12 ways to reduce helpdesk ticket response times

TL:DR

  • Customers have more options than ever before — especially in SaaS — so they'll churn at the drop of a hat.
  • In this environment, one of the ways companies can stand out is to provide the BEST customer support possible.
  • A key component of good customer support is speed: you have to answer enquiries the minute they come in.
  • Unfortunately, average response times (about 12 hours from when a ticket comes in to when it's answered) lag waaay behind what customers expect.
  • In this blog post, we'll give you 12 foolproof strategies to reduce your average ticket response time.

Any business must respond to client needs, no matter how big or small. And with the evolution of technology, your customers expect more than ever before.

Responding to customers as soon as possible is one of the tenets of providing excellent customer support. It can increase the overall productivity of your customer care team and set the tone for the remainder of the session. Businesses that devote time, energy and resources to perfecting their customer experience generate 4-8% more revenue than their competitors, so it's definitely worth doing.

In light of that, it makes sense to pay close attention to your average support ticket response time.

What is average response time?

Average response time is the average amount of time it takes to respond to a support ticket once it comes in.

It provides a measurement of the efficiency of a company’s customer support workforce and process. It may appear simplistic, but it provides vital insight into future development and improvement opportunities.

Naturally, the quicker your team responds with accurate information, the happier your customers will be.

But there's still a huge gap between what companies are delivering and what customers expect; according to research on 1,000 companies, help desk support tickets take an average of 12 hours and 10 minutes to respond to. This is despite the fact that 88% of clients expect a response within an hour of contacting a business. Ouch.

Clearly, something needs to change, so we've put together 12 ways to decrease your average response times to increase customer satisfaction 🙌

12 proven strategies to reduce average ticket response time

A successful business is made — or unmade — by its ability to support its customers, regardless of the sector or target market.

In light of that, the following tips can help you shorten your average support ticket response time:

  • Balance personalization with automation
  • Hire an appropriate amount of employees
  • Make use of AI to diagnose issues
  • Use ticketing software to route requests
  • Create comprehensive self-support resources
  • Invest in training
  • Come up with set processes and a good script
  • Offer omni-channel support
  • Support customers proactively
  • Make sure customer feedback is communicated to your product team
  • Delegate and specialize
  • Merge support tickets

Balance personalization with automation

While automating everything may seem like a good idea, many people get put off by an overabundance of automation. P

The best thing to do is to sit down and figure out what you can automate and what you should leave to a living, breathing entity (preferably a well-trained customer support agent, of course).

Some companies have scaled customer support while cutting the average response time by as much as 77%. They've achieved this by combining contextual and tailored automation.

Personalization extends beyond merely adding a recipient's name to an automated message. To correctly create tailored experiences that can scale quickly, consider techniques like cobrowsing. This tech can be used to start in-app calls with your user and give you both screen control capabilities to solve problems collaboratively and easily.

It doesn't get more personalized than that.

Hire an appropriate amount of employees

You can cause your support workflow to become bloated and inefficient by hiring too many agents. On the flip side, employee burnout can occur if you hire too few people and put them under too much stress. So it's crucial to strike the right balance.

Hiring the correct number of employees will impact your bottom line in various ways. So you must create a customer care team aligned with your corporate objectives.

Ultimately, delivering customer experiences that motivate consumers to stay with you and increase their spend requires an optimized customer support team with the right number of well-trained agents.

Make use of AI to diagnose issues

Before you can reduce your average ticket response time, you have to diagnose why it's are so high in the first place. Good thing you can use AI to figure out why that is.

According to one study, projections show the AI industry will grow to $36.8 billion by 2025. AI has made its way into many corporate areas and functions, including retail, healthcare, and financial services. The customer support industry has not yet widely adopted this technology.

Merging elements of AI with your customer support flows makes it possible to provide instant support on demand and better self-service choices. Businesses can utilize AI to track metrics and diagnose issues — including the cause of prolonged response times if they are experiencing that problem. Moreover, AI can also assist companies in detecting bottlenecks in their support workflow that otherwise would not have been visible.

