Addressing customer issues as quickly as possible is a must to ensure retention. 45% of consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not quickly addressed. Improving average resolution time (ART) is associated with customer satisfaction and retention. The quicker you resolve customer issues, the more satisfied they will be.
The resolution time is very important for your customers because their time is valuable to them. It is better to resolve their issue within a few hours after calling your customer service rather than a few days later. 61% of consumers define excellent customer support interaction as one with a quick resolution. The overall customer service depends on how fast you can resolve issues. Improving average resolution time can make or break your customer experience. So here’s how you can lower your ART and boost customer satisfaction.
Improving Average Resolution Time
- Train Agents For De-escalation Techniques
- Route Tickets Intelligently
- Standardize Support Processes
- Minimize Waiting Times
- Automate Repetitive Actions
- Offer Self-Service
- Improve Soft Skills
- Engage with Customers Proactively
- Monitor and Track Performance
Improving Average Resolution Time
Quickly resolving customer issues should be one of your top priorities. When customers come to you, they want a quick resolution of their query or complaint. Thus, it is important for you to improve your average resolution time. Here’s a guide on how you can lower your average resolution time and continue satisfying your customers.
1. Train Agents For De-escalation Techniques
De-escalation techniques help agents ease negative emotions to prevent conflict escalation for prompt resolution of complaints, especially of irate customers. Sometimes customers are aggressive due to frustration about a product or service. As these are unavoidable circumstances, it is important for agents to learn de-escalation techniques to help customers calm down.
In de-escalation training, agents learn how to handle different magnitudes of customer complaints. In addition, it addresses the different tones of voices, sentence structure, and others. Sometimes escalation can get out of hand and supervisors can feel overwhelmed handling escalated calls.
More importantly, de-escalation provides agents with some important skills like empathy, active listening, streamlining the resolution process, and achieving customer satisfaction. De-escalation involves recognizing and assessing the situation, responding calmly, empathic listening, and showing respect.
2. Route Tickets Intelligently
Sometimes the delay in resolution time is due to the ticket not going to the right person or team. While it usually happens behind the scenes, it plays a crucial role in driving customer satisfaction. It can affect other metrics like first response time, first contact resolution rate, and general resolution rate.
On the other hand, a misrouted ticket can lead to frustration and will surely decrease customer satisfaction. When their ticket is routed from one department to another before being handled by the right department, it could impact the overall customer experience. It wastes a lot of time which could have been saved if the ticket was routed to the right department in the first place.
Give agents the right technology for intelligent ticket routing. Tickets should be routed to an agent with sufficient knowledge of the issue at hand. Routing tickets properly can help reduce your agents’ workload and ensure efficient and exceptional customer experiences. They can also have free time for more interesting and value-generating activities.
3. Standardize the Support Process
One of the biggest challenges that businesses face in trying to reduce their average response time is the lack of standards in the support process. Most of the time, agents have their own approach to resolving customer issues. This makes it difficult to optimize the average resolution time. This is where having a standard support process will come in handy.
To overcome this challenge, it is important for your business to establish a standard procedure for handling customer issues. You need to make sure that your agents follow a standard procedure for resolving customer issues. When agents follow a standard procedure, it will be much easier for them to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.
Start off by creating a list of the processes that you need to standardize. This will serve as a guide that will define the standards that need to be followed by your team. The list should include customer greeting as well as the attitudes your agents should be exhibiting while handling specific complaints.
4. Minimize Waiting Times
Customers don’t like to wait because they do not have the luxury of time. Also, they would not want to waste their time glued to their screens with a customer support agent. Decreasing waiting time can help a great deal with reducing your average resolution time. There are certain factors you need to assess and eliminate in order for your team to respond to issues as quickly as possible.
In your customer support, you should adopt the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of calls should be answered within 20 seconds. If your team is finding it difficult to achieve this target, consider utilizing technology to help out your agent. You can use chatbots or live chat to handle the queue.
Remove inefficiencies or bottlenecks that may extend the waiting time. Doing this can help shave a few seconds or even minutes of waiting time. Another great way to minimize waiting time is to keep them preoccupied while they wait. For in-person support, for example, you can add interactive screen games or provide free WiFi access.
