One thing everyone can use more of is time. It’s a non-renewable resource. Think of what you could do if you had an extra hour a day? How could you transform your productivity?
If you work in customer support, you know that each hour matters. Customers want quick responses, and you want to move along the ticketing queue. Time wasted is a potential sale lost. The old adage “time is money” definitely applies to customer service.
Saving an hour a day may not sound like much, but it adds up – that’s five hours per week or 260 hours per year!
By freeing up additional time, not only can you better serve your customers, but you can also apply the extra time to focus on bigger business objectives like your company’s growth strategy.
That means it’s important to not get lost in repetitive, time-wasting tasks, especially when it comes to fast-moving, high-volume businesses like ecommerce. Think it’s impossible? Think again.
Here are some practical tips on how you can make your time work for you. Using these tips to save significant time when responding to customer messages, without sacrificing excellence in customer service, will allow you to free up much-needed time to work towards elevating your wider business objectives. And that’s just working smarter.
Start by Getting Organised
Before you can do anything else in customer service, you need to begin from a place of organisation. You can’t help anyone if your ticketing systems are a mess and your team of customer service reps aren’t operating in an orderly fashion.
As an eCommerce seller, making sure you stay organised and on top of all of your customer communications is a key first step to success. It may seem like an obvious step, but it can be challenging to keep everything in line when you have multiple channels of communication with your customers.
Having numerous queries to respond to can create a bottleneck. So rather than responding to each message one by one, it’s important to be able to sort and prioritise your messages in the message dashboard.
If you’re an eDesk user, getting organised is easy. The eDesk dashboard allows you to organise your tickets by ticket status, including tickets received, tickets resolved, snoozed, archived, new tickets and archived tickets.
This helps you get organised quickly and means that your team has a better grasp of the workflow. It also allows you to quickly search for and identify the types of tickets you need to pull up at any given moment. Finally, you can feel in control of your customer tickets, even the historical ones, and all the data they contain.
eDesk’s Smart Inbox centralizes customer messages from all your marketplaces, website and social in one place to help you respond faster and better
In addition, you can also tag your tickets by criteria of your choice and filter them by tags so that you can stay on top of certain groupings, such as tickets from the past seven days, or all tickets from a particular marketplace, or by language, to name just a few. Tags can also be automated so that they automatically apply to certain tickets based on the rules you set.
This way, for example, all tickets that come in where the customer speaks German can be tagged accordingly so you know to route them to the correct language-speaking rep.
In sorting, prioritising, tagging and filtering your messages, you ensure you organise your flow of communications so that your team can tackle them more efficiently and save time.
Having a methodical system for how tickets are allocated and answered gives your team direction and creates a better workflow. When your team is well organised, the time they save adds up.
Make the Most of Online Support
Replying to customer queries online through email or chat is shown to be a lot quicker than responding via phone. Responding using text is faster because when you’re dealing with written content, you can use automated replies and templates to avoid repetition, which can help move tickets along faster.
So, if possible, try to direct your customers to interact with your company through email or online chat so that your team can move through each query more quickly and remain more efficient.
Making sure you have real-time notifications enabled to alert you of email and chat queries will help ensure that your team is aware of new queries and responds quickly. This is key, given how important quick response times are when it comes to customer service.
Chatbots can be helpful here. Even if your live customer service team is not online, a chatbot service can either provide automated answers, direct the customer to a knowledge base page, or simply acknowledge their query and let them know an agent will be with them shortly.
It may seem like a small thing, but even an automated chatbot reply letting the customer know that their message has been received will go a long way towards providing great customer service. Then, when your team is ready to respond, they can save time by using clear and concise language to resolve issues quickly and comprehensively.
This is where standardised replies based around templates can come in handy, along with automation, which is what we are about to discuss next.
Related: 7 Top Customer Support Trends for 2021
Create Useful Templates
Saving time on creating content for the messages you send your customers can be a great way to buy back time. This is where templates can be very useful. They allow your customer support team to use the content they need to reply to common questions without having to type the same answer repeatedly. All you have to do is create the various templates you need ahead of time.
Templates are typically created by basing them on responses to frequent issues and questions. They are snippets of content that can be copied and pasted into relevant conversations and customised as needed to fit the specific situation.
