In our Gorgias community, we’ve received plenty of interesting customer support questions—from basic to advanced. Our customer support team has also seen similar questions and the common themes that arose.
We understand. When you first started out with customer service, you may feel lost. You may immediately need to understand things like what a ticket means (and how it was different from a conversation), how to reduce customer requests, and why response time was so important.
You may have all of these really basic questions, but you couldn’t find straight answers online—and you didn’t want to keep bombarding your boss with questions either.
That’s why we decided to write this post. Keep reading to get your most common and burning customer service answered. From what a support agent does to how to measure agents’ performance—you’ll find the answers here.
Let’s not waste any time.
1. What does a support agent do?
A customer support agent (sometimes called customer support/service representative) acts as a point-of-contact for customers. They’re responsible for handling customer support tickets, ensure that their requests are being handled, and monitor those accounts as well.
At the end of the day, an agent is a hero because they help you build rapport with customers and gain their trust and loyalty.
2. What is a support ticket?
A support ticket is a term used by customer service software to describe an interaction between customers and support agent teams.
When a customer has a question or issue, they create a support ticket. A support agent interacts with the customer by responding to that ticket. When the issue is resolved, the ticket is closed.
Most customer help desks use the term “ticket,” but a few prefer “conversation.” Don’t worry because they refer to the same meaning.
3. Which app is best for live chat?
There are many live chat apps out there, and each has its own merits. Which one to choose depends on your type of business, budget, and goals.
For example, if you’re running a financial business and need a CRM that includes a live chat, you may want to try Zendesk Chat.
But Zendesk Chat isn’t the right solution if you’re running an online store. In this case, you should consider an ecommerce-dedicated live chat like Gorgias Chat. Gorgias Chat covers all the essential features you need to offer customers real-time conversations, plus advanced ones to leverage the power of a live chat.
4. Does live chat increase sales?
Many ecommerce brands like MNML, Campus Protein, and Ellana Cosmetics have been using live chat campaigns to increase sales. So, yes, using live chat should be part of your marketing strategy.
Still not feel convinced? Check out these statistics about live chat:
- 42% of consumers prefer a live chat 2017 J.D. Power live chat study
- Real-time chat can potentially increase conversion rates by 40%
- More than 75% of people don’t buy from stores that don’t have live chat
- Almost 65% of purchasers will return to an ecommerce store with this option
Recommended readings: 5 Amazing Tips to Use Live Chat to Boost Sales for Your Business
5. What is a help desk?
A help desk is a tool that organizes customer communication to help businesses respond to customers more quickly and effectively. Using a help desk allows your support team to streamline their workflow, boost productivity, and offer your customers the best experience.
6. Why is a help desk important?
A help desk can benefit businesses of all sizes and types. It centralizes your customers’ conversations and interactions with your business into one single place.
From there, you can easily keep track of what kind of issues your customers are experiencing and provide immediate solutions to help them out. You also gain insights into how your support agents are doing, automate the work process, and drive employee satisfaction.
7. Who can use a help desk?
Every company that does business with customers should use a help desk. Start-ups, small businesses, enterprises, B2B or B2C companies—all will benefit from a help desk.
8. How to choose the right help desk
Like when you find a live chat, you need to consider many factors when choosing a help desk. Determine your goal, budget, and target audience, and then make a list of the features you need. Also, ensure your chosen help desk is easy-to-use, provides integrations, and offers 24/7 support across channels.
9. What is CSAT in customer service?
CSAT stands for customer satisfaction score. It’s a key performance indicator for customer service and product quality in all types of businesses. CSAT indicates how satisfied a customer is with a specific product, transaction, or interaction with your business. CSAT scores range from 0% (completely not satisfied) to 100% (very satisfied).
10. What is the response time?
Response time is arguably the most important metric in customer service. It indicates the amount of time between ticket creation date and the first response from your support team.
11. What is the average first response time?
The average first response time to customer support tickets is between 7 hours. But this figure really depends on the communication channel (phone vs. live chat vs. email vs. social media), the number of customers, and your support team's size. Keep in mind that using a helpdesk integrated with your ecommerce platform can decrease your first response time using automation features.
In any case, you should always keep it as low as possible.
Recommended reading: How to Reduce Your Help Desk Response Time
12. What is the resolution time?
Resolution time refers to the average amount of time between when a ticket is opened and when that ticket is marked as “resolved.” Resolution time may also be called time to resolution or time to resolve.
Resolution time matters because your customers always want to get a solution to their problem as soon as possible. “Do you have this color?” or “What is your shipping fee?”—no one is willing to wait for days just to hear the answers to these simple questions.
The quicker you can give customers what they want, the more satisfied they’ll be and the higher chance they want to stick with your business.
13. What is the average resolution time?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Resolution time may vary across different businesses. It also depends on which type of issues your agent is dealing with. Some questions require just one reply, while others need a deeper conversation with your customer.
The average customer support ticket resolution time is around 22 hours. But like response time, resolution time depends on your help desk, your support team organization and your company size. Try to keep it as low as possible.
