Customer service is only getting more and more difficult. Customers expect more from businesses than ever before, and they’re willing to pay for what they want. In fact, almost 50% of customers would be willing to pay a higher price for products and services if they came with a higher level of customer support.
Keeping up with this increased demand is a herculean task. As such, backlog has become an issue in many call centers. The problem is that every unresolved ticket equals an unhappy customer, and tickets can pile up quickly. That’s why your contact center needs processes and tools in place to reduce backlog and better handle ticket volume.
But first, let’s discuss unresolved ticket backlog and how it happens.
What is an Unresolved Ticket Backlog?
As you know it is simply the number of unresolved tickets your contact center has over time; those customer support tickets that your call center team hasn’t had the chance to respond to yet. These are tickets waiting to be handled and just sitting in the queue.
The definition of unresolved depends on your company. It usually includes new and open tickets—such as those in a pending queue waiting for additional insight. However, some companies may remove tickets from backlog if they are waiting on the customer and not the company. You may also remove tickets from backlog that already have a resolution path, such as those asking for a new feature currently in development.
The Negative Impact of Unresolved Tickets
In an ideal world, your contact center wouldn’t have any backlog—or at least, very little. You would be able to answer all tickets immediately and resolve all problems upon first contact. But in reality, it’s not that easy. Ticket volume can spike unexpectedly and grow too quickly for your very talented team to keep up with demand.
And as backlog grows, so too do your problems. Every unresolved ticket has a cost to your company. The longer you keep tickets in backlog, the more frustrated the customer will be, and the greater potential damage to your brand. Backlog causes:
- Decreased Customer Satisfaction: 70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated, and feelings are highly subjective. For example, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important to customer service, and 60% of customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. So, an unresolved ticket in backlog for even 24 hours can affect how a customer feels about their experience and their satisfaction.
- Poor Brand Image: One unacceptable experience is enough to sink your brand in the customer’s eyes. In fact, roughly 50% of customers say they would switch to a new brand after one bad experience. Not responding to a customer’s ticket in a timely manner can create a bad experience, which can cause your company to lose customers.
5 Common Causes of Unresolved Ticket Backlog
So how do you avoid unresolved ticket backlog? First, you have to understand what causes it before you can figure out how to prevent it. Let’s look at some of the five most common causes.
1. Increases in Customer Contacts
The more customers that contact your call center, the more tickets you’ll have to respond to outstripping your team's ability to handle them in a timely fashion. In general, this is a resourcing issue.
2. New Products or Services
Whenever you launch a new product or service, you can expect a spike in call center tickets. This increase in tickets will eventually slow down but you have to survive the surge without a long backlog.
3. Ticket Routing
Not every ticket can be resolved by every agent. Some agents are better at handling certain customer issues compared to others. Incorrectly prioritizing and routing tickets can increase the length of time it takes to be resolved. This ultimately leads to backlog and is becomes a workflow issue.
4. Technical, Partner, and Product Issues
There are many issues outside of the control of the contact center, but these issues will directly impact your agents' workload.
- When a system breaks down, customer support tickets automatically increase, and you may not be able to help customers without the help of IT.
- Issues with shipping partners, technology partners, and fulfillment partners can create tickets that you’re not equipped to handle.
- When a product/service creates excess tickets, you need to know which product is having the problem and what the problem is so you can route appropriately.
It’s about having the ability to read all tickets—even these “other” ones—and forward the information appropriately to prevent your backlog from getting out of control.
5. Knowledge or Training
Lastly, sometimes tickets go unresolved because there are few individuals equipped to answer the problem. This means the ticket has to wait for someone who can handle it. Lack of training and knowledge is a common cause of backlog. And to fix the issue, you have to first know when and where agents struggle to know where improvement is needed.
How to Manage Unresolved Tickets with AI Text Analytics
To manage and handle backlog you would need to be able to categorize the content of all your customer support tickets. You would need to read and understand all tickets and be able to triage the cause of the backlog. The problem is that the reason you are backlogged is, that you do not have the time or manpower to read every ticket and route them as needed.
That’s where AI text analytics is invaluable. It is a direct investment into helping you improve resolution times and customer satisfaction by taking work off of the plate of your agents. It does this by automatically reading and analyzing all of the tickets in your backlog to provide in-depth insights.
These insights can tell you that “50% of your ticket spike is due to a shipping partner issue.” From there, you can route those tickets to the appropriate person or department to be handled. You can even work to prevent future tickets about the same issue by having your sales team talk to customers or asking your IT team to update the website with new information.
Or you might find out that “40% of tickets are due to a new product release.” In this case, it will be important to make sure your contact center agents have the training needed to discuss the new product update and provide insight. It’s a great opportunity for cross-training with the product team.
Use AI Text Analytics to Speed Ticket Resolution
AI text analytics provides highly accurate and reliable insights into ALL of your customer support tickets. It helps you automatically dig down into the causes of your backlog and take the necessary steps to resolve tickets as quickly as possible. It’s all about triaging where your contact center agent’s time is being spent and why—in real-time—so you can get down to the business of answering tickets fast.
With text analytics, you have the ability to discover problems that you didn’t know about and keep up with trends in both high- and low-ticket volume. This way you can make adjustments before they become a problem for your brand. It’s the best of all worlds.