19 Apr 3 Reasons For Improper Ticket Closing in Customer Support
Documented customer complaints have been around since, well since the first record of one in 1750 BC (which was much harder a complaint to make than sending an email). Closed tickets are happy customers. Or are they? Just like a fast moving deli counter, it’s true that the faster tickets are closed the better CSAT tends to be. However, this is only true if the customer issue is actually answered. Improper ticket closing gets in the way of not only CSAT, but other reporting as well. Here are three reasons for improper ticket closing.
“Okay” is an example of vague language used to close a ticket. “That’s fine” is another one. Businesses can’t control the language of customers, but they can train agents to use clear language and ask questions to clarify customer intent.
Let’s use the analogy of the old-fashioned-but-still-in-existence deli counter. Whether digitally, or by classic paper dispenser, customers take a number at the deli and may even put in their order in advance. The details are important: which item, how much of that item, in what style and in what order.
Jay and Nickey may have both put an order in for sliced mesquite turkey. When the deli attendant shouts “turkey” and puts the package on the counter there’s the possibility Nickey may get Jay’s thin sliced pound. Which would be disappointing for Jay because he was there first and a quarter pound of thick sliced won’t last a day in his house.
Clarity is important. Lack of it dumps the work on the customer to figure out what went wrong and where their answer is. Unlike the deli counter, customers aren’t usually standing next to each other able to compare their service results.
Companies can give agents closing language to use to ensure the customer issue has been satisfactorily addressed before the ticket is closed. Including the opportunity for additional questions and inviting them to to reach out again if needed doesn’t hurt either:
“Did that solve your issue?”
“Do you have any further questions?”
“Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“I’m going to close your ticket. Thank you for contacting us. Please contact us again if you have any other problems.”
Ensuring that the customer issue has been addressed from the customer’s perspective prevents some improper ticket closing.
Attempt to Improve AHT or Other Metrics
Agents and their managers want good metrics and no backlogs. An agent under pressure to perform well numerically may push to close a ticket before the customer issue is actually taken care of. They can do this by vague language as mentioned above. It’s also possible that they put off a hard to solve issue or difficult customer hoping that the customer gives up. Then they can close a ticket due to no response within a predefined amount of time.
However, companies want actual happy customers, not just the appearance of them. There is little point in closing a ticket just for it to be reopened or another to be opened because the issue isn’t solved. This might move the issue from one agent’s desk to another, but it’s costly to the business.
More agent hours logged for what is essentially the same customer complaint and lowered CSAT isn’t worth the temporary bump in AHT scores.
Back to our deli: if they’ve run out of lacey swiss cheese, substituting regular swiss without letting the customer know will not make the customer happy. Maybe they’ll just take their cheese buying needs elsewhere next time, complain to a manager or take it as a universal sign to swear off cheese. The point is, pulling a move on customers does not build loyalty. Just the opposite.
Make sure the customer service emphasis is on satisfaction, not just speed metrics. Competitions and rewards for high performance can be motivating for agents. But if the means of achieving them cause impersonal or ineffective service, no one really wins.
Improper ticket closing can also happen by accident (and sometimes cause a lot of extra work). An agent can handle the wrong ticket.
Unintentional miscommunication is another accidental cause. Example: A customer initiates a ticket because they don’t have access to a feature in their SaaS that they need. They are issued a credit and the ticket is closed. However, they still didn’t get what they wanted, which was access to a feature, not a credit. That’s a miscommunication resulting in improper closing.
Wrong inputs are also a problem. Ticketing systems are meant to make the complex issue of customer queries organized and manageable. To do this the information for each ticket needs to be filled out accurately so that it can be identified, routed and followed to conclusion. At the deli counter Mr. Chen doesn’t want Mrs. Freschetti’s mortadella when he ordered roast beef.
Reduce ticketing problems by simplifying workflows. When agents have to move between multiple screens and/or tools it not only delays the closing it invites errors.
Too many tag options also cause problems. Agents are often too busy to sift through an epic list of tags. They’ll likely use common ones even if they aren’t the best fit on the list. This can create reporting issues for managers. Consider automatic tagging with the option for agents to add tags when needed, or reducing the tag list.
Give agents the tools that can prevent improper closing. CSAT.AI uses generative AI to create synopses of interactions reinforcing what agents do well and supporting them where they need improvement. It also provides prompts to ensure customer queries are answered and patented metrics analysis.
Now, that’s a nice sandwich.