Ticketing systems were originally designed to help teams keep track of IT related issues that often times needed to be passed back and forth between different people and departments. Their purpose was to make sure teams didn’t forget about their customers and facilitate internal processes and reporting. Somewhere along the lines, contact centers began to accept ticketing systems as the standard for managing all communication with customers too. And ticketing did initially improve customer experiences. However, IT has since evolved and plenty of software now exists that makes sure you don’t forget customers without adding the extra burden of having to treat them as tickets. Now, let’s get into why treating customers as tickets offers a terrible CX today.
How we communicate with each other
How many times have you started writing a text message to a friend and then decided to call because it was easier? We use different channels all the time to communicate with our friends depending on where we are, what we are doing and what our need for communicating in that given moment is. And the nature of that conversation is an ongoing one where you can see your history, the context of the conversation and recognize each other's tendencies. Customers go through this same thought process when communicating with businesses, simply choosing whichever channel is most convenient for them in that moment. Unfortunately, business tools have not been built in a way that supports this type of communication, often resulting in bad experiences including: You end up having to repeat yourself each time you reach out, you have to wait to be routed to the right person (sometimes for days) and you end up feeling reduced to a number, leaving little room to establish any sort of a relationship with the business.
This is partly due to the fact that business tools have been built in silos, on a channel by channel basis and support a more transactional type of communication between customers and businesses. The second part is because of customer service’s adoption of ticketing.
What’s so bad about ticketing systems?
They’re transactional by nature
Ticketing in and of itself is very transactional when experienced from the customer’s perspective. This is because customer service software that uses a ticketing system essentially turns all customer inquiries into numbered tasks for agents to solve, distribute and close as quickly as possible. Approaching customer service in this way means customer service departments run the risk of being more focused on ticket management than actually helping customers. And being good at managing tickets, really only means you are good at staying organized – not necessarily delivering great customer service.
Tickets objectify people
Handling customers inquiries in this manner takes the humanity out of the interaction, turning your customers into data. Additionally, the word “ticket” sounds like one of many, making for an impersonal interaction, where customers feel less valued and appreciated by your business. This is not how you want to make customers feel, especially when they have taken the time to reach out.
The Transactional Conversation:
Imagine trying to communicate with a friend while they responded like a ticketing system… Weird right?
So why should businesses speak to their customers this way?
Only one channel per ticket
Having customer inquiries locked up in different tickets, often times across different channels too, makes it harder for reps to keep up with the status of a customer’s issue. This is because they can’t get a complete overview of all of their communication with a customer in one place. When you manage your support this way, customers end up having to repeat themselves and are subject to speaking to several different reps if their issue could not be resolved on first contact. As you can imagine, this is not the ideal customer experience and leaves a lot more room for miscommunication.
Tickets remain stuck in their respective channel, making it difficult for reps to stay up to date on the status of a customer inquiry.
The importance of the customer-brand relationship
There is one last piece of the puzzle influencing why businesses need to stop using ticketing systems to manage their customer support. It’s that customer behavior and expectations have simply changed. As a result, the way businesses communicate and interact with customers must change too. Failing to do so will only result more struggles down the road.
The empowered customer
Not only do customers now have more options available to them than ever before, but they also have a voice. Customer-brand communication is no longer one way. Because of this, customers are exercising their voice, telling others of their experiences over the internet and in person and making businesses earn their loyalty over time. Customers care deeply about the way businesses treat them and will often leave after one poor experience. With customer expectations on the rise, this makes delivering a positive customer experience challenging and incredibly important.
This change in customer behavior means that businesses need to adapt their customer experiences to better serve their customers and earn their loyalty. Given that customer service is such an important aspect of the customer experience, treating customers well is a good step towards earning their loyalty. And many businesses now survive on subscription models, which means that maintaining a close relationship with customers is the only way for those businesses to grow. Ticketing systems fail to accomplish this because they don’t support these kinds of long-term customer relationships that can build and evolve over time. Their technology has simply become outdated and no longer functions in a way that is compatible with customer expectations.
We’re introducing conversations
So what's the answer? Well, from the beginning, tickets were never a natural way for businesses to communicate with customers because humans don’t normally speak to each other in a transactional manner. Conversations however are alive and well! Humans have always had conversations, communicating in a way that propels relationships forward over time. It’s time for businesses humanize their customer experience starting with using software that can actually support having personal and meaningful conversations with customers.
For more on why ticketing systems create poor customer experiences, head over to our latest webinar series to hear our VP of Product, Christian Colding, challenge this widely practiced approach to customer service.