Shorten Response Times In Customer Service

What To Do About Ticket Overload? Five Tips For Effective Prioritization

Are incoming messages piling up in your service team? Are customers getting impatient because quick questions are simply answered too late? To handle a high volume of tickets more effectively, you can use these five simple tips on how to establish helpful prioritization in your service team.

What this post is about

  • Schedule pre-sorting
  • integrate helpdesk
  • define clear service level agreements
  • localize the whereabouts of users
  • Create motivation by assigning roles

Working in customer service is a process that continuously flushes new requests into the system - with no end in sight. The big challenge: every customer wants to be treated as a priority, but the team and your employees only have a limited workload.

In order to still provide good service and immediately identify the most important issues within a short period of time, prioritization in the inbox is essential. Implementing instances and control functions in the assessment process helps to evaluate at a glance what is urgent and which tickets can rest. These five aspects can be paid attention to in order to avoid processing backlogs:

Integrate A Help Desk For Better Collaboration

Every company has its own system for handling tickets. Some are simply better tidied up than others. If you're still at the very beginning of your customer service focus, you should take appropriate measures to prevent an impending ticket backlog from occurring in the first place. A smart helpdesk like Zammad makes customer service workflow much easier!

Within a helpdesk or "ticketing system", prioritization is done in rankings, which we will discuss in more detail in this article. A request exists within it as a ticket, which can be tagged with helpful information and notes that provide additional context and information for the entire team.

A helpdesk also allows quick processing of different message sources in one overview, as well as task sharing within the team. Because here, for the first time, all colleagues have access to the same data (or according to their roles and access rights).

Pre-Sorting Solves Ticket Overloads

Once a ticket overload has built up, it tends to block the view of the importance and urgency of problems. The quick assessment of incoming messages is then no longer sufficient to recognize which to-dos should be addressed first and what relevance they bring.

Therefore, we recommend assigning an agent from your team (that's what we call support staff) with the task of pre-sorting on a daily basis. This person is then precisely responsible for sifting through, assigning, and prioritizing the tickets that exist to date.

Often, most tickets only contain requests or problem descriptions that can be solved with a short and friendly answer. Instead of putting these tickets on hold and encouraging customer resentment, sorting them through the first instance helps to flag those very quick requests and then process them in a targeted manner.

In addition, the agent who takes care of the pre-sorting can immediately forward more complex tickets and inquiries to the right department for answering. The clarification of responsibilities is approached in a structured manner and potentially even made visible through the internal assignment of an urgency level.

Service Level Agreements Give Value To Your Time

Now, to define a common understanding of urgency within the team, you need defined categories based on parameters such as impact, department, or customer status. A so-called "Service Level Agreement", SLA for short, can help to give individual customers, products, or services the priority that was contractually promised. Just think of the fast lane at the amusement park. Note: Such a service is worth real money to many.

SLAs help you to evaluate tickets more professionally and minimize room for interpretation. In addition, they can often cover set response times and escalation levels to keep response times within pre-set limits.

If high-priority inquiries and tasks arise, it is also advisable to activate an automatically switched timer. This can be programmed per customer with a defined response time and shows all parties involved in which phase the current ticket status is and whether exceeding the response limit is in danger. You want to avoid the latter at all costs.

Include User Locations In Prioritization.

Customer requests can come from all regions of the world. Knowing from which country an international user sends his request helps prioritize tickets. If it's nighttime at the customer's site and working hours are at rest, this indication gives breathing room to address other, local issues first. Urgent concerns that help customers immediately during working hours should be prioritized in processing.

If issues are resolved within a few hours and satisfaction sets in with the customer while they are still on the clock, the workflow is held on both sides. It is better to deal with sleeping customers afterward.

Consider Changing Internal Roles

Repetitive work tires and reduces the performance of your team. If you're only responsible for pre-sorting, you'll lose sight of the details and bring the workflow to a standstill right at the start of the process. The ticket overload is therefore only a matter of time. Likewise, answering standard questions in the same way over and over again affects the quality of the responses.

Therefore, it is important in customer service to focus on role distribution and keep productivity at a high level. Email, social media, phone, or chat: support takes place in numerous ways and is part of the extensive knowledge of every employee. The more regular the rolling principle in the support team, the lower the error rate. With that structured processing of tickets continues smoothly.


Clear the way for your tickets! Through motivated teamwork and helpful definitions of urgencies for customers and categories, ticket backlogs dissolve after a short time. It's normal for even the most structured departments to experience an overload of work, and for the end to slip out of sight because of all the to-dos. Keep calm and trust your own guidelines: Clarify today what kind of requests have what priority and who decides in case of doubt. This will leave panic, frustration, and resentment far behind.

  1. Integrate A Help Desk For Better Collaboration
  2. Pre-Sorting Solves Ticket Overloads
  3. Service Level Agreements Give Value To Your Time
  4. Include User Locations In Prioritization.
  5. Consider Changing Internal Roles
  6. Summary
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