14. How to reduce resolution time
Try these tips:
- Automate repetitive processes (e.g., ticket assignments, escalation) or common questions (e.g., where is my order?)
- Offer self-service options like a knowledge base and frequently asked questions (FAQ)
- Categorize your tickets and use tags for better organization
- Make use of canned responses for frequent replies
- Assign some of your team to focus on new tickets
Recommended reading: Decrease First-Response Time by 78% with Everyone on Support
15. What are the average support tickets created and closed per day?
These two metrics are specific to each company, depending on its size and customer base. But to give you an idea, a support agent can handle up to 120 tickets per day. Once again, it depends on your support team organization and the tools you use. Connecting all of your ecommerce tools to your helpdesk will prevent your agents from switching between tabs all day long to find the right customer information.
So the best advice to increase support agent productivity is to centralize all customer data in one place. Your agents will answer faster and handle more tickets in less time.
16. What are the converted tickets and ticket conversion rate?
Converted tickets refer to tickets that were followed by a sale within 5 days. They’re often questions around delivery, returns, etc.
Ticket conversion rate refers to the ratio between created and converted tickets. For ecommerce customer service, the conversion rate is often between 3-5%.
Recommended reading: Gorgias Revenue statistics
17. How many help desk staff do I need?
Go back to question 15 and determine how many tickets you get per day. Then, you’ll know how many agents you should hire. There is no one-size-fits-all to this question.
18. How do you prioritize support tickets?
Making priority is a great way to avoid overflowing with support tickets. Here are some ways you can do that:
- For smaller teams, prioritize tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. Start with the old ones first
- Set ticket statuses: New/Open, In-progress, Pending/On-hold, Closed/Solved
- Segment your support tickets by problem type, by product, by region, by department, or any way that makes sense to you
19. How would you handle a customer with difficult behaviors?
Responding to difficult customers can be challenging. To effectively deal with them, you need to train your support agents with excellent customer service skills.
- Stay attentive: employ effective listening
- Be clear in your communication: brevity is your friend
- Have a thick skin: patience really is a virtue
- Consider implementing Everyone on Support (EOS)
- Balancing priorities: time management is everything
Recommended reading: How Exceptional Copy Can Help Your Support Team Deal with Angry Customers Over Email
20. What is customer service automation?
Automated customer service (customer service automation) aims to reduce or eliminate the need for agent involvement when responding to customer inquiries.
- Customer self-service portals and knowledge bases
- Canned responses, email templates
- Automation rules with “if this, then that” logic
- Live chat and chatbots
21. What are key customer service metrics?
To measure the performance of your support agent team, you can use the following metrics:
- Average resolution time
- Average response time
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Ticket volume: The number of tickets that support agents or customers creates on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to know your ticket volume to scale and organize workloads
- Ticket backlog: Unresolved customer support tickets in a specific period
- First contact resolution rate: First contact resolution rate measures how often your support agent resolves cases in a single response
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): Net promoter score measures how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to others
- Replies per resolution: How many replies it takes before a ticket is resolved
22. How to handle phone support requests
You can use a phone integration that includes key call center features. RingCentral, CloudTalk, or Aircall might be a good choice. Click here to see the full list of voice and phone integrations.
23. Should I assign a new ticket to only one agent or to multiple agents?
If the requests are similar (like returns and where is my order), you can navigate agents on a ticket to minimize response time. If they're more complex, it’s best to stick to one agent because you’ll pay the switching cost every time a different agent reads the ticket.
24. Should I track agents’ hours?
First response time, resolution time, and customer satisfaction are key metrics to measure your agents’ performance. Hours worked is generally a good indicator, but you should focus on tracking what directly matters to your customers.
If you still want to measure agents’ hours, you can use project management tools like Clockify, Hubstaff, or Harvest.
25. What do you look for when you're hiring customer service agents?
Your support agents should:
- Understand your business and target customers
- Enjoy working with customers and can respond empathically to them
- Work well with your team and understand your company culture
- Have excellent customer service skills
- Have a certain level of technical knowledge and expertise
Recommended reading: 21 Customer Service Interview Questions for Your Next Hire
26. Should I integrate ChannelReply into my help desk?
When you integrate ChannelReply to your Gorgias helpdesk, you can respond to eBay, Amazon, and Walmart customer messages from Gorgias. You can also see all the information from your store without leaving your help desk.
- Any buyer message
- All normal Amazon email notifications, including new orders, shipment confirmations, return requests, etc.
- Negative feedback notifications (for seller ratings of 3 stars or less)
- Item inquiries
- Order inquiries
- Resolution center inquiries, cases, and returns
- New order notifications
- All normal eBay email notifications
- Any buyer message
- All normal Walmart email notifications
Still have questions about customer service?
If you still have any questions, feel free to ask us, and we’ll help you address them.
In case you’re ready to master customer service, sign up for a Gorgias account to get a 7-day free trial and start applying what you’ve learned into practice.
Using Gorgias, you can reduce repetitive tasks, improve your agent’s productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and drive sales for your ecommerce business.