Use ticketing software to route requests

Effectively routing and assigning support requests as they come in can reduce average support ticket response times. Intercom and Zendesk are two examples of platforms you can use to do that. Some of these types of platforms even make use of AI to automatically classify and route messages.

Research indicates that the amount of time spent on repetitive chores costs businesses over $5 trillion every year. When repetitive operations get removed, workflows move quickly from one step to the next and important metrics improve.

Through AI-based classification, you can send each issue to the appropriate bot or agent in the quickest time possible. This solution eliminates the need to have all questions go into a generic queue for live chat agents.

Create comprehensive self-support resources

Going all in on self-service is key. According to one study, 88% of customers expect online businesses to have a self-service portal. The fundamental idea behind this is that when more customers can help themselves solve problems, support employees have fewer tickets, allowing them to respond to those tickets more rapidly. It also allows them to shift focus from level one support to more technical support tickets, like that kind that need to be escalated to level 2 and 3 support.

A thorough help center with relevant articles, videos, and tutorials can significantly reduce response times. When a support request comes in, having a quick, simple way to link to an article or video in the help center is priceless.

Invest in training

According to research by HubSpot, nearly 90% of Americans believe good customer service is crucial when choosing a product or service. Therefore, you should ensure that your support agents get trained to offer first-rate customer care and support.

To ensure that your support crew continually tries to enhance their procedures and abilities, you must also invest in training on an ongoing basis.

Empowering your team to do more tasks independently, without the need for support from their manager, supervisor, or other employees, is one of the best methods for you to decrease the time it takes to respond to customer support requests. You must train your staff to rank important issues according to their seriousness and plan their responses accordingly.

Come up with set processes and a good script

A lot of people will contact you with standard issues for which you ought to have preexisting procedures and scripts. This solution will make coming up with a response and an answer much less difficult. We've made a few handy and customizable customer support email templates you can use to get started.

According to the findings of a recent survey, approximately 40% of customer care representatives can only attend to a maximum of ten tickets each day. The complexity of the issues brought up by customers in their support tickets was the root cause of the unexpectedly poor performance.

You can resolve this issue by writing down and saving the solutions to challenging questions for later use. This will allow agents to stop repeatedly inputting the same response to the same query.

Offer omni-channel support

According to a Google study, 90% of people with several devices switch between them every day, using an average of three devices to finish a job. Omni-channel solutions are, thus, one of the most important ways to deliver convenient, accessible support.

To lower average response times, incorporate omni-channel support into your strategy because it is far faster to reach clients where they are. This also helps keep any one channel from being inundated and overloaded with support requests, which can really slow you down.

Omni-channel support has the additional benefit of providing clients with a greater number of available options. They can select the channel that most convenient for them. Moreover, integrations allow you to pull all your communications in your social media inboxes into your regular CRM platform, which makes it easy to respond to and keep track of everything.

Support customers proactively

You might not think it is possible, but Fullview Replays lets you proactively diagnose problems and find bugs and issues even before your customers reach out to you about something.

How is that, you ask? 

With Fullview Replays, you can watch video-like recordings of actual user sessions in your app. This allows you to see exactly what a user saw or experienced during a session. You can watch events, bugs and issues in context, and provide proactive help even before users contact you.

It was created especially for product and customer support teams and is simple to use: search for one of your customers by name or email to get a list of recent sessions. Next, select "watch activity."

You will be shown a recording of a user session with console information, such as user steps, errors and warnings, that occurred during that session. You can even skip directly to issues on the timeline with our latest update! And you can share time-stamped replays with your team so no feedback is ever lost in translation.

Make sure customer feedback is communicated to your product team

As stated above, Fullview Replays allows you to share time-stamped user session replays with your product team when you notice bugs or issues that your customers have faced.

This allows you to share feedback instantly and helps your developers see issues and bugs in context for easier diagnosis, testing and fixing.

With tools like session replays, automatic bug reporting, and console log information, Fullview assists you in destroying those silos that exist between customer support and product teams.

