3 ways to reduce resolution time in Zendesk

Time to resolution is one of the key metrics in customer support. It refers to the time it takes for a support request to be resolved – from the moment a customer submits an issue to the moment it is successfully addressed. From the viewpoint of your customer it’s the time between when they first contacted you and the time when their issue was solved. And of course, keeping this time as short as possible makes your customers happy. Let's look at three effective strategies to reduce the time to resolution in Zendesk.

1) Creating a knowledge base

A knowledge base consolidates information in one single location. This can be the source of truth for your agents – the document or documents they go to when they have questions and can’t help the customer with the knowledge they already have.

The next point is a bit controversial, but we would say that even a public knowledge base can reduce time to resolution. When a customer finds the answer before they even have to reach out to support, they have resolved the issue before they even realized it’s an issue.

So why is this controversial? Because it doesn’t show up in the time to resolution metric: The customer never created a ticket. All else being equal, if you improve your UI and your public knowledge base so much that customers only reach out with the really tough questions, your time to resolution metric might go up. But in fact you have improved your customer experience quite substantially.

Either way, if you have a private and a public knowledge base, make sure agents can suggest (or even write) new articles. They have the knowledge and the day-to-day experience to see what customers struggle with.

Don’t forget to analyze the data on knowledge base usage to get insights into the questions your customers struggle with.

Zendesk has written a guide with best practices for creating an internal knowledge base.

2) Integrating external data

Do you know how often your agents have to look up data in a tool outside of Zendesk? If an agent has to switch tabs to look up customer data and their last orders in your webshop, this adds to the resolution time. And frankly, those repetitive clicks also stress out your agents.

Let’s do a simple calculation: If, on average, an agent spends 20 seconds looking up customer data per ticket and they work on 50 tickets per day, 20 days per month. That means they waste over 5 hours per month only copy/pasting email addresses, switching tabs, clicking around an external tool, switching tabs again, etc. Multiply those 5 hours with your agents’ hourly rate and you get a feel for how much money you waste.

The solution to this problem will depend on where your data is. If you’re using a common e-commerce software, you might find their app in the Zendesk Marketplace.

If your webshop or software don’t have an app themselves, use a tool like FactBranch to access data from your database or API directly. Many companies also use Google Sheets to store customer data and then FactBranch to look up that data.

We have written a comprehensive guide with the 14 best Zendesk integrations that let you pull in external customer data.

3) Automating ticket routing

Ticket routing is the automated process of assigning support tickets to agents or teams based on predefined rules and criteria in customer support systems like Zendesk. It involves models like "push" (assigning tickets to agents) and "pull" (agents choose their assignments). The goal is to direct tickets to the right person, who is qualified to resolve the issue.

Zendesk offers a range of routing options to enhance agent productivity. The standard ticket routing framework in Zendesk is initiated upon creating an account, where support requests automatically become tickets. Triggers and views work together to establish a basic routing framework, allowing tickets to appear in standard views and triggering notifications for both requesters and agents. The standard framework enables agents to assign tickets manually or choose work at their own pace.

Advanced models include "push" (omnichannel, round-robin, manual) and "pull" (play mode, standalone skills-based, manual self-assignment). Consider omnichannel routing for larger organizations with complex needs, weighing factors like account plan, organization size, ticket channels, and existing rules.

If you have agents who have specific skills, make sure that the right agent is assigned to the right ticket from the start. If multiple agents have to touch a ticket (and read it) until the ticket is assigned to the right person, that’s wasting valuable time during which these agents could help other customers.

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