Faster handling of your support requests

Published 2012-02-07 by Jochen Lillich

Yesterday morning, my work day started with 7 SMS alerts. They did not originate from an IT infrastructure outage, though. They were escalated support tickets from the weekend.

But let’s take one step back. We regularly ask our customers what we can improve to make their lives easier. Recently, the most common answer was “Shorter waiting times on support requests”. We analyzed our ticket resolution times and found that we needed not only to resolve support requests much faster but also to keep our customers better in the loop about the state of their issue. The latter gets especially important if a support requests needs extensive research or the involvement of a third party. And much too often, even small tasks took longer to resolve than necessary, mostly because the bigger ones drew all our attention.

So we went to work and built a ticket escalation process.

We created the role of the Ticket Dispatcher, whose responsibility it is that new tickets get assigned to a team member quickly. This role is assumed by our Sysadmin of the Day, the current on-call engineer. If a ticket doesn’t get assigned within an hour, it’s fed into our alerting system which means that its assignment is now handled as an operations incident, with SMS and phone alerts and all.

From now on, open tickets must be updated at least once in 24 hours. If this isn’t the case, the agent the ticket is assigned to gets notified. If they fail to update the ticket for another 24 hours, the ticket’s assignment is removed so another agent can take care of it.

In case we need customer feedback, the requester gets reminded twice that they need to provide additional information to get their issue resolved. If there’s no update after 7 days, the support agent is prompted to contact the customer directly and ask for the information needed.

We’ve introduced this new ticket escalation process a week ago and already, our ticket queue is shrinking rapidly. We still need to get used to the ticket alarms, but they’re proof that the process is working.

Providing great customer service is our main concern. We’d like to apologize for any unnecessary waiting times we’ve caused in the past and are optimistic that the new escalation process will help us eliminate them. Ticket by ticket.

What do you think? What else can we do to improve your support experience? Feel free to give us some feedback in the comments!