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There’s a lot to be said about the impact of great customer support on a company’s growth and success. Perhaps many would even argue that today, quality customer support is more important than the products and services a company provides – because ultimately, products are only worth as much as how they make customers feel. And how customers feel is hugely dependent on how you treat them.
It’s no secret that good customer service can do wonders for a company. It can turn displeasure into delight, and indifference into passion. But a commitment towards customer-centricity is only one aspect of providing great customer support. The other, and the more important one is investing in the right tools and creating the right process for handling customers’ feedback, questions and complaints efficiently and empathetically.
And that’s where an email ticketing system can help. It’s a cost-effective and robust solution for companies to realize their goal of delivering impeccable customer support in a manner that’s both sustainable and scalable. In this comprehensive guide, we first learn what an email ticketing system is and then delve into the specifics.
We understand the importance of an email ticketing system, its key features, the factors you should consider before investing in one, and how different teams within your organization can benefit from deploying such a system.
Simply put, an email ticketing system ensures that customer request emails are answered in a timely and effective manner.
While it's okay to use regular email to handle customer requests in the beginning, as your business scales, it becomes unsustainable. Your customer support team will have to juggle customer queries and bulky email threads, with no way to track high priority requests. The result? Missed customer emails, angry customers, and an overworked support team.
An email ticketing system presents a simple solution for this.
Modern email ticketing software have superpowers such as automation, tagging, reporting, and analytics, to help you deliver stellar customer support. While your customer support team focuses on providing friendly and human experiences, your email ticketing system does the heavy-lifting in the background.
Apart from providing customer support, an email ticketing system can also double up as a robust collaboration tool for teams such as Finance, Accounts, IT, Client Servicing as well as any remote team.
Modern helpdesk systems often include an expansive list of features, most of which tend to clutter the software. To get the most out of an email ticketing system, you'll only need the following features:
2. Email delegation
The email delegation feature allows managers to assign the responsibility of every incoming email to specific team members. Team members are notified in real-time, and the entire team is also aware of each other’s tasks. This ensures that everyone is always on the same page, and no emails are missed.Assign emails effortlessly
Instead of relying on external tools and apps to chat with teammates about a specific query, an email ticketing system lets you communicate within the app itself. Usually, this can be done with the help of private notes that appear alongside email threads. This allows team members to stay focused on their tasks and minimize the distractions that come with switching too many tools.Hassle-free internal collaboration
Email ticketing systems also allow you to automate mundane tasks with ease. For example, you can assign emails with the word “billing” to that agent on your team who handles finances. You can also use the round-robin assignment feature in email ticketing systems to ensure that customer support emails are assigned equally among active team members.Automate your email workflows
5. Collision alerts
Collision alerts is another important feature in an email ticketing system which prevents team members from sending duplicate and sometimes even conflicting responses to customer queries. Every time a team member starts replying to an email someone is already working on, they get notified of the same. This way, teams can avoid embarrassing situations where their customers receive two or more email responses for the same query.Avoid email accidents
6. Email categorization
In email ticketing systems, tags are the default way to categorize and filter emails based on specific predefined conditions. These could include type of query (marketing, finance, IT), customer type (if you want to prioritize emails from paid customers), departments in your organization, or various teams in a specific department.Organize emails for efficiency
7. Reporting and Analytics
An email ticket system also helps you track your entire team’s conversations, First Response and Average Resolution Times. You can even track team members’ individual performance, workload, and CSAT scores. At a glance, you can see who your top performers are, and who are the ones that need assistance or training.Measure team performance
8. CSAT surveys
Soliciting and implementing customer feedback is one of the most sure-shot ways to deliver memorable customer experiences. And email ticketing systems that offer CSAT surveys can help make the feedback collection process incredibly simple. According to Hiver’s recent Customer Service Benchmark survey report, 41% of support professionals say CSAT score is their team’s most important metric.
