Using the 80/20 Approach in Customer Support

By Ruth Favela

In a world where customer support teams need to meet increasing metrics and stay on top of their ever-growing queue, how do you manage the repetitive, mundane tasks that take over the ability to solve more complex issues? 

An agent’s job is to assist in resolving customer issues and help maintain or increase satisfaction scores, and both can become taxing when they’re taking too long to respond to simple inquiries or need assistance with finding information. 

Did you know that 66% of customers feel that having their time valued is the most important thing a company can do to provide a good online customer experience? If your customers are waiting hours or even days for email responses to simple questions, you’re not providing a good CX. 

Lucky for support teams, there’s one tool that can greatly improve the process for both agents and customers: AI for customer support. Not sure how it could help? 

Let’s dive in. 

What is the 80/20 Approach?

In order to talk about how customer support AI can help organizations like yours, you need to know about the 80/20 approach to ticket triage. 

The 80/20 method tells us that 20% of tickets should go to customer service representatives, while the other 80% of tickets can be handled by AI-powered self-service solutions

This is because up to 80% of incoming customer requests are repetitive and simple inquiries.  

If you have one person wondering about their order status, you likely have hundreds or thousands of other tickets asking the same exact thing. Even if you offer an expansive knowledge base, you still get these low-level support requests every single day. They become tedious, repetitive tasks for agents to complete and they end up spending 80% of their time responding to questions that modern tech could easily resolve. 

Plus, most agents will leave those repeated tickets at the bottom of their priority list. After all, if the complex issues are the ones lowering satisfaction scores, you’re going to want to resolve those first. This leads to great resolution rates but poor first response times.  

Why Is 80/20 Important? 

It doesn’t really make sense to continue resolving issues without a tool to help with the simpler stuff. It’s costly and ineffective, especially when workloads seem to be increasing and your options are to hire more people or implement something that won’t work for you in the long-run. 

The solution is clear: customer support AI that can help route, deflect, and resolve the portion of tickets your agents are seeing repetitively come in. This gives agents the ability to focus on the percent of tickets that are more complex and actually drag down resolution times 

Plus, your customers want to be able to self-serve. In fact, more than 6 out of 10 consumers say that their go-to channel for simple inquiries (which is what your agents are seeing a lot of the time) is a digital self-serve tool. But how can you make the most out of what you already have if you’re still seeing simple inquiries? Are customers just not using what’s available to find information? 

The truth is that as much as customers want to help themselves, they also still want to feel like they’re talking to a person and getting the valuable help they need. 

And that’s where customer support AI can help. 

Benefits of Using the 80/20 Approach

Implementing customer support AI benefits both customer support agents and the customers seeking answers for the support needs. 

You help your customers find quality processes to self-serve and free up time for your agents to truly focus on higher-level tickets that need more input. 

Just think about it. Say you have a simple inquiry for an order you put in a week ago from your favorite company. You’re wondering about the order status because you haven’t seen an update. You have a couple of choices here: 

  • You could check their help center to see where to find order status 
  • You could look for a contact form and send in your question 

Let’s say you try searching the help center. You find article after article about returns, exchanges, and refunds, but nothing about order status. Now you’ve spent valuable time not finding an answer so you decide to send in your question. 

After sending it in you get an email telling you that you’ll hear back within 72 hours. 3 days?! For a simple email inquiry response? This frustration is what your customers feel when they can’t reach you, can’t find their needed information, and don’t have a way to solve it easily. 

This scenario also impacts agents. If your agents are dealing with so many tickets that they can’t keep up with customer support KPIs, they’re suffering too and in the end, your entire organization. 

The Best AI for Customer Support

By implementing customer support AI, you’ll be able to take the 80/20 approach by the reins. With AI like Forethought’s Agatha, your agents can offload that 80% of repetitive tickets to an AI that knows everything about your organization. 

The best customer support AI learns by ingesting your macros, historical data, tickets, and knowledge bases, and understands where tickets go, how they can be responded to, and where they need to be if AI can’t respond. 

You’ll also want a solution that is accurate in its responses. Forethought’s sophisticated AI only responds to inquiries when the accuracy rate is really high, and won’t respond if it doesn’t think it has the right answer. Plus, the AI can help with both email channels and webchat needs. 

Read our ebook to learn more about the future of customer service and how AI is changing the way we support our support teams – the 80/20 approach could benefit you dramatically. 


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