Customer support can be a tough job, but the building blocks of meeting your customer's expectations are actually pretty straightforward. Inquiries to your team should be resolved in an accurate and helpful way, and the faster you respond, the better. This isn't rocket science unless you're in the aerospace industry, then it might totally be rocket science. In that case, I really don't have any tips for you...
For the rest of us, there's a lot to pay attention to when looking at your ticket stats, but first reply time (FRT) is pretty high up there. In fact, our data team has found that decreasing FRT correlates with an increasing customer satisfaction rating (maybe not a jaw-dropping surprise).
In your Zendesk Support, FRT is calculated as the time between when a ticket was created to the time the first public comment from an agent is made on that ticket. If the ticket is solved without any public comment at all, it's considered a null value and doesn't contribute to your FRT metrics.
When you see that FRT start to tick up, definitely take notice, and take advantage of some of these tips to help tick it back down:
- Self Service. When your customers help themselves, you don't need to worry about FRT! Not sure how to start? Track top issues, and write articles based on those, and make sure agents are well-trained and refreshed on those topics. We've found that 72% of customers are going online to serve themselves ( infographic ), you should do your best to meet them there. Build up that Help Center, and make sure your agents are active there to quickly answer questions from your community.
- Trend or Outlier? Always take a look at your ticket volume when looking at changes to your first response. Have you had a big surge leading up to this metric workings it's way up? Start with the Overview and Efficiency tabs in your Insights project. The Reporting Overview can also give a pretty good visual indication of spikes in ticket volume. If you had a temporary surge from a new product launch or a major service incident, then this might not be a sign of a worrying trend. Even so, if you can predict these surges, that's a great time to bring a bit of extra help on board. Here at Zendesk, when we have a new product launch, we like to lasso in the responsible product team and developers to help out.
- Look at your support hours. Do you know when you get most of your tickets? Are you sure? A quick custom report in Insights using the "# Tickets" Metric and the "Hour Ticket Created" Attribute is a fast and easy way to make sure that you have support online and ready to go when your customers are. Thinking about making the jump to round-the-clock support? Have we got a white paper for you .
- Real-time support! Even if you're super fast at answering tickets, you can't beat live channels like Zendesk Chat and phone calls . Plus we've found that people really prefer using the phone to other channels when reaching out to a company's customer support (here's a sweet infographic ). How cool would it be to have a median FRT under a minute?
- Problems & Incidents. When something goes wrong, it's so critical to quickly ID and address emerging issues. Get back to your customers quickly, letting them know you're aware and working on a problem is key to turning something unfortunate into an opportunity to give them a positive experience interacting with your company. We use Problem & Incident ticket types extensively, so that we can get back to affected customers as fast as possible (here are some views/triggers we've setup to keep track of them), and also let them know when we've resolved an issue. It's a great and easy way for your agents to get an early jump on these tickets.