CSAT is one of the most popular customer service metrics today
You should send CSAT surveys to customers when they’re most likely to answer. For example, a quick single-question CSAT survey at the end of a customer interaction is more likely to get you the customer feedback you need, rather than a long-winded questionnaire in the midst of an ongoing support interaction.Get customer feedback quickly
9. Email Templates
Customer support agents repeatedly find themselves handling similar customer support requests. And that’s where email ticketing systems make their lives easier. They allow reps to create response templates for common customer queries and hence save them a lot of time and effort. Response times drop and customer satisfaction scores shoot up significantly.Templates for faster and better replies
There are a number of email ticketing systems out there and the process of choosing the right one for your team can be an overwhelming one. And if you're starting a new business, a free help desk or an email ticketing system with flexible pricing plans might be the obvious choice. But in the long run, making a hasty decision about your email ticketing system can cost you. That’s why, you must keep in mind the following factors before deploying one:
1. Ease of use
More often than not, email ticketing systems packed with too many features are messier and more complicated to use. What your team needs in a ticketing tool isn’t an overload of pointless features but the ease of use – the ability to accomplish basic tasks without jumping through multiple hoops, a clean and welcoming user interface, and easy access to key features. The easier your email ticketing system is to use, the more productive and efficient your team becomes.
2. The ability to drive human conversations
Most email ticketing systems turn customer conversations into “tickets'' in order to simplify email tracking. Typical customer support tickets are sent from impersonal company accounts such as “Customerservice[email protected]”, and tend to have the statement “Please type your reply above this line” at the beginning of an email.
Such emails often come across as transactional, and can end up making customers feel like they’re talking to robots, not people. Thus, it's important to choose an email ticketing system that makes your support emails appear friendly and personable to customers, just like any other emails they might receive.
3. Fast internal discussions
Oftentimes, customer support agents might need help on complex queries they’re working on or they might need to rope in experienced team members into conversations they think are worth their attention. Email ticketing systems that enable private and contextual messaging prevent teammates from juggling myriad communication apps, and get their work done faster.
4. The ability to gather customer feedback
It's important to consistently gauge what your customers think of your service quality. Are they impressed by your timeliness and ability to delight? Or are they disappointed due to your lack of empathy? The best way to find these answers is to ask customers a quick question at the end of each support interaction.
A good email ticketing system will allow you to insert a classic CSAT survey after every support query is resolved. This way, you constantly have a pulse on your customers’ sentiments.
Ways in which you can make customer surveys impactful
5. Data security
In today’s day and age, no company, big or small, is entirely immune to security breaches. As data collection mounts globally, so do the instances of hacking and security breaches. Therefore, your email ticketing system must take all possible measures to safeguard your team and your customers’ emails. Further, you must ensure that your email ticketing systems don’t store customer emails, or worse, sell them to third-party vendors for use.
6. Smooth onboarding
The best email ticketing systems don't require hour-long webinar sessions with the company’s reps to learn the software. They have intuitive in-app onboarding flows that get you up to speed as soon as you sign up.
Look for solutions where you can smoothly perform principal tasks such as creating replies, assigning emails to your team, and tracking their status with ease.
7. Easy scalability
While simplicity and ease of use are critical while choosing an email ticketing system, you should factor in the ease of scalability as well. Your business is a fledgling entity that will grow in a few years (or months).
To tackle a larger volume of conversations, both externally and internally, you need an email ticketing system that is customizable and keeps pace with your growing business. Be sure to check if a given software is used by large businesses, and whether their different pricing plans point to the size of teams that use it.
8. Seamless collaboration
It’s no secret that effective collaboration is key to keeping a team running smoothly. But what happens when your entire team is spread across the planet? One of the main challenges for remote teams is managing workflows and keeping everyone in sync with their duties and responsibilities. Without a proper tool, it becomes virtually impossible for a remote team to know what they are working on and how much time they have left to meet the SLA window.
To avoid these issues from cropping up, you must ensure that your email ticketing system allows everyone to keep a tab on each other's responsibilities and view the status of all incoming emails (pending, open, and unassigned). Furthermore, your email ticketing system must also allow your team members to have contextual discussions without having to switch between tools.
A lack of team collaboration can hugely impact long term business success
9. Automation capabilities
To streamline your team’s workflow and processes and remain organized, you need an email ticketing system that will help you automatically assign emails to your team members based on certain predefined conditions. For example, if you receive a new ticket from a new customer, you can program your email ticketing system to automatically assign that email to an available team member who handles support requests from new customers.
A good email ticketing system frees up your time and allows you to focus on other important tasks.
10. Tracking and reporting capabilities
An email ticketing system must help you track metrics such as number of conversations, time taken for first response, and number of resolved queries in a given period.
Generally, an email ticketing system will provide you with reports such as conversation reports, tag reports (filtering emails based on specific tags), and employee reports that help you quantify your team’s performance, while customer satisfaction reports help you to gauge the quality of customer support offered.
