The number one way to impact the level of trust your customers have with your company is by offering excellent customer service. In fact, across the globe, 96% of customers say that customer service is essential in deciding their brand loyalty. And one of the key elements of quality customer service is how you handle customer service inquiries.
When a customer calls in with a question or support ticket, how you handle it will ultimately determine your customer’s satisfaction with their experience. In fact, 67 percent of customer churn is preventable if you resolve issues the first time they occur. And that requires effective management of your customer support queue.
You need to know how you’ll tackle customer requests, how things are escalated, who’s responsible for what, and which approach works best.
In this article, we outline six tips for managing the workflow of your customer service inquiries for positive results.
1. Develop a Proper Organizational Chart
The first step to managing your call center workflow is to set up a proper organizational chart. Your staff needs to know who is responsible for what, the tools at their disposal, and how customer service inquiries are assigned. Whether you’re working with a small team or a large team, written documentation describing everyone’s roles and responsibilities is essential.
A few questions you’ll want to answer when it comes to the organization of your customer support team:
- How will we handle escalations and what is the procedure?
- What tools are available and when should they be used?
- Do we need a rotating triage team to handle high volume or ‘VIP’ customer service inquiries?
- Should we implement a ticketing system that auto-assigns tickets to teammates for even distribution?
- Who is assigned to what channel, category, and task?
2. Prioritize Support for Customer Service Inquiries
71 percent of customers expect help within five minutes, and 51% will give up immediately or after just one attempt to seek help. This is why it’s essential to develop a categorized approach to customer service inquiries.
For small teams, answering support tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis might work out the best. It’s a simple, top-to-bottom approach that handles the oldest cases first, which usually results in the fastest response times. However, it can also be incredibly rigid and result in poor support for some of your most valuable customers (those paying your bills).
Instead, it might be a better idea to prioritize your support based on channel, task, and customer. For example, phone and live chat customers expect instant communication while email support gives you leeway in replying. Also, low cognitive tasks (administrative tasks) can be punched out quickly and on autopilot, while high cognitive creative tasks can require more time and attention, and so should be set aside for when you have time.
3. Categorize Inquiries
Once each customer service inquiry is prioritized, it should be segmented according to the type of request. In this way, the inquiry gets to the appropriate team member immediately for timely and effective responses.
First, you need to define your customer service categories, and then assign the correct people to each category based on their strengths and weakness. Examples of categories include:
- Online Store
- IT department
- Individual assignment
You can also set up tiers within each category for even more effective ticket handling.
- Tier 1: Common customer service inquiries that main support agents can answer.
- Tier 2: Middle-of-the-road call center inquiries that require experience to answer.
- Tier 3: Difficult technical support queries that can interrupt your service workflow and require a specialist.
4. Enable Self-Service
While 40% of customers prefer more complicated customer service inquiries to be handled by a live person, there are many query cases that can be handled by self-service. For issues that show up again and again, and for those customer service inquiries with simple answers, you do not need to waste time or money responding over the phone, in live chat, or through email.
Instead, you can improve your customer service workflow and cut down on your ticket queue by empowering your customers to find the answer themselves. Make it easy for them to find their own resolution by publishing a knowledge base. It’s the simplest way to improve the customer experience and cut down on your customer service inquiries.
5. Analyze the Data
Is your call center workflow working? You won’t know if you don’t measure the results and then analyze the data.
It’s crucial that you set key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to track the performance of your customer support team. Examples include everything from average handle time to average response time, average resolution time, ticket close rate, and more. You’ll also want to monitor the customer experience with scorecards, NPS ratings, and surveys. Only by gathering this data and then identifying opportunity gaps can you improve your performance.
6. Test Different Approaches
Once you’ve analyzed the data to see how well you’re handling your customer service inquiries, it’s time to examine and test different approaches. There’s no one-size-fits-all call center workflow. You’ll need to constantly ask for feedback from your agents, get input from customers, and then edit how you handle your support queue.
For example, after a support team meeting, you might find that working from oldest to newest tickets in the unassigned queue is more effective than handling tickets based on tier or category. Or you might start experimenting with asking for a detailed ticket description upon call-in and then transferring the call to the best department immediately.
Just make sure everyone in your support center is on the same page in regards to how to handle customer service inquiries through regular training.
Better Handling Of Your Customer Service Inquiries
There’s no ideal way to handle your customer support queue. It’s up to you and your team to decide what works best for you based on the volume of your calls, the number of channels you use, and the types of support tickets you receive. However, each of our six tips can help you refine your customer service process to enhance the overall customer experience.