5. Automate Repetitive Actions
Doing the same task over and over again can be time-consuming and inefficient. You can free your support from doing these repetitive tasks so they can focus more on critical issues and reduce their average response time. There are many actions you can automate to save the time of both your team and customer. There are several actions that you can consider automating such as:
- Parsing emails
- Sending ticket updates to customers
- Assigning tickets to the right team
- Getting real-time notifications for every ticket action
- Escalating unresponded tickets
Repetitive actions can be annoying and can also harm your work performance. It can lead to undue stress on your support team and make your job seem more boring or lackluster than it actually is. A survey conducted by UIPath revealed that agents waste four and a half hours weekly on automatable tasks.
In addition, data shows that repetitive tasks can drain creativity from employees. In addition, 70 percent of managers have less time for strategic initiatives due to an excess of manual, repetitive work. A McKinsey data revealed that 43 percent of respondents believe that if some duties were automated, they would feel more innovative with their teams.
6. Offer Self-Service
Self-service options have seen an increase over the last few years. Encouraging customers to find solutions to problems on their own can be an effective way of quickly resolving customer issues. According to the Harvard Business Review, 81% of all customers attempt to take care of issues themselves before reaching out to a live representative across industries. 40% of customers will contact an agent after trying to serve themselves. Self-service options come in many forms:
- Knowledge base. 91% of customers say they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. You can create articles on all common topics and use tags to categorize them. Create a centralized repository of information about your products and services. A knowledge base can help with simple service requests so customer support can move to handle more complex tickets.
- AI-Powered Chatbots. Chatbots are growing in popularity, usage, and reach. One study revealed that 88% of customers had at least one conversation with a chatbot within the past year. Chatbots can provide quick answers to the most common questions. More importantly, they can help reduce the number of tickets you can receive on a daily basis.
Gone are the days when the only option for customers to reach an agent was to contact a hotline number. 40% of customers now prefer self-service over human contact and 73% prefer to use a company website instead of social media, SMS, and live chat. Unfortunately, 55% of customers find using self-service a challenge. So make sure that your self-service portal is easy and convenient to use.
7. Improve Soft Skills
With AI-powered chatbots now more popular than ever, you would think that computer proficiency is no longer applicable. This is not the case, however, in the field of customer service. Learning computer skills can help you in the process of helping customers. By being computer proficient, you can perform your job better and provide more services to customers.
Computer proficiency can help you become more organized. In addition, it can help with multitasking, time management, and tracking client information. You can use computer skills to take down interactions which can help minimize errors and improve customer satisfaction. Computer skills can help expedite efficient customer service.
Computer skills are necessary for the easy manipulation of business software. It can help you sign documents online, easily find reports, manage contacts and projects, and others. In today’s digital age, computer skills become an indispensable tool for providing a swift and timely response to customer issues.
8. Engage With Customers Proactively
Being proactive in handling customer issues is another great way of reducing average resolution time. Proactive engagement means reaching out to customers before they become frustrated or tickets are escalated. Customers nowadays are looking for agents to engage with them proactively. Sadly, a Gartner survey revealed that only 13% of customers have received some kind of proactive customer service.
Proactive engagement means communicating with customers on their preferred communication channels. Armed with customer data, look for the channel where they engage the most and meet them there. Check-in with the customers and make sure that everything is fine with them. This is an often overlooked step that can help increase customer engagement.
Shifting to proactive from reactive engagement can lead to more valuable customer conversations, more leads, increased conversion rates, and increased revenues. Monitor accounts to make sure that your data is relevant and accurate. Monitoring will help you thoroughly understand your customer and how they use your products and services.
9. Monitor and Track Performance
By keeping tabs on your average resolution time, you will be able to identify areas for improvement and you can implement the right strategy for optimizing your resolution times. You do not want to be understaffed during peak periods as it will affect their ability to quickly resolve issues.
Monitor the ticket volume in order to determine slow and busy periods. This will help ensure that your support team will be able to cover the number of inquiries during that period. Compare the number of active and resolved issues. Ideally, you want the number of active issues to be shorter than the list of resolved ones.
An important factor you need to track is the rate of escalation in complaints. A steady and minimal flow of complaints is completely normal and is a sign of a healthy business. However, an increase in the number of complaints is not healthy at all and indicates that there might be a problem. This is an important metric to track and reduce to ensure customer satisfaction.
Improving average resolution time influences customer satisfaction. The quicker you resolve issues, the happier they will be, and the more they will keep doing business with you.
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