Support ticketing systems have long been a foundational aspect of the helpdesk. They allow agents to collaborate, prioritise and manage every support query they receive.
Now, we’ve entered an age suffused with real-time conversation and fast resolutions. More customer contact channels allow for live communication, instant gratification or speedy service. As a result, traditional support ticketing systems have had to step up their game.
But has the faced-paced nature of technology left support tickets lacking some of their initial sparkle? Support ticket systems nowadays aren’t always viewed in a favourable light. So, what does this mean for customer service teams?
The declining need
The thing is, there’s less need for support tickets. Popular customer support channels are designed to help agents resolve customer issues as and when they connect.
For example, live chat software lets agents work with the customer to resolve an issue in real-time. Email parsers let agents get right to the issue and respond with the most helpful information. Social media lets agents address multiple customers with a common issue all in one go.
Plus, the rise of the internet has allowed businesses to operate at all hours, worldwide. Customer support is following suit, increasingly looking to become an accessible 24/7/365 service. When a customer contacts a business for support, they expect someone there to answer. And when they answer, they don’t need to make a ticket to help the customer.
In short, customers can reach agents more easily, and agents can solve issues right away. There’s no need for either party to open support tickets.
The changing desire
Not only is the need for ticketing systems declining, but so too is the desire to use them. Customers and agents alike are less and less likely to opt for a support ticket option if there’s another choice available.
It’s possible that these systems have simply been killed by overuse. As the support ticketing system has grown to encompass new technology, it’s become awash with features and functionality. So much so, in fact, that the usability of ticketing systems has taken a hit.
Far from providing an efficient, unified customer service base, ticketing systems have become overrun with excess tools. Often, all these tools do is create a cluttered user interface for agents.
And it isn’t any better for customers. Support ticketing systems act as a gatekeeper to helpful, conversational service. Rather than connecting to support, and getting stuck into finding a solution, customers must sit tight and wait out their issues. Instead of getting empathetic, useful support, support tickets relegate customers to a number. That doesn’t exactly scream accessibility.
We’re in the age of immediate support and instant gratification. Technology has placed conversation, accessibility and quick support at the core of our customer service. They make for easy first-contact resolution — a core driver to customer satisfaction. In comparison, support tickets are slow, impersonal and inefficient.
What should be done about it?
What we’re seeing is a shift in what customers want and expect when they reach out to businesses. Customers are looking for fast, efficient, human support. They want conversation. They crave active help, validation, and resolutions. And, crucially, they expect all this on their schedule, not yours.
So, give your customers a choice of options when they need to reach you. Don’t assign customers a ticket number, engage them with conversation.
This might mean being more responsive on social media. It could mean having a live chat function readily available on your website. You could make a community forum available for your products or incorporate a chatbot to help with self-service. You could use automation to help you respond to every email in a timely manner. Or, you could extend your phone support accessibility.
This isn’t to say that support tickets are dead, however. Rather, it’s time they step out of the spotlight and into the background of our customer service strategy. Use them to keep track of a request after a conversation with your customer. Let them support your service, don’t make them the main event.
Manage conversations, not customers
The support ticket has had its heyday. When it comes to customers, conversation is key. We need to be providing quick responses with a friendly, personal touch.
‘Take a number and wait’ isn’t cutting it any longer. It’s time for support tickets to take the back seat, and let conversation drive your service.