2. Prevent email from becoming snail mail
Even though email removes the pressure of instantaneous response, replies still need to be timely. According to Toister Performance Solutions, 88% of customers expect a response to their emails in one hour, and 30% expect a response in under 15 minutes.
But when you look at the reality of how most customer response teams are performing, it’s clear that the vast majority are missing the mark. According to SuperOffice, the average response time from respondents was around 12 hours – and that wasn’t taking into account the 62% that admitted they didn’t even respond to support emails at all.
When it comes to email support, the customer should dictate the overall speed of the conversation – it should never be hindered by an agent’s lack of timely responsiveness. Use fast email times as an opportunity to set your team apart, and keep a competitive response metric top of mind.
- Tagging and filtering
- Automatic routing
- Auto follow-up
- Canned messages
The beauty of sending incoming emails through a ticketing system is that it makes workflow management much easier. Intuitive workflows don’t just make it easier for agents to solve problems – these tidy resolutions can also be accomplished much faster.
Tagging and filtering tickets allows teams to create a system that flags incoming emails based on inquiry type, inbound channel, and other criteria that fit your business. This helps you quickly sort through your support queue and establish better workflows, leading to faster resolution times. With tagging and filtering, you can organize tickets in a way that allows agents with relevant experience and departmental knowledge to handle higher-level requests, prioritizing your specialized labor where it’s most effective. This keeps all emails, no matter the difficulty, moving quickly.
But it’s not just about categorizing messages – distributing them quickly and effortlessly amongst agents is another key to keeping email exchanges quick. Automatic routing assigns email messages to agents or teams automatically, establishing instant and clear ownership of tickets and eliminating the need for managers to manually distribute requests based on their tags or even key words used in the subject.
If the initial routing criteria are not met, emails can be allocated based on secondary criteria, helping ensure that no emails fall through the cracks. For example, let’s say your incoming sales emails are set to automatically route to the last representative who corresponded with that customer. If that representative is unavailable, the email will be automatically routed according to a secondary rule so that another capable representative can quickly pick up where they left off.
Even over email, some issues are more time-sensitive than others. Although automatic routing removes the need for manual intervention, managers can enter into the system at any time to assign tickets priorities that go beyond the standard SLA times. By flagging certain high-prioritiy inquiries as “urgent,” you can highlight key requests that need to be tended to right away, and ensure that it gets done.
Not all issues are immediately solvable, but that doesn’t mean that customers will want to wait on a response. Auto follow-up allows you to send predefined messages automatically to customers, saving agents time and increasing efficiency. Auto follow-up can be used to communicate to a customer that their issue has been received, is being worked on, or that a particular agent is out of the office and a slight delay is expected. These messages keep customers in the loop automatically, with no action needed from a busy live agent.
Another point of consideration for increasing email efficiency is providing tools that can speed up the writing process for agents. Your agents are sending out hundreds to thousands of messages a day – just like with live chat, you can speed up the process and lower fatigue with canned messaging. This provides agents with a library of pre-written messages designed to target the most common use cases for your customers.
A star performance amongst your agents one day doesn’t mean much if there’s never a repeat. To send emails out quickly, you must be able to sustain operational momentum. Reporting helps you keep track of how your team is performing in terms of ticket and case management. The reporting tool instantly generates reports on performance-related variables such as how quickly tickets are being handled, which can be segmented by agent, department, and even email address.
This invaluable data can help you continue to experiment and innovate with email-handling protocol, and finding the most efficient system for your agents.