For support agents, there is nothing more stressful than an inbox packed with support tickets. Managing the queue can really be a daunting experience, let alone a brutal process to go through. Just when you think everything is covered, you see a deluge of other tickets waiting for someone to handle them.

Unfortunately, there are various reasons why some tickets get a pending status. Some are untouched because of the difficulty they possess, while others just seem to bounce back and forth. At the end of the day, you and your staff are just swamped by a never-ending flood of tickets.

Avoiding this stress is really important, especially since it can significantly impact your customer service. Not only do you need to be organized, but you also need to use efficient IT ticketing software that can properly prioritize support tickets and bump up your response or resolution times.

So, without further ado, here are some ways to help make your team better when it comes to managing the company’s support queue. Make sure to keep them in mind!

#1. First-Come, First-Serve

The problem most support teams have these days is not being able to identify which one to prioritize. What is worse, they think that just because a ticket is coming from a VIP, it should be prioritized right away. Sure, this can be on a case-to-case basis, but it still affects the quality and response rate of your queue. Keep in mind that people usually expect to obtain help within the first five minutes. Any longer than that and they would start panicking, wondering if there are people in your company assigned to handle their issues.

A general rule of thumb when it comes to supporting queues is prioritizing tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis. You really need to start with the old ones first, regardless of how easy or difficult the underlying issue is. This method right here can help you keep thing simple and, at the same time, ensure a top-to-bottom approach. And mind you, doing this process really ends up with much faster response time.

#2. The ‘Pick and Choose’ Approach

The “Pick and Choose” process is completely different from the aforementioned. And although it is not necessarily an ideal option for companies with a smaller customer base, this works perfectly if you tend to have a handful of difficult tickets on a regular basis. Difficult, in particular, refers to tickets that require different methods. For instance, it would require the help of a manager or another department. It could also include sensitive information; hence, you would need someone who has the authority to handle it.

Apparently, the approach has proven to be an effective one when it comes to ticket prioritization. So, how does it work and what makes it efficient? The idea is pretty straightforward. Basically, you have to prioritize first emails with tougher issues. Of course, it is still better to handle tickets that have arrived first. What you would want to do instead is to quickly go over tickets that arrived first after handling those with difficult issues.

#3. Make Sure The Support Agents Know What To Do

Sometimes, your software or process implemented is good, but things can still mess up if your specialists are not synced. This is simply due to the fact that they are having troubles understanding the process. In most cases, they are familiar with some support tickets and how to handle them. However, they really have no idea or two when it comes to the most difficult ones. What is worse, they simply cannot picture out the process; hence, they end up messing the queue.

What you want to do here is make sure that each and every agent understands how the overall process works. Do they know what to do if a ticket contains sensitive customer information? Do they know which department to contact when it comes to certain tickets? Is there an escalation process in place? If so, do these agents understand how it works and which ones to call for help? Sure, it can be a time-consuming process, especially since it would require an ample amount of time for these agents to be trained. However, the experience can be very rewarding in the end.

#4. Always Set and Monitor Ticket Status

One of the better ways to prioritize and handle support tickets is to place a certain status. If you fail to do so, expect a number of issues to arise. And if you are unable to resolve them right away, your company’s customer service can be tarnished forever. Not only can tickets go unanswered, but agents can also duplicate their efforts. For instance, instead of escalating the ticket to a manager, they tend to respond to the customer for the nth time. That is because they do not know what type of ticket it is or what status it has.

The idea behind setting the status right is to set all tickets properly. Only by doing so can your agents work on them accordingly. Also, you want to make sure that all ticket statuses are visible and up-to-date on your software’s main dashboard. You can come up with your own type of statuses, but below are the most common ones:

  • New/Open – Tickets that require answer or help as soon as possible.
  • In-Progress – Tickets that is currently being handled by someone. It could also mean that the issue relating to the ticket is being addressed by a different department.
  • Pending/On-Hold – Tickets that are waiting for a response from the customer. For instance, you are waiting for the invoice number from the customer who is asking for a refund.
  • Closed/Solved – Tickets that are deemed solved. They simply do not require a further solution, as the case has been addressed already.

It does not really matter how sophisticated your ticketing software is or how well-trained your agents are. If there is no coordination and prioritization, everything can spiral down within seconds. Furthermore, try to exchange ideas on how you can further improve your ticket support team.

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