If you’re selling a product or service to customers it’s likely that at some point they’re going to need help. And when customers require assistance what’s the first thing they’re likely to do?
Reach out to your support team. When you only have a few enquiries these are relatively easy to keep track of. You’re unlikely to need specialist software to help you with supporting a minimal number of customers.
As your company grows, so too does your customer base which comes with an increase in the number of problems. It’s at this point where you might want to start referring to customer enquiries as support tickets, and investing in support software that lets you handle these tickets effectively.
Customer service is essential for companies who want to excel. After all, 90% of customers use customer service as a factor when deciding whether to do business with a company.
What is a support ticket?
Support tickets are a record of a customer communication with a support representative used by support ticket systems. A support ticket is characterized by a unique ticket ID that helps customer service agents keep track of individual customer conversations. The ticket ID prevents your customers having to repeat information in order to get their issue resolved by multiple agents.
Support tickets contain all the information relating to the customer’s issue including the date, time, and nature of the issue. Additional communication between the agent and the customer is recorded in the support ticket by the customer support ticket system.
However, it’s important not to get carried away with ticketing. 84% of customers say that being treated like a person, not a ticket, is critical to winning their business.
How does customer support ticketing work?
For customer support ticketing to work, you need a customer support ticketing system. This is a tool which receives all your customer communications and converts them into support tickets with a unique ticket ID. Some support ticketing systems are omnichannel so they bring together communications from multiple different channels such as email, phone, live chat, and social media.
Customer support ticketing kicks off when a customer chooses to get in touch with your company. They might visit your company website, and find an email for your support team. The customer sends an email to your team, which is received by your support ticketing system and converted into a support ticket.
By default, all new support tickets that arrive in your ticketing system are marked as ‘open’. This means the support ticket is unresolved and someone has yet to respond to the customer’s enquiry. As emails are exchanged between the customer and the customer service agent assigned to resolve the issue, further communications are appended to the original support ticket.
When the customer’s issue has been resolved successfully, the support ticket can then be marked as ‘closed’ so your agents know that no further intervention is required. If the customer follows up again you can always reopen the support ticket.
Most of the customer support ticketing process should remain invisible to the customer, with the focus on getting their issue resolved.
Benefits of support tickets
There are several reasons why companies choose to use support tickets to keep track of their customer service requests.
Manage high volumes of customers
The main benefit of support tickets is they allow you to manage high volumes of customers. You can see when new tickets come into the system and get an idea of the workload for your agents. Your ticketing system keeps track of each ticket and whether it is open or closed, meaning that your customer support team is able to work out what resources are required.
Support tickets keep your customer conversations organized and help you keep track of where the issue is in the resolution process.
Better experience for the customer
When customer enquiries are converted into tickets this results in a better experience for your customers. Customers know that their issue is being handled and they are able to use their ticket ID as a unique reference number when communicating with agents. Customers are able to open multiple support tickets at once if they have several issues concerning the company.
Customers who have their issues converted into support tickets experience a higher level of professionalism from the agents they are dealing with.
Access to metrics and analytics
Since support tickets require support ticketing software, this means your support team has access to key metrics and analytics to help you assess performance. You can track metrics like first response time, and volume of tickets, which helps you manage the resources on your support team.
If your metrics aren’t on track this means you can intervene to improve performance, perhaps by ensuring more agents are available at peak times.
Can assign tickets to agents
When you turn customer issues into support tickets this means they can be assigned to individual agents. As a result, there is no more duplication of effort as every team member knows who is responsible for what. Customers aren’t falling through the cracks as you know who is taking care of each ticket.
Assigned tickets can appear in your agents’ inboxes so their open tickets are always accessible.
Agents can collaborate on tickets
When your customer conversations are managed by a support ticketing system this means your agents can more effectively collaborate on tickets. They can tag each other and add comments, helping to resolve the ticket internally and keeping the collaboration invisible to the customer.
If agents can collaborate better on tickets this means your customer issues can be resolved much more quickly.
In your support ticketing system you have the ability to tag support tickets with a category, which helps your agents gain an idea of the types of issues that they are receiving most frequently. When you identify the most common issues, you can use support tickets as inspiration for self-service content that helps your customers troubleshoot problems on their own.
Read More: Help Desk Ticket Categories – A Guide
When agents are relieved of dealing with the most common issues, they have more time to spend on dealing with more complex queries.
Types of customer service tickets
The support ticket lifecycle goes through several stages, starting from when a ticket is marked as ‘open’ right through to when it is ‘closed’.
An ‘open’ support ticket is usually one that is newly arrived in the inbox and needs to be assigned to an agent. Open means that the customer’s question is not yet answered or their issue is unresolved, and indicates that the ticket requires action. Support teams usually strive to reduce their number of open tickets and get down to inbox zero.
Closed or resolved ticket
Tickets are ‘closed’ or ‘resolved’ when the customer’s issue has been dealt with to their satisfaction. Support teams usually aim to resolve a customer’s ticket on first contact to ensure maximum levels of satisfaction. Closed tickets are the final stage of the ticket’s lifecycle and means that the customer interaction has been completed.
High priority ticket
Ticketing systems usually allow your team to flag certain tickets as ‘high priority’, which means they should be dealt with as soon as possible. High priority tickets might include customers who are about to leave, customer complaints, or system outages. When a ticket is marked as ‘high priority’ agents know that they should handle these tickets first.
Sometimes a ticket might be marked as closed but the customer follows up with additional issues. In this case the ticket would be moved from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ again and agents will provide further assistance. A high number of reopened tickets might mean your agents are being too hasty when it comes to closing tickets, and more in-depth questioning might be required to ensure that customers are satisfied.
Escalated tickets are tickets that cannot be resolved by your tier 1 agents, either because they require an agent with more experience or an agent with more technical expertise. An example of an escalated ticket might be a customer who has a serious complaint against the business and requires an agent with more authority to approve a refund.
Sometimes customer support tickets get a bad reputation, and rightly so when companies reduce their customers to ‘tickets’. Support tickets are no excuse for treating customers like they are just a number, and it’s important to always maintain the personal touch when dealing with customer enquiries.
Growing companies cannot afford to ignore customer support ticketing software like Keeping which helps you manage a rising number of requests from customers. One of the best things about Keeping is it sits right on top of Gmail so your support reps don’t need to learn a new piece of software. Simple and yet powerful, Keeping remains invisible to your customers so your agents can focus on helping them.
Tickets help your agents to handle a growing volume of customer enquiries and ensure that service remains consistent.
Support tickets are the way that professional companies organize their customer requests, and help to deliver a positive customer experience. Customers are assured that their issue will get resolved and agents are empowered to offer excellent customer service.
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