Common Customer Support Problems and What To Do

Jun 30, 2022

Escalations out of control?

‍Ticket queue overflowing with no end in sight?

‍Does the list of frustrated customers grow by the day?

‍Are one or all three of these happening lately? Maybe it’s an anomaly, but it could also be a signal there’s something off with your product (or support.)

‍Let's be honest: spotting the right trends and patterns when combing through support data is hard. It’s slow, it’s arduous, and if you’re growing faster than you can say ___ it can be easy to overlook important indicators. Before you know it you’re bogged down with heavy queues and bewildered customers popping up left and right. And the more you grow or the faster you scale?

‍Expect to see support cases on the rise.

‍Let’s get ahead of it before we get ahead of ourselves?

‍Here are some signs to keep your eyes on that may need fixing:

  1. High ticket volume [for the same topics]

‍Tracking tickets-per-topic is all about the quality of your taxonomy (taxonomy = the system of classification. We're taking it back to biology 101 here!) 

‍This metric will say as much as a mime does if tags and categories are confusing, or worse – if tickets are left completely uncategorized. 

‍With the proper classification, ticket spikes on the same topic are a symptom of: 

  • Hard-to-grasp UI (user interface) of a particular feature

  • Having an outdated or confusing knowledge base

  • Repeated bugs that engineering has to address

The key? Make sure the categories aren’t too broad. 

  1. Long time to first response

Making your customers wait for a reply as long as a Disneyland ride line? … Then you might be in trouble. No one likes to wait – so don’t make them.

‍If you’re seeing customer satisfaction drop: check in on your team’s response times. Are they slow? Are tickets not being prioritized properly?

‍Even if this doesn’t look all that serious right now, response times and making customers wait is a slippery slope. The longer they wait, the higher their frustration becomes, and higher frustration over time means two (potential) things:

‍Churn and trust gets broken.

Focus on introducing self-serve support with things like updated knowledge bases, proactive customer communications around new features, or building community around the product.

  1. Speed of resolution

‍How’s your support team’s relationship with product? How are the two teams working together and knowledge sharing between themselves?

‍If that process is broken, we promise you – your speed to resolution’s probably too long.

Option 1: if it takes too long for a customer to get routed to the right rep

Option 2: it takes too long for a rep to find the answer inside scripts, documents, systems, and the other 100 other places they could look to find it.

‍Compare the time-to-resolution metric to the number of escalations and number of reps involved.

‍Why does all of this matter? Because no one wants to explain their problem several times over and over and over again. Make sure it’s documented well, shared to the right team members, and communicated effectively with the customer.

‍If customers are having to re-explain constantly, you might want to dive into your triage process. 

  1. A backlog that never quits

‍How can you know when your backlog is, well, too backlogged? There’s no universal benchmark for what a healthy backlog looks like and keeping it empty is hardly realistic.

‍Maybe you’re shipping new features and products quickly or onboarding several new customers at once – whatever it is, you’re going to see spikes in the number of tickets that come through the queue.

Find your baseline; that way, when tickets start to overflow it’ll be a clear signal to automate the process or scale the team.

  1. Customer frustration is high

‍For some teams, monitoring customer frustration is a daily task; it’s done in real-time and not just in occasional surveys.

‍But where are the patterns? … Are you seeing customer frustration peak in once specific part of the product? Could be time to do some additional trainings or knowledge articles for customers.

‍Is customer frustration high across all topics? If so, maybe it’s time to train your reps with more soft skills.

The more you can gauge your customer’s temperature – the more you can take the next step to solve for it.

  1. Support and product are not the same

‍Is your support team handling issues that are product bugs? Dealing with the same issues over and over again is going to frustrate your customers, but pinging internal teams with the same bug reports from customers is going to be frustrating for your reps.

‍Support reps cannot fix product bugs themselves! Work with your teams to create boundaries around this process.

‍The solution here is to track the right metrics and show how they affect costs and ROI (Return on Investment.)

‍What metrics speak for itself? Cost per interaction combined with the number of bug reports.

  1. Opinions and finger pointing

‍For every issue, the goal is to find a root cause – but there’s a thin line between looking for a cause and looking for someone to blame. 

‍Support blames product, developers blame support, and the blame wheel keeps turning and the most unfortunate part? Everyone’s really just trying to figure out WHAT’S happening.

‍The only thing to do at this point is shift our mindset.

Switch from a battle of opinions to focus on clear numbers and trends.

‍Remember: it comes down to everyone working together as a team to solve the problem.

‍Which of these issues are you experiencing (if any?)

‍If you’re noticing one or more coming up – Stylo might be to able to help!