Maintain accountability with one simple move

Maintain accountability with one simple move

April 23, 2014
Maintain accountability with one simple move

One of the realities of working for a company that genuinely cares about customer service is this: every employee, to a degree, works in the customer service department. While that doesn’t mean people like the CFO and recruiting manager will be shoulder to shoulder answering tickets with your support team, it does mean that you will often need help from people outside the support team to resolve customer issues.

Whether its web developers, engineers, PR managers, or sales reps, you will often need the expertise or skills of someone in a different department. There are generally two schools of thought here. The first is to maintain ownership of the ticket and CC the relevant people. This helps you maintain accountability of the ticket, but this can be costly because you’re using your support staff to follow up on tickets other people are working on, essentially doubling resources being used.

The other option is to assign the ticket to the right department/individual, ensuring the ticket goes to the correct place. But then you lose ownership of the ticket and can lose track of it.

The answer is somewhere in the middle: reassign the ticket and CC yourself. This way, you can easily keep an eye on things but the other person/department has ownership.

If the ticket is stuck, be proactive and reach out to the customer AND reach out to the person who now owns the ticket. Give them a deadline for solving the ticket, which provides them with a timeframe to work with, rather than just being another thing on their to-do list. At the same time, reach out to the customer and let them know that the ticket is being worked on. The key is to balance the expectation between the customer and new owner of the ticket.

And of course, if assigning tickets to other departments leads to perpetual elongated resolution times, you’ll need to  invoke some cross functional collaboration to come up with the best approach and put expectations and accountability in place.

At the Helm is a series for anyone who manages customer service professionals. These tips, best practices, and philosophies are designed to help you manage a team that is primed to give your customers the best possible service. 

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