Customer support teams rely on ticketing systems to maintain a predictable level of service. In this article, we'll review 8 ticketing system best practices to help take your team to the next level.
The importance of ticketing system best practices
Ticketing system best practices help prioritize inquiries and collaborate effectively. Without a set of standards, support teams find it difficult to deliver stellar customer service.
These standards help businesses keep up with current customer service trends. They also help ensure key performance indicators are met.
"Good customer service costs less than bad customer service." -- Sally Gronow, Head Of Customer Service at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
Meeting the expectations of modern customers
Today, ticketing systems are particularly important today. Customer expectations are at an all-time high and customer loyalty is being tested.
Customers expect immediate responses and are not afraid to switch to a competitor. This is especially true when their issues are service-based.
- 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define "immediate" as 10 minutes or less. (HubSpot Research)
- Roughly 50% of customers say they would switch to a new brand after one bad experience. (Zendesk)
- After more than one bad experience, around 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor. (Zendesk)
- A customer is four times more likely to switch to a competitor if the problem they're having is service-based. (Bain and Company)
These statistics make it clear why investing in customer service is a top priority. It improves customer satisfaction, reduces churn, and increases revenue.
"The more advocates you have, the fewer ads you have to buy." -- Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot
Ticketing systems improve customer service metrics
Ticketing systems also help improve and measure the performance of your customer support team. A well-designed ticketing system will impact key metrics such as:
- Ticket volume
- Ticket backlog
- Average resolution time
- Average reply time
- Average first response time
- Customer satisfaction score
- Average handle time
- First contact resolution rate
A ticketing system won't just help you improve these metrics, it will help you track them, too. Monitoring these indicators is on our list of ticketing system best practices. Keep reading to set your team up for success.
Ticketing system best practices
Ticketing system best practice #1: Automate what you can
Automation is a must for ticketing systems. When you automate responses to simple questions, customers get immediate feedback. Support teams also have fewer tickets to deal with.
Automated customer service reduces manual administrative work. This frees up time for reps to devote to personal interactions with customers. Always be on the lookout for new automation use cases. Inquiries that are simple and repetitive are ripe for automation.
"We're trying to automate low-value contacts where we don't really need human interaction. For example, when a customer asks 'where is my order?' We don't really need someone explaining where it is." -- Marta Lopez, CCO of Webhelp
In situations where automation can't resolve a query, set up a first response message template. This way, the customer will know that you've received their inquiry and gives them a sense of assurance.
Ticketing system best practice #2: Aggregate channels
A ticketing system helps you gain consistent, rich information across support channels. Ticketing systems use ‘asynchronous communication.’ No matter how people engage with you, you maintain a continuous dialogue.
For example at Hubtype, our conversational platform powers a new generation of customer engagement. We help brands reach customers on the channels they actually use, and our platform makes it possible to aggregate communications across channels.
Just remember not to bite off more than you can chew. It's more important to provide excellent customer service than it is to offer support on every channel. Start small and add more channels only after mastering your current ones.
Ticketing system best practice #3: Determine how you will prioritize tickets
Next, make sure you have a clear system to determine which tickets you handle first. There are two main approaches to determine the order in which you help customers;
First in/first out
As the name suggests, a first-in, first-out method is determined by chronology. This is a simple approach to ticket management and helps cut down on the backlog.
Based on urgency
Many companies prioritize tickets based on how urgent the issue is. Use your ticketing system to capture important information, such as a description of the issue and the impact on the customer.
Creating customer segments/customer categories can also help determine the urgency. For example, you might want to help VIP customers first before moving on to another category.
You might also want to set up alerts for tickets that have been unsolved for a given period of time. This is particularly relevant for companies that must maintain service-level agreements (SLAs).
Ticketing system best practice #4: Configure SLA alerts
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment between a service provider and a client. It sets expectations for the level of service that the end customer will receive. It also helps you deliver predictable and consistent service.
Service-level agreements are common in situations where customer support is outsourced. Though, even if you're not required to honor a service-level agreement, it's still a good practice to create your set of standards.
SLA alerts trigger notifications when you approach a pre-defined threshold. For example, if your goal is to resolve all inquiries within 48 hours, you might want to flag any case that is getting close to that deadline.
Keep in mind that SLAs are your own internal performance benchmark, and don't necessarily reflect customer expectations. As we mentioned earlier, if a customer calls you with a problem, they want the issue solved as quickly as possible.
Ticketing system best practice #5: Ensure tickets contain the necessary information
Your ticketing system form will contain basic fields, like contact details and a description of the issue. But, you should also have custom forms depending on the issue type.
The more information you have, the better you can route the ticket to the right department. Then, when the agent does receive the ticket, they'll have the information they need to solve the issue quickly.
Also, make sure to integrate with other tools and platforms to cut down on duplicate data entry. Connect customer relationship management (CRM) tools to deliver higher-quality service.
Ticketing system best practice #6: Manage customer expectations
Of all the ticketing system best practices, this one is one of the most important. Consistent and frequent communication is valuable, especially when customers have urgent issues.
Even if the team is having trouble resolving the query, it's good to set up triggers to keep customers informed. If you reassign the ticket to a different department, you may want to set up a trigger to let customers know. Checking in just to say "we're still working on it" is more helpful than you might think.
There's nothing worse than being completely in the dark after submitting a ticket. Proactive communication goes a long way in keeping customers satisfied.
Ticketing system best practice #7: Use customer support tiers
Another best practice is to use customer support tiers. Use your ticketing system to "tag" tickets based on how complex the issue is.
Here's an example of what a tiered customer support system looks like:
- Tier 1: Agents handle simpler issues that can be resolved in under 15 minutes
- Tier 2: More experienced agents handle more complex issues that take more than 15 minutes
- Tier 3: A small team of agents handles tickets from VIP customers
- Tier 4: Specialists handle tickets too complex to promise a resolution time
If you do choose to use a tiered approach, make sure the handoff between tiers is minimal. You don't want customers to have to repeat themselves. Do your best to route customers to the proper agents from the beginning.
The same is true for managing the chatbot-human handoff. Make sure to remove any friction between humans and automation. They should work together, not separately.
Ticketing system best practice #8: Review data for actionable insights
Lastly, always review data for actionable insights. Most ticketing systems will allow you to generate reports for better decision-making.
Look for trends that contribute to long resolution times or poor customer satisfaction scores. A good ticketing system will also help you highlight the top ticket drivers in a quantitative way.