Customer service is only getting more and more difficult. Customers expect more from businesses than ever before, willing to pay for what they want. 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 the backlog and better handle ticket volume.
But first, let’s discuss the unresolved ticket backlog and how it happens.
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 the backlog with a resolution path, such as those asking for a new feature currently in development.
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 talented team to keep up with demand.
And as the 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 more significant potential damage to your brand. Backlog causes:
So how do you avoid unresolved ticket backlogs? First, you have to understand what causes it before figuring out how to prevent it. Let’s look at some of the five most common causes.
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.
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.
Every agent can resolve not every ticket. Some agents are better at handling specific 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 the backlog and becomes a workflow issue.
There are many issues outside of the control of the contact center, but these issues will directly impact your agents' workload.
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.
Lastly, sometimes tickets go unresolved because few individuals are 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 first to know when and where agents struggle to understand where improvement is needed.
To manage and handle the 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 you are backlogged because you do not have the time or workforce to read every ticket and route them as needed.
That’s where AI text analytics is invaluable. It is a direct investment in helping you improve resolution times and customer satisfaction by taking work off your agents' plates. It automatically reads and analyses 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 essential to make sure your contact center agents have the training needed to discuss the new product update and provide insight. It’s an excellent opportunity for cross-training with the product team.
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 can discover problems that you didn’t know about and keep up with high- and low-ticket volume trends. This way, you can make adjustments before they become a problem for your brand. It’s the best of all worlds.