Customers are the backbone of your business; you need customers a lot more than they need you. With this in mind, the number one objective of your business should be to delight your customers. So, how do you do this? Through the efforts of your support team of course. Your customers' needs, questions, issues, and problems should absolutely be considered with speed, clarity, and consideration. If you're spending time on repeat support tickets (I would be very surprised to hear that you're not!), you are devaluing your customers' time and in turn, their experience.
A good CX is dependent on several factors: speed, convenience, and self-service are some of the most important. Achieve these and you're doing well!
Stop Wasting Time on Repeated Support Tickets
On paper it sounds simple, right? Well, in reality, not really.
Picture this. It’s Monday morning, your support agent starts their day. They open their computer to an excessive number of support tickets. There are tickets in their stack that have been answered umpteen times before today (the actual number of times is infinite). They sit down to spend 8 hours repeating the same solutions over and over, and they have minimal time to address urgent tickets, or even identify which ones really are urgent. Monday ends, Tuesday begins, and the same process is repeated.
It’s an abysmal picture to paint; but it represents an average work day for a lot of support staff.
This leads us to several issues:
Your employees’ satisfaction at work
The time being wasted on repeat support tickets
The money being spent on repeat support tickets
Can each of these issues be addressed? And, by addressing them how can business objectives be achieved more effectively?
Most companies report overworked, stressed support teams - they are tasked with the huge pressure of keeping customers happy.
How are they meant to keep customers happy? They should be addressing customer expectations with speed, clarity, and consideration.
But, how do you scale your support team to meet your growing customership? How do you incentivize them to answer the same questions day-in, day-out all while simultaneously attempting to remain within budget.
On average, support employees can handle 21 support tickets per day. If your agents are dealing with more than this, it’s probably time to hire another agent. But, this option does not sit well with budget constraints.
Are there other options to supporting your employee? Absolutely. Creating an FAQ sheet that is available to customers to encourage self-service can deflect repeatable tickets your agents are receiving as well as allow them to spend more time addressing other support concerns.
Time Spent on Repeat Tickets
Of your employee’s 8 hour day, how many hours are being spent on repeated support tickets? If there are any repeated tickets in there, the answer is too many hours.
More time spent addressing the same tickets negatively impacts the metrics you need to be measuring ie. response time and resolution time.
On average, the first response time to a support ticket is 12 hours. How fast do customers expect you to answer? In 10 minutes or less.
Ticket resolution time on the other hand takes roughly 3 days and 10 hours. If your agents are inundated with repeat tickets, they take longer to resolve the customer issues that can only find help with the support team.
How can you address response and resolution time across your company? Well, again, providing a space with documentation for customer use is a great step in the right direction. But, finding brand advocates and ambassadors that can work as an expansion of your support team could be even more effective.
Money Spent on Repeat Tickets
Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room. How much excess spending is going into repeat support tickets? Any ticket that could be deflected is a huge saving, not only in terms of agents you need to hire, but in terms of customer satisfaction. Happier customers simply spend more money with you.
There are two layers to cost-efficiency with ticket deflection.
The first is, the more time your support agents have to spend on repeatedly answering the same questions, the more money you are funnelling into wasted work. Aside from that, the more time spent on redundant tickets, the longer it will take to address and resolve urgent support tickets.
Every minute spent on answering a support ticket costs money. As a business, live customer service channels (phone, live chat, and email) cost an average of $8 per contact. Self-service channels? Only $0.10 per contact.
The second layer is customer based. If your agents do not have time to address customer support requests in a timely manner (ie. 10 minutes or less 😬) your customer satisfaction score is going to be continuously falling. Unhappy customers eventually leads to no customers, and no customers means no revenue.
So how in the world are you meant to cut costs? Providing your customers with a space where they have the ability to self-serve, share use cases or issues, and engage with other customers can help your support team not only achieve excellent metrics, but it can help you re-direct your spending in a way that is efficient and beneficial - you don't necessarily need to reduce your budget you can just reassign it where you see crucial improvements needed.
Community, a Support Team’s Best Friend
Community is a proven solution to ticket deflection and increased customer satisfaction.
It provides your customers with a dedicated space for documentation and FAQs allowing them to self-serve. Reducing repeated support tickets for agents, and providing customers with fast, easy-to-find information.
Utilizing the knowledge and expertise of your community as well as your support team is possible with the use of a knowledge base. Your support staff can contribute content or you can repurpose community posts easily. Vanilla Knowledge allows you to offer your customers an excellent self-service customer experience that can contribute to a reduction in repeat support tickets.
Community is a space to find brand advocates or ambassadors that can act as an expansion of your support team. Customers who are well versed in your products and that can engage with other customers by answering questions, having conversations, and encouraging product adoption are the counter solution to excessive money and time spend.
The Vanilla Q&A feature encourages your customers to not only ask questions, but to answer them. You can reward community members for their contributions with 'best answers' and gamification options and you can ask members to mark their questions as 'answered' enabling your support team to understand which questions or issues have not been addressed in a timely manner. A Q&A done right, not only helps to reduce support tickets but can even help build your knowledge base.
You may be desperate to know how to deflect support tickets en masse: community might just be your answer. If you want to learn more about reducing your repeatable support tickets, read more about customer self-service expectations in this eBook.