11. Organizing and tagging capabilities
Tagging is a great way to arrange your email inbox systematically – both for automations and just general organization. With email tags, you can quickly pull up relevant data, automate tasks based on those tags, and also view the performance of your team based on specific subjects.
There are several ways you can harness tags in an email ticketing system. For instance, if you’re using it to provide customer support, you can tag emails by urgency of request or type of query (product marketing, billing).
Customer service is the lifeline of any business and no longer is it considered the job of customer support teams alone. Given that all customers expect and value excellent and timely support, businesses that want to succeed must invest in robust and intuitive email ticketing systems rather than wasting hours sorting through their overloaded inboxes and, in turn, missing important customer emails.
Here are three of the biggest advantages of an email ticketing system:
Key reasons why you need to invest in an email ticketing system
1. It streamlines workflows
One of the most useful functionalities of an email ticketing system is its ability to streamline team workflows. Managers can automate the process of routing emails to team members and tagging them on the basis of query type or priority. They can even automate the process of ‘closing’ emails that don’t require the team’s attention. When workflows are streamlined and a lot of the grunt work is automated, teams can focus on doing the actual work rather than putting out fires.
2. It improves customer relationships
Email ticketing systems not only ease the workload of teams but also help foster meaningful customer relationships. When you provide timely, empathetic and helpful customer service, your customers are bound to stick with you for the long haul.They’re bound to refer you to their friends and family. For your business, this translates to sustained growth over a long period of time.
An email ticketing system like Hiver is especially designed to foster these long-term customer relationships. It ensures that every customer query works like a natural conversation between two individuals. Customers appreciate it when you treat them like humans and not ticket numbers.
3. It enhances productivity and efficiency
Email ticketing systems go a long way in organizing things for a team. When team members have well defined processes in place, the scope for error or delays gets reduced substantially. Only when everyone within the team has clarity on the team’s overall workload can they work together to provide customers remarkable service.
Additionally, the ability to monitor performance with the help of robust analytics and SLAs helps managers keep their team’s performance in check. It also helps them keep track of recurring client issues, so they can get to the root of those issues and make processes more efficient.
Three decades after it was launched, email still continues to be reinvented. Why? Because, even today, email dominates a vast majority of professional conversations. Customers prefer using email to reach out to companies for help, communication within teams flows through email, and thousands of formal, professional exchanges happen via email too.
Thus, it makes sense for companies to invest in a robust email ticketing system.
If you’re still on the fence about whether an email ticketing system is right for you, take a look at the different ways in which an email ticketing system can improve performance and processes for different teams:
1. Customer support teams
An email ticketing system neatly organizes customer queries in one central email inbox for all your support team members. From here, customer support executives can assign requests to others as well as track the status of each support request. The result? No more duplicate responses, or worse, missed customer emails.
For smooth collaboration, an email ticketing system also allows you to share private notes about customer emails, right alongside the original request. With automation and tagging, you can put repetitive tasks on auto-pilot, while the analytics capability helps you keep track of the overall performance of your team.How to manage customer conversations from Gmail
2. Finance teams
Purchase orders, bank statement reconciliation, and expense reimbursement often involve a string of email exchanges, which when not managed properly, can result in long email threads, missed conversations and subsequently, payment delays. The simple solution? A dedicated email ticketing system for your finance team.
Managers can quickly assign orders to teammates, automate recurring payments, and tag emails by type and level of priority. Team members can easily collaborate on different finance processes with the help of private notes. Thus, everyone is always on track with billing, reimbursements, and other payments.How can Finance teams deliver great customer service
3. Client servicing teams
Onboarding new clients is seldom a send-it-and-forget-it process. Often, it takes months of lengthy conversations over email to successfully onboard new B2B clients. Why not use an email ticketing system to organize your client communication in one place?
Incoming emails from clients can be turned into tasks for teammates and all client activities can be viewed as a single timeline. Teams can effortlessly collaborate without ever leaving their inbox. Finally, they can easily organize clients by type of work and size of client.How client servicing teams can build great relationships
4. IT teams
The term “help desk” evolved from a need for dedicated IT service desks. Evidently, IT help desks are busy with a wide swath of IT support requests on a daily basis such as broken systems, requests for access, asset requirements, and so on. An email ticketing system helps add structure to an overwhelming pile of emails for IT teams.
