Customer support requests can be hard to manage. The right tickets have to get to the right agents fast. If not, they’ll pile up and your company’s support team becomes overwhelmed. Your support ticket queue becomes that truth no one wants to deal with.
Equally as bad and potentially worse than the woes of your support team, are the woes of your customers. No one wants their ticket to take exceeding hours or days to solve. Slow support often leads to agitated customers who can write bad reviews. What’s the power of a bad review? According to Moz.com, “You’re likely to lose 70% of potential customers” if you have “four or more negative articles about your company or product appearing in Google search results.”
How can Systems teams then step in and end the vicious cycle? The answer: workflow automation. By automating the process of routing support tickets, your team can improve customer satisfaction and avoid losing sales due to dissatisfied customers recalling their experiences online.
Here are three tips on how to better manage your support ticket queue and, in turn, improve customer experience.
1. Create a Centralized Hub
Before we get into routing requests, it’s crucial that you do a bit of spring cleaning to your support workflow or GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). You don’t want to start making changes to a workflow that already has severe cracks. One of the easiest places to start, if you haven’t done this already, is to create a 360° view of the customer.
Why Centralizing Support Requests Is Important
Have you heard the buzzword connected customer experience? This speaks to internal teams as well.
Many enterprises are moving to a centralized hub for administering support communications. Platforms like Salesforce Communities create social environments that your customer questions and cases can live in. Your support team may have hundreds of emails coming in, but if they are not centralized, managing and fulfilling requests can become difficult, even if they are routed correctly.
Context switching and app hopping does not serve efficiency, so before you embark on workflow automation for ticket routing, your support team should answer the following questions:
1. Are you tracking the progress of all of your requests in real-time?
2. Are all of your requests easy for your agents to find?
3. Is there a designated area where your customers can view their cases (without clicking through dozens of tabs or multiple emails)?
You’ll want to make it easy for your support team to find and handle requests, as well as customers to view progress. If you answered no to any of those questions, consider moving off of email-only or a call center solution and into a holistic customer service option (like a CRM or CX tool) that can centralize all of your cases.
2. Tag Requests
Within your chosen platform, considering a tagging taxonomy to route tickets quickly.
Depending on how technical your product is, your cases may require agents to have specific skills. If a less experienced agent comes across a complex case, they may choose to skip over it or cherry-pick from easier ones to solve, thereby delaying resolutions. By creating a series of automations that matches requests to agents with the required skillset, your Systems team can save both your customers and support team loads of time.
Does your current customer support process monitor the number of tickets agents already have open? If one representative has 30 requests and another has 10 requiring the same skillset, you’re leaving time on the table. By monitoring the number of requests each agent has and choosing by availability, you can avoid overworking certain teammates and ensure that tasks are given to representatives who have more time to answer them.
Factoring in Response Time
Both cherry-picking and unbalanced workloads delay response time. As stated by Help Scout, referencing a 2018 Forrester report, “The majority of customers (66%) feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good online customer experience.” Routing tickets to the correct agents by skill and bandwidth can directly impact and improve this outcome.
3. Continuously Improve Routing for Your Support Ticket Queue
While workflow automation certainly improves processes, there’s always room to further optimize.
After speaking with Systems leaders about how to automate and optimize Support, which leads to overall Customer Success, we learned a few more ways to revamp the tagging and queue management process.
If tickets are regularly coming in about a technical topic that the majority of your team is not equipped to answer, consider offering training on the subject. That way, more reps are equipped to handle more cases and the queue can be more balanced. Then set up a series of recipes syncing your LMS with your tagging system to ensure that once reps have finished the course(s), they are automatically tagged with that specific skill.
Chatbots That Solve Tier-One Cases
Oftentimes, requests will come in that deal with topics already addressed in your knowledge base. When that happens, you can utilize chatbots to deliver help articles that fit those needs. That way, every support ticket is touched in a timely fashion and you can satisfy customers’ more immediate needs. If the customer requires more information than the content provided, they can use the bot to “Contact an Expert” within chat (at the click of a button) which will put them in touch with an agent, offering a machine-human balance.
The final piece of the puzzle, if resources allow, is to consider hiring and/or tasking a team with writing and curating articles for a self-service portal that’ll exist within a platform like Salesforce Communities. This is where customers can come to quickly search for and find articles that answer their needs. As repeated tickets arise, the team can monitor and create content that addresses those cases quickly. That way, your chatbots are likelier to deliver the right information and halt as many tier-one tickets.
How Workflow Automation Leads to Happier Customers (And Better Support)
Considering the above insights, business systems plays a key role in customer support. By automating ticket routing and tagging, your support team can help your company reduce cost per ticket, prevent agents from receiving tickets they’re not equipped to solve, and most importantly, keep your customers happy by driving an efficient process to meet their needs.
In SaaS, the cost to acquire a customer far exceeds the cost to retain one. To do your best equally, equip your support team with workflow automation to ensure that no ticket goes unanswered and that customers get the personalized, real-time, connected experiences they consider just as important as the product or service they’re buying.