Examples of the types of templates you can create include:
- Order confirmations
- Shipping confirmations
- Refund policies
- Terms & Conditions
- Requests for a review
All of these are standard types of communications that can be easily automated as templates and set to send to the customer when they make an order or after they receive their product. This saves your team time while ensuring that every customer has a response following a key touchpoint or interaction with your company.
Templates can also be customised with your customer’s name so that they feel personalised. This way, your team is saving time from typing the same content over and over, but the client still feels like each message is tailored to them. This fosters that sense of excellent customer experience, which is so important in today’s business world.
The bottom line is that templates will tick the box of making sure your customer gets the response they need, when they need it, whilst saving you and your team valuable time.
Put Automation to Work
It’s a given that certain customer service tasks can be repetitive. So, why not automate these tasks? Automation helps you save time by setting up your customer messaging management system to automatically perform tasks previously handled manually. Automating even the smallest actions can add up, saving your company lots of valuable time.
When it comes to making your ecommerce help desk software work for you, automation can help in several ways:
1. Automated tickets
eDesk lets you create rules to automatically allocate certain messages to specific team members. This means that team members responsible for marketplace queries can get only those queries. This allows them to specialise and hone their attention to one particular area. Other team members can be assigned queries coming from different channels. This means everyone is focused, time is maximised, and customer queries are answered efficiently.
Auto-response is a handy feature to use when a customer sends a message outside your team’s working hours. This ensures that the customer is automatically replied to, making them feel acknowledged while awaiting a reply from an agent during working hours. Auto-response can also be helpful during peak periods, such as peak shopping times over Christmas, when you know queries will spike and your team will be contending with a large volume, but still want to be sure your customers’ queries are attended to.
3. Ticket prioritisation
eDesk’s ticket prioritisation lets you set rules to automatically prioritise important messages. This helps save you time because it means you’ll prioritise the important tickets first, getting them out of the way so that you can deal with lesser items. Prioritisation will also take the pressure off your team by providing a system they can more efficiently work with.
Automation sometimes gets bad press because it’s thought to be less personal or takes the human element out of the equation. However, some tasks don’t necessarily need a personal touch, at least not in the first instance. For such tasks, automation is a valuable solution to help take the pressure off small jobs which can take up unnecessary time.
As you can see, many of the above elements that can be automated are procedural tasks that don’t require a human element and are better served by automation.
By automating some tasks, like the examples above, you can allocate your team’s time to more useful tasks, like providing excellent customer service in each customer interaction.
Related: 9 Effective Tips for Customer Service Managers in 2021
Offer a Knowledge Base
Sometimes the best way you can help your customers is by empowering them to help themselves. A knowledge base on your website, including an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, can help with just that. More in-depth pages can offer deeper insight into your products, materials, even your company itself. Put together, these can all be beneficial resources for your customers.
By building a comprehensive, yet easy-to-navigate resource library on your website, you can cover the most commonly asked questions, common issues and pain points, all in an easy-to-find central place. This way, customers can quickly access and make their way through helpful information any time of day or night to quickly find the answers they need.
This takes the pressure off your customer service team by cutting down on the number of repetitive questions. Often, customer service questions are simple, and self-service can be a better route to answering them. Offering a knowledge base can have a tangible impact on your ticketing queue by helping to unburden it.
And when questions do arise that can be answered by the knowledge base, it can simply be a matter of pointing your customers to the right place on your website to help them answer their questions. You can also add to your knowledge base (also sometimes known as a ‘library’) as additional frequent questions or issues arise.
Creating a knowledge base shouldn’t be looked at as offering lesser customer service. On the contrary, any customers who are strapped for time and don’t wish to go through the process of calling or emailing customer service prefer to simply look up the answer to their question in a knowledge base.
By offering a knowledge base, you’re providing your customer with yet another option for how they can get their questions answered, and it won’t go unnoticed.
As you can see from the above, there are several ways that eDesk can help you free up your team’s valuable time so that it can be applied in other growth areas.
Just by setting up your ticketing system in a way that meets your company’s unique business needs, you can optimise your help desk to work in the best way possible for your business. And that will help it run more efficiently and save you much-needed time.
Having that extra hour per day available can make all the difference to ramping up your company’s growth. If you’d like to learn more about how eDesk can help your eCommerce business respond faster and grow, book a live demo or try eDesk free for 14 days, no credit card required.