How to improve customer support time-to-resolution with an FAQ strategy

Time-to-resolution is one of the most critical metrics that your customer support team can track and manage. This metric measures the average time from opening a ticket to the time it is marked as “resolved”. It is particularly critical to scoring your customer support team performance because it is linked to customer satisfaction ratings. These ratings can be dragged down by issues tied to frequently asked questions creating backlogs in your support queue. Not surprisingly, the longer the time to resolution, the lower the customer satisfaction scores. As a compounding effect, the more time that customer support agents are spending time on individual cases, causing increases in resolution time, the higher the cost of your support desk, which puts stress on budgeting. It may appear that you need more agents, or at the very least, a strategy for resolving issues faster.

What influences time-to-resolution

There are a few common factors that influence time-to-resolution. They are:

  • High support call volume accompanied by…
  • Frequently asked questions where customers do not self-serve a solution from publicly available resources, and/or;
  • Inexperienced, recently hired or over-worked support agents, and/or;
  • A lack of readily available product documentation or a support knowledge base/wiki that is up-to-date, verified, and accurate

Do you have an FAQ problem?

Often, team leaders that suspect an FAQ problem exists limit their investigation to locations that are not exhaustive enough to validate the problem. The answer to whether an FAQ problem exists partly lies in your support ticket management platform metrics, but it doesn’t end there. You must take a more holistic approach to understand the support agent’s workflow. Many times, customer support teams collaborate on messaging platforms to exchange knowledge pertinent to support issue resolution.

Figuring out if you have an FAQ problem in these other channels can be an arduous process, or you might have some tools that can help you identify FAQ patterns in the various segments of the agent’s workflow.

If an FAQ problem and associated productivity gap is identified, it is time to examine if there is an opportunity to fix it.

How to identify if time-to-resolution can be improved

To understand if there is room for improvement in your average time-to-resolution metrics, you can drill down on two specific things:

  • Look for patterns in repeated questions (FAQs), then…
  • Examine and compare the performance of your agents to see if there are differences in the ways they handle these particular issues

If you see a disparity between resolution times for different support agents for the same frequently asked questions, there could be a training or knowledge gap that needs to be addressed to bring those metrics more in alignment. This should also improve time-to-resolution.

One possible approach to a solution

Depending on your customer support agent’s productivity stack, your time-to-resolution audit might take a few different paths. Here is a common path to consider.

  • Do a deep dive on any support issue metrics – look for clues that suggest an FAQ problem is present.
  • Examine the support agent workflow to identify clues for knowledge gaps such as Slack conversations or knowledge base search statistics.
  • Invest in an external FAQ strategy by offering resources on your public website.
  • Invest in eliminating knowledge gaps and adhere to a knowledge content verification schedule.
  • Invest in improving access to FAQ knowledge resources with universal search tools that integrate with customer support agents’ workflows.

With a holistic style of audit that takes into consideration data beyond support ticket details, and dives more into the agent’s workflow, you should be able to uncover opportunities to reduce time-to-resolution metrics that are being affected by recurring customer questions.

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