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How to Conquer Your Chaotic Support Queue

As your business grows, or you launch a new product or service, customer support tickets can get out of hand. This overwhelms your support agents, increases response times, frustrates your customers, and can eventually lead to financial loss for your business. Keep in mind that over half of customers will refuse to do business with you ever again after just one negative experience. And, when your customers are disappointed, they will inevitably share their experience. 
So, how do you avoid this stress? How do you stay on top of your chaotic customer support queue? Here are nine ways your customer support team can rein in the chaos. 

1. Leverage the Power of Self-Service and Make Zero Contact Resolution a Reality

You've likely noticed that most of your customer support tickets ask similar questions. That means your support team is spending a great deal of time responding to the same questions over and over. Besides being tedious, it causes a time sink that costs your business money and productivity in the long run. 

One of the easiest methods to reduce ticket queue is to implement self-service portals to help customers find answers or resolve issues on their own. In fact, nearly 7 in 10 customers prefer self-service to find answers, and 90 percent now expect companies to offer a self-service customer support portal. Create a searchable knowledge base to weed out unnecessary tickets that are cluttering your support system and consuming precious time and resources. 

2. Put Some Process In Place 
When a ticket is submitted, most customers expect a fast response time (within five minutes). Some support teams prioritize tickets on a first-come, first served basis (resolving the oldest tickets first). While this ticket handling process keeps things simple and usually leads to faster response times, it doesn't give customers with more complex issues the attention they deserve nor give those with simpler issues a faster reply. 

This is where the notion of "picking and choosing" comes in. This method is used by support teams to give more attention to customers with more serious problems, or that meet stringent service level agreements. That said, where does that put the folks who've been waiting longest? It may be time to more carefully consider automated triage that enables your support team to segment tickets by severity (so the most critical problems are addressed first), VIP status (so the most valuable customers get top priority), or time spent in queue. 

3. Segment Support Tickets by Category
The best way to segment your support queue is to define categories. Defining categories will enable you to assign specific support agents or departments that are best able to help customers with their requests. Plus, every team member can search tickets more quickly and create custom reports to determine strengths and weaknesses across each category as well as identify which areas of your company are taking the most support requests. Support tickets can be categorized by priority, problem type, product type, or client. 

4. Consider Priority Support 
As the volume of your tickets continues to rise, you may want to put some of the focus on your VIP customers. For instance, try to look at tickets from paying users before working from the oldest tickets. The idea here is if they are paying more, your support team should give them more priority. However, this doesn't mean you should incentivize upgrades to higher payment plans for priority support, as free users usually need the most help. 

That said, some companies, including MailChimp, are taking the opposite route. The company only provides support to customers who signed up for a payment plan. This works for them because they have done an excellent job of creating and surfacing documentation to their customers. Implementing that requirement helps them concentrate on customers who are paying to get more out of the product. 

5. Enable Skills-Based Routing
If you have a set of agents who are amazing at retaining customers who are looking to cancel, you should be able to route cancellation requests directly to those agents, without having to round robin or send to a generic agent. Intelligent triage solutions can detect intent and route the ticket to the best person who will deliver the best customer experience. 

6. Eliminate Spam
Spam causes chaos and often creates tickets that should never be sent on to an agent. Reining in the spam (either manually or by using an automated approach) will spare wasted cycles on the backend. 

AnswerIQ’s Automated Triage solution takes the reins in handling and evolving spam content. Driven by machine learning, it segments critical tickets and reroutes less time-sensitive or even useless emails, preventing them from clogging agent bandwidth. Triage picks up on the nuances of customer emails, including subjects, language, sentiment, and inflection, eliminating manual tasks associated with routing. This reduces customer wait times and agent processing while routing spammy or even malicious emails out of your workflow.

7. Detect Language Automatically
Agents with language skills are always in high demand (and in shortage) and automation of tickets can help reduce that dependency. AI solutions that detect ticket language can immediately route the ticket to the appropriate resource. There have been tremendous advancements in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and automatic triaging with language detection. Some global companies are ahead of the curve, especially if their business is hinged on global service, for instance travel. The leading travel website today has addressed triage perfectly, with a solution that seamlessly works across 16 languages!

As your business continues to scale—domestically or globally—language-based segmentation and full product lifecycle support across geographies and culturally diverse populations will become deciding factors for your success. Without that, you’re shutting out potential customers and perhaps entire populations of people.

8. Automate Customer Support Triage With AI 
Automating ticket triage eliminates the tedious parts of your support team's job. It also reduces human error and enables your support team to stay on top of incoming tickets. And, it ensures that tickets are routed to the right person, department, or category while sending alerts as soon as a support ticket becomes overdue. 

9. Banish Queue Chaos With Top-Notch, Responsive Service 
There are many effective ways of handling chaotic customer support queues. Sure, you can work on becoming a more efficient support team and take steps to cut down the volume of support tickets. By all means, this is worth doing. However, the main goal isn't only to cut down the volume of support tickets, but also to provide excellent customer service. Listen to your customers. Respond professionally and address each question, even nested questions that take some extra effort to address. The care will pay off in spades when that customer becomes your brand ambassador.

Ready to take your ticket queue management process to the next level? Sign up for a demo and see for yourself how an automated customer support can take away the strain of an overloaded queue.  

Topics: language support, self assist, first contact resolution, knowledge base, agent response, ticket prioritization, aht, fcr, zero contact resolution

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