Mean Ticket Resolution Time and How to Reduce it

“45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.” – Forrester Research

‘Mean Trouble Ticket Resolution Time’ or Resolution Time as it is more commonly known, is a vital KPI that has a direct impact on customer satisfaction.

Customer expectation across various channels is a constantly changing trend where one poor experience for your critical customer will likely move them to competitors.

Here are some critical factors that contribute to increase in your Resolution time.

  • Waiting time at different levels
  • Lack of process automation
  • Poor access to information

Minimising waiting time

There are a whole range of reasons that could increase waiting time on your ticket.

  • Late assignment of a new ticket
  • Ignorance about a customer response
  • Poor communication of issue by help desk staff to the support team
  • Delayed response from the customer

Prevent late assignments by making sure that any new ticket that enters the help desk system is immediately assigned to a staff member. In fact, a good automated assignment system that is conditioned to assign tickets based on staff work timings would work best.

When a customer responds to a query from your support staff, the staff may not notice the response and the ticket may stay pending. Your help desk requires email notifications for all ticket actions, so that any response on the ticket is immediately notified to the assigned.

When a ticket requires expert advice from either a technical staff or a subject matter expert from another department, it should not result in just passing the buck and waiting. Follow up with the subject matter expert, gather the information keeping the internal discussions on the ticket page but transparent to the customer.

Customers may also delay their responses to staff queries. This requires a robust SLA Management feature that will let you set SLAs even for your customer responses to ensure that customers respond on time and enable faster resolution of issues.

Automating repetitive Processes

Manual work for all tickets could be very time consuming and tedious. Automating certain processes could release time for your support staff to concentrate on more critical issues and also simultaneously reduce overall ticket resolution time.

There are various tasks that you can automate like ticket assignment, escalation, change due date and priority etc. Create conditions based on which these actions have to be triggered, set them for a specific category of tickets and let your help desk automate all your process related work and reduce time, effort and cost for your support function.

Easy Access to Information

No matter how equipped your staff are at communication, no ticket will be resolved on time without them having the proper information and expertise about issues. Further, the information cannot be difficult to find because that in turn will increase resolution time for your ticket.

A good Knowledge base and FAQ system is necessary for creating an internal knowledge base for your support staff. Store articles on all topics, categorise them under useful tags and let your support staff use the knowledge base as a centralised location for accessing information on various topics regarding your product and organisation.

Ticket Categorization

Resolution times are not standard for all types of tickets and it changes depending on the type and priority of a ticket. You would need a different target level for a critical issue when compared to a regular incident and a different target for a feature request when compared to a service query. Categorise your ticket based on the nature and complexity of the request.

Similarly, create custom statuses to maintain completely transparency of all tickets for your admin to track. For example a ticket could be in ‘On hold’ or ‘Sidetracked’ status for your admin to immediately understand that this ticket is pending for a specific reason and do the needful to facilitate quick resolution.

SLA Management

Customer support is not just about delivering customer expectations. It is about constantly improving on goals to always stay a step ahead of customer expectation. Therefore, you need to take a consistent effort to reduce resolution times and stay on top of the changing trends.

A good SLA Management feature lets you set SLAs for your tickets not just for your resolution time but also for various other parameters that could cause a delay in ticket resolution. These parameters include

  • Time taken to send first response to a ticket
  • Time taken for a ticket to change from unassigned to assigned
  • Time to taken to respond to a customer response
  • Time taken by customer to respond to a staff query
  • Time taken for ticket to be resolved

Set competitive SLAs for all the above and take actions on SLA breaches. Thus, any ticket is always responded, addressed and resolved well ahead of time so that the customer is never dissatisfied with your service.

Intensify your Support Process

There are times when your staff will encounter similar queries from various customers. These queries might warrant the same reply and it will be  redundant manual work for your staff to send out the same reply to different customers.

Your help desk should allow you to create answer templates and store them. Whenever a customer submits a ticket that has an already templated response, all that your support staff has to do is to click the Canned action and reply immediately to resolve the ticket.

Canned actions take support work to an even simpler level by letting you automate the change in ticket properties. For example, you can create a canned action such that when you reply customer, the help desk will automatically mark the ticket as solved, add time spent on the ticket and also move it to the appropriate category. (Take a look at HappyFox Canned Actions feature for more information)

Critical areas that require focus

* A strong customer profile 

When providing support, information about the customer is highly useful in giving a complete and personalized support experience. It also lets you understand the value and importance of a customer and accelerate the resolution of the ticket.

The perfect solution for this is a comprehensive Customer Contact Management interface where you can store all your contacts, replete with telephone numbers, email, address and past ticket history. This helps to understand customer ticket trends, repetitive tickets etc and accordingly provide suitable support for the customer.

* Updated knowledge base

As your company expands, various new processes and features will be added to your company and the product. Keep your knowledge base updated with all the new information, so that your staff will always be informed when responding to a ticket.

Knowledge base and FAQ has a direct impact on ticket resolution as you can encourage customers to find resolutions for their issues on their own without having to contact your support team.

* Forums for community discussions

Apart from ticket resolution, you can also enable your customers/staff to post topics regarding issues and have customers help one another out on queries while also allowing your support staff to pitch in whenever required.

* Analytics and Reports

The final and most important part of improving resolution time is to track the performance of your staff and improve operations. A proper report of your support performance gives you details on all parameters like resolution time, first response time etc, so that you can track staff performance, view problem areas and fix them from time to time and reduce chances of inefficiency.

Go ahead and use all the above tips to improve your resolution time and deliver your vision of a superior customer support experience.

Murali Satagopan

Customer service blogger, HappyFox enthusiast.