Thank you for your email. Your query is important to us. However, due to the high volume of emails we are currently sifting through, you can expect to hear back from us within 48 - 72 hours.
Aushima reads the email through scrunched eyes. She’s been waiting on her new prescription glasses to arrive for nearly a month now.
Maybe I can live without them, she muses, before taking a deep breath and resigning to her fate of having to wait even longer for more information. The flames of frustration lick her belly. The glasses company says her query is important to them, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.
Now let’s consider an alternate scenario.
Thank you for your email. We’ve tracked down your order, and would like to apologise for the delay in getting it to you. It’s on its way, and will arrive at your doorstep by tomorrow at 5 PM.
Aushima sits back and breathes an audible sigh, relieved to have such a fast answer to her query. Her mind no longer absorbed in worry as to the whereabouts of her glasses, she falls asleep quickly and gets a good rest.
The next day, she excitedly opens the door and signs for her package — and then proceeds to write a glowing review of her positive customer experience with the glasses company.
AI ticket automation leads to happier customers
Above, we present the same customer service issue handled two different ways. The latter benefitted from next-generation AI-powered ticket automation, while the former used old-generation autoresponder technology.
It’s indisputable that ticket automation creates a better customer experience. After all, the longer a customer has to wait on a response to their query, the worse their customer experience. As Marianne Rutz, of Operational Excellence podcast puts it, “The 40-minute wait time in the call queue is affecting your [customer’s] quality of life.” Simple as that.
The fact is, we as humans spend a lot of time waiting. The average person spends around six months of their lives waiting in line for things, while the average customer spends around 43 days on hold with customer support.
In his book, The Psychology of Waiting in Lines, David Maister identifies six reasons that long wait times are particularly detrimental to the customer experience:
Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time
People want to get started
Anxiety makes wait-times feel longer
Uncertain wait-times feel longer than known, finite wait-times
Unexplained wait-times feel longer than explained ones
Unfair wait-times feel longer than fair ones
In other words, people hate to wait, but they hate it even more if their wait-time is uncertain, unexplained, or unfair. And these sentiments have a tremendous impact on customer experience. In fact, Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report 2021 found that:
A long initial response time was the number one cause of frustration amongst customers.
The length of time it takes your team to resolve an issue also has a significant impact on the customer’s overall experience.
The number of times a customer’s request is transferred to find a resolution makes a big difference in customer satisfaction.
It makes sense, then, that 89% of customers consider quick response times an important factor when deciding which company to patronize — and which ones to stick with. Zendesk reports that 57 percent of consumers surveyed said that excellent customer service influenced them to remain loyal to particular brands.
So, with this in mind, it’s understandable why companies place so much importance on wait time-based metrics like Average Wait Time, Average Handle Time, Average Interactions/Ticket, First Response Time, Average Reply Time, Average Time to Resolution, and First Contact Resolution. Wait time metrics like these are among the most visible indicators of performance.
“The annoyance and boredom that can build in customers who must wait is dangerous for any business. One negative experience in a long line can result in lost customers and a tarnished reputation.”
- Perry Kuklin, Lavi Industries, leading provider of crowd control solutions in California
With this in mind, it’s clear that reducing customer wait times is essential. But by how much? Customer support teams can work out the amount of time it’s appropriate to ask their customers to wait by looking at the data. Specifically, teams should check when channels have been busiest and the time-to-abandon metrics will give a good indication of customers’ patience levels. Then, as a customer-first company, it’s time to do something about it.
Traditionally, ticket assignment/dispatch was realized by a dispatch team and then assigned to the appropriate agent, team, or department. But this labor-intensive process is fraught with inefficiencies that cause delays in ticket resolution — thereby leading to some pretty angry customers.
Instant replies and faster resolutions ease customer anxiety
Enter: AI-powered ticket automation, an effective way to tackle the inbox backlogs by resolving tickets faster.
The psychological challenges your customers encounter when facing wait times disappear, because instant replies and faster resolution to their support issues is a customer-first way to remove the uncertainty and anxiety caused by traditional customer support methods.
It’s important to note, though, that not all ticket automation comes equal. Due to the complexities and subtle nuances in customer language that can mean the difference between routing to technical support or contract renewal, ticket automation is a job that requires advanced technology — technology that’s now available with AI.
How does ticket automation impact response time?
Ticket automation is the process of tagging, case updating, and automatically replying to customer requests by an AI-powered algorithm.
Setting up ticket automation is a straightforward process at Ultimate, and uses your company’s historical ticket data. Once our system is authenticated, a trigger is set up that automatically forwards all or specific incoming emails to our system.
“The AI will then match all incoming emails to one of the intents that have been set up according to the client’s historical customer data. If the system can match the incoming email, web form, or mobile form with enough confidence, it will provide the outcome that has been defined for each intent.”
- Joonas Suoranta, VP Customer Success, Ultimate
So, taking the opening narrative as an example, if an intent was set for tracking down orders, then Aushima’s email would have been matched with that intent, and actions performed accordingly. This is exactly what occurred in the second scenario, leading to a drastically improved, anxiety-free customer experience. In addition to that, the AI could have detected if the request was urgent or needed to be escalated to an agent. If it was simply a common, high-frequency request, the AI would have replied directly — achieving a lightning-fast response time and resulting in one happy customer.
Ticket automation can provide a variety of outcomes, including:
Automated replies from a company email address.
Automatic ticket field updating, like prioritizing or closing tickets.
Benefits of ticket automation applied on key customer support metrics
AI-powered ticket automation is a total game changer. This advanced technology is the most practical way to improve the key customer support metrics that can help you improve customer relationships and customer experience, including:
Increased Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) by improving ticket response and resolution time and helping customers in less time.
Improved First Response Time (FRT) by providing instant replies and ticket routing.
Reduced Average Resolution Time (ART) by resolving common customer queries instantly, and freeing up agents to respond to more complex cases.
Reduced or eliminated Ticket Backlog and Ticket Volume or Total Tickets with faster ticket resolution, by automatically handling or routing each and every customer ticket that comes in.
Our AI-powered ticket automation frees your inbox and agents from repetitive and mundane email tasks, thereby allowing them to focus on the high-value work that matters most — the work that requires a human touch.
The result is improved ticket handling times and reduced ticket backlogs, and, most importantly, happier customers and a happier customer support team.
Now is the time to leverage this new, exciting technology to free your inbox and catapult your customer experience into the next level. Get ahead of your competition and exponentially increase your ticket response and resolution powers with ticket automation by viewing our Zero Backlog webinar.