Every Support team often hits a point where the volume of support tickets or emails grow large enough to increase stress levels and then the ability to carry out responsibilities suffers. It then becomes very difficult and important to decide, how to tackle all load and which ones to tackle first. All along the process of closing the support tickets, it’s equally important to identify the right leads so that the sales teams can start their part of the role as soon as possible.
It’s a continuous process which needs a variation in the support strategy from time to time. In this article, I'm going to share how we at Statusbrew prioritize our Support queues and at the same time get to the potential leads quickly.
1. Segmentation 🔎
Every morning, there’s a new bulk of support queries to be tended to. To make things less messy, two of our support team members, quickly scan through all the tickets one by one to segment them. At this stage, no replies are sent out. All that’s done is tagging the queries as per the content, such as bug, billing, cancellation, feature request, etc. At the same time, they constantly look for the prospects which can be turned into sales. These are assigned to a special set of members who work closely with the sales team.
Besides, with the helpdesk services we use, we're able to create lists such as "Priority Tickets" for us to include tickets such as with login issues, to keep a keen eye on. Further lists are created to segregate tickets Team wise such as 'Dev Issues' or 'Design Bugs' which require assistance from respective teams and with this they're quickly able to reach the issues that require their attention.
This process of tagging and assigning tickets usually takes less than 1 hour.
2. Defining Support Roles 👩🏻💻
We’ve divided our Support team members according to their areas of expertise. There are members with defined roles which first tend to the type of queries they’re quickest at handling such as issues regarding billing, application bugs, cancellation requests, etc.
With all the tags in place during the stage 1, all they need to do it apply the respective tag filter to get to their type of ticket at once.
Besides, we have a few rotating positions on the support which is assigned to one or two people during the day, mostly at the times when the incoming ticket volume is the highest. Their job is to assist in lowering the volume by adopting that role whose incoming tickets are the more.
3. Replying ✅
Once the ones with relevant strengths have their tickets in hand, now is the actual job to reply. There has to be a balance in maintaining the average reply time while prioritizing whom to reply first. This is how we achieve the both:
a) Replying Last-Come, First-Serve ⚡️ vs. Picking and Choosing 👈🏻
When having a long support queue, it's often good to start to reply to the newest tickets first to offer a percentage of users a super quick response to absolutely 😱 “wow” them which pleases them and at the same time helped lower queue volume for the rest of the team working on older tickets.
Previously, our habit had been to help on a first come, first served basis. That means tackling the oldest tickets first. Although, the main benefit here is that it maintains your average reply time but in the real world, we realized that a customer who has already been waiting for 5 hours to get a reply from you, can wait for an another. While replying to newer tickets first, we maintain a balance between the both and take care, not of delay older tickets to the point where we lose our customers' happiness.
The 2nd approach is to pick up the queries from your premium customers before replying to the free plan users. It’s justifiable to say that the users who pay to use services deserve more attention. This is achieved by us with the help of the rotating positions, who join in to reply to the premiums customers first.
b) Attending to the Leads ✨
During the stage 1 of segmentation, the tickets from potential prospects were assigned to a different set of support people who have the job to convert or upsell users. They first observe the account types of these users, their usage pattern, the social networks they’ve connected and then come up with the best plan to offer them which solves the user’s needs and at the same time helps us score a sale. Because this process works in parallel to replying regular support queries, we’re able to reach up to the leads much faster than the conventional way without segmentation.
These leads are then transferred to the sales team which pick up the required details to create a follow-up process, unique to each prospect.
This whole process also helps to figure out what’s generating the highest volume of requests, and then it can be worked upon by adding, improving, or resurfacing help documentation to answer the customers’ questions and reduce the support load. This cuts the incoming queue down to the more specific issues that actually need the time and attention of the support team. Segmenting and prioritizing these tickets allows the support team to manage and resolve the queries quickly and providing users with an outstanding customer experience.
Each process or the combination of processes will have upsides and downsides depending on your product and how your team operates. While there is no “right” way to tackle your support queue, testing several approaches will help your team find the right fit, resulting in maximum efficiency and delighted customers.
While this process worked great for us, I would love to learn what other ways do you have to tackle your customers’ queues? Let me know in the comments below.