What’s the most crucial factor in building a successful business? It's a customer experience. When customers are happy, they are loyal. They don’t just buy, they talk about it and become brand advocates. In the software business, ticket escalation plays a significant role in delivering great customer experience. Poor ticket management often leads to delays, miscommunication, and frustration for the customer and for the company. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
The ticket escalation process involves escalating unresolved customer issues from one level of support to another. It ensures that the customer's needs are met promptly and efficiently. A well-defined escalation process helps in three ways: making customers happy by addressing complex issues, providing right support at the right time with skilled agents, and reducing waiting times.
Most of the traditional ticket escalation workflows are largely human-centric, leading to several challenges. Some of the major problems of manual ticket escalation management are:
Inefficiency: Inefficient ticket routing and assignment, resulting in longer resolution times.
More errors: Increased human errors, affecting the quality of customer support.
Poor visibility: Lack of visibility into the status of escalated tickets, causing frustration among customers and support agents.
Communication silos: Inadequate communication and collaboration between support teams, hindering swift issue resolution.
Automation and AI are changing the way we deliver customer support. Technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and robotic process automation (RPA) are making ticket escalation management more seamless. These technologies enable organizations to streamline ticket routing, reduce human errors, and enhance collaboration.
Some of the popular automated ticket routing and assignment systems are Zendesk, Freshdesk, ServiceNow, Zoho Desk, and Salesforce Service Cloud.
Initial ticket triage is the process of assessing, categorizing, and prioritizing incoming customer support tickets. It helps quickly determine the urgency, complexity, and relevance of each ticket and route to the most appropriate support agent or team for resolution. Using AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, support teams can achieve faster streamlining of tickets.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants help in three ways: Instantly engaging with customers, routing tickets to the most suitable support agents or teams, and resolving simple issues giving human agents more time to focus on complex issues.
The more independent the customer, the happier they are. Self-service options and knowledge base integration empower customers to resolve their issues independently, reducing the need for ticket escalations. Common self-service methods that most software-driven companies use are interactive FAQs and help centers, community forums and discussion boards, and video tutorials and walkthroughs.
When a customer submits a ticket regarding a specific product issue, smart routing algorithms assess the content and context of the ticket, identifies the product in question, and determines the complexity of the issue. Based on this analysis, the algorithm then routes the ticket to the most suitable agent with the necessary expertise in that particular product.
Smart ticket routing ensures that the ticket is handled by an agent who is best equipped to resolve the issue promptly and effectively. Examples of smart routing algorithms:
Skill-based routing: Assigning tickets to agents based on their expertise and skill set.
Language-based routing: Directing tickets to agents proficient in the customer's preferred language.
Load balancing: Distributing tickets evenly among available agents to avoid overburdening certain team members.
With predefined criteria and business rules, support teams can establish escalation protocols to ensure that tickets are escalated appropriately. Escalations are generally made on the basis of turnaround time (TAT), SLA or complexity of tickets.
Collaboration tools facilitate efficient communication and information sharing among support teams, enhancing ticket escalation processes. Collaboration tools used widely among support teams are Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Trello.
One of the biggest worries in customer support, apart from the sheer volume of tickets, is the number of channels generating tickets. That’s why integrating various communication channels, such as email, phone, live chat, and social media, becomes crucial. It ensures a unified approach to ticket handling and escalation. This integration helps provide consistent support across all channels, which in turn reduces response times and enhances customer satisfaction.
Channel integration enables agents to access ticket history and context more effectively. By combining different communication channels, businesses can create a more cohesive and efficient support process that caters to customer needs and preferences, regardless of the channel they choose to reach out.
Automated ticket escalation streamlines the escalation process, boosting overall efficiency and shortening resolution times. This approach results in key advantages such as improved agent productivity, minimized customer wait times, and enhanced support quality.
For instance, consider an online retail company that uses an AI-powered chatbot to handle customer inquiries. When a customer contacts the company regarding a shipment delay, the chatbot quickly gathers the relevant information and provides an accurate status update. This way, the customer gets a faster response and is happy about the service.
Implementing a new system comes with its challenges. During implementation, leaders generally face challenges like: resistance to change among support agents, ensuring data security and privacy, and integrating with existing systems and processes.
Define clear objectives and KPIs for your automation initiatives.
Involve stakeholders early in the decision-making process.
Choose a scalable and flexible automation platform.
Monitor and optimize your automated processes regularly.
Models like ChatGPT are causing a disruption in the way businesses operate by revolutionizing the field of generative AI. In the near future, generative AI models can perform predictive analytics to resolve issues proactively. In the case of heavy machinery industries like manufacturing and mining, the convergence of AI and IoT can improve technical support experiences. Continuous improvement through machine learning and feedback loops will enable autonomous ticket resolution in the near future.
The future of technology is personalization – we’re already seeing it come true in several functions, especially sales and marketing. Across industries, we can expect to see these changes in ticket management:
Widespread adoption of AI-powered tools and chatbots
Increased reliance on self-service options
The evolution of ticket escalation processes to provide more personalized customer experiences
AptEdge is a cutting-edge, AI-driven solution designed to automate and streamline your ticket escalation process. By leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning, AptEdge enables automatic routing and assigning tickets. It empowers faster resolution with AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants.
The AptEdge platform continuously learns from user interactions and feedback, optimizing the ticket escalation process over time. By implementing advanced solutions like AptEdge, organizations can streamline ticket handling, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance the overall efficiency of their customer support operations.