Jitbit Blog about Customer Support

How to prioritize your support queue

Jul 6 2014

So, you come into work in the morning, open up your help desk app and see 50 tickets waiting in the queue. How do you go about responding in a most effective way? The obvious way is to handle old issues first — going bottom to top. That's what I was doing for a long time until I realized it's wrong. Oldest issues aren't always the most important ones.

Here is how we prioritize tickets at Jitbit:

1. Close all the Thank you's

50 unanswered tickets is a mess. That's why I like to bring that number down to something more manageable. The first thing I do is scan through all the tickets and close all the "Thank you, it worked!" ones from the previous day. All general praise and "your product is awesome" tickets also fall into this category. Everything you can respond to in 30 seconds should be handled first.

It usually takes me around 5-10 minutes. Hopefully now you have less tickets in the queue and you’re feeling way better because of all the praise you've just read.

2. Urgent issues: billing, bugs etc.

Next come the most important issues — the ones that should be handled as fast as possible or you can lose a client. These usually are the most complicated ones and it may take some time to go through them all. Start with the billing issues, then move to critical bugs.

3. "How do I ..." tickets

At this point there is no pressure: there are no more urgent issues and you can take your time responding to anything that's left. Now it's time to respond to general questions about your product. Hopefully by now you've invested some time in building a help section on your web site. If not, keep an eye out for repetitive questions. If you get asked the same question twice, move the answer to the knowledge base.

Generally, the best possible response to a "Does your product support ..." and a "How do I ..." is a link to a knowledge base article.

4. Feature requests

We deal with feature requests last because they don't need to be responded quickly and they take a lot of time to handle right. Again, there is no rush. You have time to think about every request carefully. Listen to what your users have to say to get some insight about your product.

If you don’t know whether or not you’re going to add the feature requested, reply with a “thank you, we’ll consider that” and log the request in your bug tracker (with a link to the support ticket to be replied later).

So, to sum up:

  1. Close all the "thank you" tickets. It's easy, doesn't take much time and it makes you feel good. Think of it as a warmup.
  2. Now move to the urgent issues, because you don't want to lose money.
  3. General support questions give you a chance to improve your help section and score some "wow" points.
  4. Feature requests. Probably the most complicated and useful category. Luckily now you don't have to rush and have time to handle them right.

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