Delegate and specialize

To resolve difficult and technical client concerns, businesses and organizations should place a heavy emphasis on recruiting customer representatives who are exceptionally knowledgeable and have received extensive training.

The delegation of customer support requests is crucial when providing technical help, as most SaaS organizations do. Processes must be in place for level one support, including who handles it, how it gets dealt with, and when a ticket gets escalated to level two and level three support.

You also need specialized support agents and subject matter experts for various support requests.

Merge support tickets

Customers now have many choices for getting in touch with support staff.

To save time, effort, and hassle, you should consolidate cases where the same user has contacted you on several occasions or platforms regarding the same issue.

This prevents you from, for example, replying to the same customer with the same issue more than once, which would negatively affect your average response time for obvious reasons.

Consolidating support tickets keeps them neat, tidy and easy to manage.

Benefits of reducing average response time

Have you implemented all the strategies we laid out above? Good! Here are just some of the benefits you can expect to reap now.

Here is a deeper look at how reducing the average support ticket response time can significantly benefit a business.

  • Helps you retain customers
  • Generates referrals
  • Decreases customer churn
  • Increases customer lifetime value
  • It is good for your bottom line

Helps you retain customers

Long response times result in frustrated customers. The market research organization Forrester discovered that over three-fourths of consumers surveyed said the most important aspect of customer service is that a business respects its customers' time. You can show your customers you respect their time by efficiently responding to all support tickets as well as providing updates on the status of their support tickets.

Ultimately, customers have a lot of choices when it comes to your competitors, so it's never a good idea to leave them hanging. After implementing our strategies on improving average response times, you should see your retention rates increase.

Generates referrals

You can persuade customers and prospects to buy more from your brand when you offer a faster customer support response time.

Additionally, satisfied clients are more likely to recommend a business to friends and acquaintances. After all, word-of-mouth is still one of the best methods to expand organically. 39% of customers develop trust in a brand from peer-to-peer talks and view other consumers as 14% more credible than brand workers.

Improving your average response times and customer support in general can really help you increase your net promoter score and bring in more referral business.

Decreases customer churn

Churn is a constant threat in SaaS since customers have more options than ever before. Customer churn costs businesses $1.6 trillion annually. Furthermore, Forrester estimates that acquiring new clients is five times more expensive than maintaining an existing one. Companies must, therefore, actively take steps to reduce churn.

One of the simplest ways to offer excellent customer service is to ensure that consumers receive timely assistance when they contact you with their questions and problems. Once you do that, you'll naturally see a decline in your churn rates.

Increases customer lifetime value

Customer Lifetime Value is the sum of a customer's value to a company throughout their relationship. It is less expensive to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones; therefore, increasing the value of your current consumers is an excellent way to stimulate growth. According to a Harvard Business School analysis, a 5% improvement in client retention rates typically leads to a 25% to 95% rise in revenues.

Customers are more likely to interact with and make purchases from companies that place a high value on providing excellent customer service.

By working to continually improve your customer support processes and workflow, you can increase the average lifetime value of each customer.

It is good for your bottom line

Notably, five times more money goes into finding new customers than keeping current ones.

Expectations for customer support have never been higher than they are now. Your current clients may leave you faster than you can bring in new ones if you don't put effort into customer retention.

Finally, it is critical to focus on retaining and satisfying your current customers, as doing so is less expensive than acquiring new customers. As a result, you should expect an increase in your bottom line.

Conclusion

Your company can enjoy a significant competitive advantage by reducing your average support ticket response time. To improve your overall customer experience and make your brand stand out in the market, ensure your customers never lose precious time waiting for a response from your customer support team. Not only can this help your company's image and reputation, but it can also increase sales and improve productivity.

In the end, however, finding the right mix between practicality and top-notch customer service is crucial. It’s not enough to just respond to tickets quickly, you also need to offer high-quality responses to every ticket submitted.

Perfect your support workflows and processes with Fullview. We help you reduce average ticket response times — and more besides! Sign up today to get started.
Author

Shifa Rahaman

Content Marketing Manager

Contributor