Top 10 biggest time-wasters for support agents

Customer support is simple, right? Your agents are tasked with efficiently resolving issues and ensuring that customers are satisfied (CSAT). But as companies grow so do ticket volumes and the complexity of some cases.

Without the right system in place, this growth leads to processes gradually becoming less efficient over time. Workflows that worked well when you were starting out quickly become overgrown with repetitive admin and clerical work, hurting agent productivity and leaving you with less time to actually show up for your customers. Not being present quickly affects how your customers perceive you – a costly mistake that few companies can afford.

If you want to improve agent productivity, here are the ten most common ways that support teams waste time (and most of these are totally avoidable with the right tools).

1 Impossible ticket volumes

As companies grow, they add more services and more users. More users mean more support issues, but an ever-expanding customer support team simply can't keep up with the ever-increasing volume of tickets. This is where ticket deflection helps skim some of that ticket volume off the top. Self-service deflects customers by allowing them to find solutions without having to ask for help. Instead of wasting time trying to answer every single customer personally, save resources for those cases that really need a human touch.

2 Answering the wrong questions

Unfortunately, lack of self-service doesn’t only mean support departments have too many tickets on their plate – it also means the bulk of their time is spent answering the wrong kinds of questions.

Support agents are problem solvers – not password resetters – and an efficient support department uses their time accordingly.

Often customers reach out for help to ask about issues that could be solved easily through a knowledge base, like return policy. In this scenario, simple questions can often be pre-supplied by your support team with an easily accessible knowledge management system.

3 Using an outdated ticketing system

When a customer is unable to solve their own problem, they reach out to an agent. But which agent? Usually the first available representative takes your call and puts you through to the right department. Their ticket was randomly assigned to a team that probably wasn’t equipped with the skills to handle it. As the size of your team grows, it becomes more difficult to understand who has the expertise that you need for which issue – and even more difficult to measure agent productivity.

Your support team can’t afford to be caught up in the complexities of an outdated ticketing system. Skill-based auto-routing drawn from ticket information takes this work off your plate and greatly reduces the number of tickets that need to be ‘manually diagnosed’ by an agent.

Learn more: How automations help your support team save time

4 Waiting for information

Once a customer has reached the right team, the fun is just getting started. Let’s suppose this customer has a pretty tricky question, and one that requires a bit of digging. Without a well organized internal knowledge base, your agents will need to reach out to other departments for more information. This back-and-forth journey between departments results in scheduling back-and-forth meetings, misinformed decisions and, ultimately, wasted time. You end up getting the information you need (but not in the time you want).

5 Manual tasks that could be automated

Manual workflows around the lifecycle of a support ticket can consume an immense amount of time and hinder workflow efficiency. But help desk software has come a long way towards allowing agents and support managers to make use of automatic tasks such as mailing customers, emailing them a progress report or tagging them in a chat.

At times, you may even find that you can automate tasks completely – freeing up your support staff to use their time to resolve customer queries. This mean less time spent on clerical work, leaving you with more time for the day-to-day business of supporting your customers. If your support department is not efficient in the manual task of responding to customer enquiries in the first place, you risk losing their business altogether.