Each incoming IT support request is automatically assigned to members best suited to solve them, and the team is always in the know about the status of service requests. An email ticketing system also makes it easy to discuss service requests internally, without relying on external collaboration tools.Make your IT help desk super efficient with Hiver
5. Operations teams
Anyone building a successful operations team will attest to the fact that the lack of free-flowing communication is a major barrier to getting work done on time. Poor coordination within teams creates roadblocks and a lack of accountability due to which projects get delayed.
The email delegation feature in an email ticketing system can remarkably speed up your operations team. Teams have the option to automatically allocate work based on client priority, and track orders and invoices at a glance. What’s more, they can even share private notes about orders with each other.Learn how Operations teams manage emails with Hiver
Once you decide to invest in an email ticketing solution, it’s important to know exactly what you need to do in order to make the most of it. Here are some best practices to help you effectively manage your team’s email workflow and communication.
1. Automate what can be automated
One of the most effective ways for teams to increase productivity is through automation. You must therefore make the best of your email ticketing system by automating all of your grunt work so your team has more time to focus on important tasks at hand.
Some of the tasks that you can automate include assigning emails to team members, adding tags to incoming queries, using canned responses to respond to common email queries, etc.
Automations can help you respond to customers much faster and minimize human error, thereby ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction.
The auto-assign feature in Hiver can help teams enhance their productivity and efficiency
2. Define and configure SLAs
A Service Level Agreement or SLA is a contract between you and your customers to assure them that you’ll consistently meet or exceed their expectations with your customer service. Service-level agreements are based on both specific metrics and subjective impressions of quality.
SLAs can help in more ways than one. For one, they help establish specific guidelines for your team’s performance and service quality. What’s more, they go a long way in establishing a sense of trust and loyalty in your brand – the more certain your clients are about what they can expect from your company, the less likely it is for them to go elsewhere to get their needs met.
Therefore, it becomes extremely important that you clearly define and configure mutually agreed upon SLAs for your team. In case a team member is unable to meet the SLA targets, your email ticketing system will trigger a proactive escalation process based on how you program it.
SLA violation triggers in Hiver help you keep your team’s performance in check
3. Categorize and prioritize emails
Each day, your team will receive several emails of varying complexities and priority from different types of customers. Without properly categorizing and prioritizing emails, you’ll have all emails thrown into one giant bucket, causing a major information overload for your team. In the long run, this is a recipe for disaster.
For teams that handle huge volumes of emails, categorization and prioritization can prevent a really serious “red alert” ticket from getting buried under a slew of smaller issues. This way, your team members can give adequate time to address the issues that need addressing as opposed to getting caught up in all the noise.
Hiver Tags help you categorize your emails by type and priority
4. Keep track of data and insights
Data and analytics form an integral part of a team’s effective customer service strategy. After all, unless you have specific and actionable insights into how your team is performing, you’ll remain in the dark about the end customer experience.
A good email ticketing system gives you access to quality and performance reports that are easy to understand and share with other teams. This data not only gives you an insight into how your team is performing, but also what you can do to bridge gaps that exist in the customer experience.
Let’s say an analysis of your customer service data reveals that the average resolution time for email requests is nine hours. You can then work with your sales team to encourage customers to adopt self-service options like knowledge base. By reviewing support data on a regular basis, you can improve your team’s resolution speed, while freeing up internal resources to deal with more complex issues.
The analytics feature in Hiver gives you actionable insights into how your team is performing
5. Keep track of the customer experience
Lastly, and most importantly, you need to keep track of the customer experience. But do bear in mind that customer experience isn’t something you can easily measure with a single metric.
One of the most reliable tools to gauge the customer experience is customer surveys. Directly asking your customers how they feel about your service quality can give you some really useful insights into what's working and what’s broken in their journey with your brand.
Apart from surveys, closely monitoring all customer interactions will help you identify trends – good and bad – in the customer experience. A good email ticketing system will provide you with conversation reports to easily decipher these trends.
CSAT surveys in Hiver are a great way to keep track of the customer sentiment
If you're on the frontlines of a company, the hours can be long and the pressure to deliver high quality and timely customer service, relentless. While email can be a tough channel to manage, investing in a good email ticketing system can ease a lot of your burden and push you closer to the high standards of exceptional customer service (and all around effectiveness) your organization strives for.
And if you want to try out how an email ticketing system could work for your team, look no further than Hiver - the world’s first Gmail-based help desk software.
Schedule a demo with us today!