling to “complain” about bad service or defective products; rather interaction records and service tickets are best suited for such situations.

Case Management

Cases are also a very specific type of service transaction. In SAP CRM, cases are created as follow-up documents to group together multiple documents or objects related to a single root cause or issue. For example, a company might create a case for keeping track of all of the service tickets related to a particular product recall, service outage, insurance claim, criminal investigation, etc. Cases are not created to log individual customer issues or problems; rather service tickets are typically used for such situations.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • John, instead of an agent choosing what transaction – ticket/order/complaint etc is appropriate, would it make sense to get the system to choose for the agent? Basically, a mashup type of thing where the agent just enters whatever data is available to him as he is hearing from the customer, and system generating the appropriate technical documents behind the scene.

    Also, can case management have some data mining capability to create cases by checking existing data in the system and proposing combinations of documents/objects that can be grouped?

    • Yes, good question. There are in fact various options for intelligently guiding agents rather than forcing agents to choose the appropriate service transaction. But just to be clear, in this Blog I was focusing on the decisions that a company makes on a project basis about which business transactions to implement (and not about how to decide as an agent which transaction to pick). For example, many companies will only implement service ticket management or only service order management (depending on their industry and business). However, assuming that a company does implement service ticket management, service order, complaint management, and case management, you are correct that it would be nice to guide the agent as to which business transaction to use for each customer call. One nice way to do this is to launch the appropriate business transaction using Intent-Driven Interaction (IDI) via the CRM Rule Modeler based on predefined business rules. In the future, SAP is also investigating other options to increase flexibility, such as guided procedures or a so-called “task based” user interface. Stay tuned…
      • John,
        I am seeing lot og Blogs from CRM product management. Is it possible to tag all these blogs with “CRM Product Management” Or other tag so these can be easily searched or accessed easily.

        Currently there is no we can see all information from CRM prodcut management in one place in SDN.


  • Should be a must read for anyone that is about to implement this functionality.

    Willing to bet more of us have experience with SAP functionality than with true interaction centers when we start on this endeavor.  This is nice blog in layman’s terms and is a key step in designing your organizations IC process.

  • I hope this is not terminally off topic. I could not find a link to contact you directly.

    I am tasked with leading an effort to implement a pilot SAP Customer Interaction Center for a large local government. I will order your SAP Press CIC book. I have read an extract of chapter 3. In that chapter, you say,

    “We will then move on and discuss the underlying framework technology and architecture of the Interaction Center and the CRM WebClient. We won’t go into too much detail since another, more comprehensive document called the Consultant’s Cookbook is available from the Ramp-Up Knowledge Transfer (RKT) section of the SAP Service Marketplace”

    I do not find such a cookbook for CRM 7.0 or 2007 on the RKT or OKP sites. I do find such a cookbook for an older release. Do you know for certain that there is an updated and curremt consultant cookbook on the RKT?

    If it’s not there, will your book have enough detail to guide a floundering nepohyte such as myself through the CIC setup? (There are cost containment constraints on consulting resources for our project).

    Thank you.


    • Hello Alannis,

      You can always contact me directly at or

      Regarding the Consultant’s Cookbook, take a look at one of the first thread’s listed on the Interaction Center Discussion Forum on the CRM BPX Community. The first thread is called “Documentation for Interaction Center (IC) WebClient” and it has links to many resources including the Consultant’s Cookbook for CRM 2005 and CRM 2007. Here is the URL: The specified item was not found.

      Let me know if you have a problem to access either. As a side note, from what I understand the strategy has changed in CRM 7.0 not to provide a separate cookbook, but rather to deliver all of the necessary content in the standard documentation.

      Best regards,

    • Hello Alannis:

      You can contact me directly via LinkedIn at

      Regarding your question about the cookbook, please have a look at the Interaction Center discussion forum on the CRM BPX Community. The very first thread in the list is called “Documentation for Interaction Center (IC) WebClient” and provides many useful links, including links to the CRM 5.0 and CRM 2007 version of the consultant’s cookbook. Here is the URL: The specified item was not found.

      My understanding is that as of CRM 7.0, SAP changed the strategy to discontinue cookbooks and instead move all of the content into the standard documentation. So there is no cookbook for CRM 7.0.

      Best regards,