When you work in customer support, efficiency is essential. Each day, as you sit down to your desk, you’ve got a queue of requests waiting, and that queue will continue to grow as the day progresses. If you aren’t on top of your game, those tickets turn into a backlog of angry customers. And that’s not good for anybody.
Research shows that the time it takes for customer service to contact a user is directly correlated to the positive or negative experience of the customer. To put it simply; the longer the response time, the angrier the customer. Agents who work the frontlines of support must be efficient in the way they approach their work to ensure that user needs are met as quickly as possible.
Here are 10 things you can implement into your routine that will increase your efficiency so that you can get back to everyone in the queue in a timely manner.
Establish a Routine
Establishing a routine is very important because it makes the work second nature. When you have a routine, it’s easier to settle into a flow each day. One great habit that will increase your efficiency is to always keep the same browser page tabs open in the same order (the ticketing system, the help doc, the administration area, etc.). This method increases speed since your eye and mouse will use muscle memory.
Macros will significantly increase your efficiency. Why write the same response over and over when with one keystroke you could have the response ready and waiting to be personalized? Your macros are like your utility belt – with one strike of a key you have a world of solutions literally at your fingertips.
One important thing to remember: ALWAYS personalize your response and make sure you’ve answered all aspects of the customer’s question. Don’t just assume a pre-written response will cut it.
For more on using Macros, check this blog post out: To Macro or to Not Macro: A Guide to Canned Responses
Check your Internal Support Documents first thing and ask questions
This goes along with establishing a routine but is so important we made it another tip. Every customer support team should have a set of internal support documents within their communication workflow that get updated regularly. One of those documents should be your Emerging Issues/Acknowledged Issues/Archived Issues document. This document is a detailed log of issues as they arise and as they are resolved. These issues should flow through your tables from emerging (new or arising issues) to acknowledged (known or common issues) to archived (resolved/fixed).
This is the first thing you should read when you come in so you’re up to speed on what’s happening. If there’s a new issue, you are now aware of the problem and also the solution to it so that when you get to a ticket that involves that problem, you already know what to do rather than having to comb through the document later or ask someone about it.
For more on communication workflows, check out this blog post: Developing a Communication Workflow
Do one thing at a time
Multitasking is not the answer. It takes your focus away from one task to the next and you never really end up doing any task well. Studies show that we are terrible at multitasking. It actually hurts your productivity. Researchers call this “switch cost” because switching from one task to the next breaks your focus and costs you time.
Make yourself accountable
Have you ever found yourself procrastinating that one ticket you just don’t feel like answering because you know it’s going to take a lot of research? First off, remember that there’s a human behind that ticket who is likely frustrated and needs a timely response. Second, try holding yourself accountable. Respond to that person immediately with a specific time and date that you will get back to them with an update. Now you can’t procrastinate finding an answer.
Use site blockers
If you find yourself distracted often throughout the day, use a site blocker to help keep you focused throughout the day. You don’t have to block social media sites all day long, but if you need to crank out some work, site blockers are a great way to help you stay focused.
Yes, you can (and need to) take breaks. Breaks have been proven to boost focus and productivity. Work hard for a few hours, then take 10 – 20 minutes off and do something totally different. This way when you get back you are not burnt and you can pick the next batch of tickets to wipe out.
Work groups of tickets
You don’t have to go in chronological order. In fact, it’s more productive to work groups of tickets. Use views and advanced search with keywords to logically organize a batch of user issues. Responding to tickets in this way requires less brain work. You will only be using a few macros and docs as opposed to picking from a large list.
Do something new
Every day do one genre of ticket you have never done before. It will force learning, and you will pick up skills that apply to areas of support you did not expect. In the long run this makes you more efficient by rounding out your base skill set and knowledge.
All of these tricks are easy to implement and will definitely increase your efficiency. Getting back to the customer in a timely manner is of utmost importance and thus being efficient is key. What tricks do you use? We’d love to hear from you!