When I had newly joined my last job in a product-based company, I was hired as a software support executive.
Back then, I was practically clueless what I had to do, and how to do it.
Initially, all I heard was things like,
“Is the ticket resolved?”
“Have you solved this for the client?”
“What’s the response time on that?”
“Send a canned response for now.”
“What’s the SLA for this client?”
“Did she re-open the ticket?”
…on and on. Soon, I was the one using these terms every passing minute. 😅
14 years and counts of teams and operations later, I know what most of those customer service terms mean. 😎
And, then I thought, why not share them with you all?
In this blog, I have mentioned all the words related to customer service terms you need to know to run a successful support department.
Table of Content
- Customer Service Terms: A Mini Glossary
- 1. Average first response time
- 2. Average resolution time
- 3. Average response time
- 4. Average time spent on each ticket
- 5. Benchmarking
- 6. Business hours
- 7. Canned response
- 8. Customer delight
- 9. Customer experience
- 10. Customer experience (CX) metrics
- 11. Customer satisfaction
- 12. Customer success
- 13. Escalation matrix
- 14. Feedback
- 15. First call resolution
- 16. First contact resolution
- 17. Key accounts
- 18. Knowledge bank
- 19. No. of escalation requests
- 20. No. of new tickets created
- 21. No. of tickets reopened
- 22. No. of tickets resolved
- 23. No. of tickets unresolved
- 24. Onboarding and training
- 25. Quality analysis
- 26. Quality assurance
- 27. Resolution rate
- 28. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
- 29. Shift management
- 30. Subject Matter Expert (SME)
- 31. Support channels
- 32. Ticketing system
Customer Service Terms: A Mini Glossary
Cutting right to the chase here, let’s talk about the terminologies (and possible jargons) of the customer support sector.
1. Average first response time
Before I tell you about average first response time, I’ll explain what a first response is.
It is defined as a company’s first response given to a query or ticket raised by a customer or a user. In that regard, first response time (better known as FRT) is the time taken to give the first response.
The average first response time is calculated and monitored to ensure that each query and issue a customer asks is acknowledged on time; thus affecting the experience customers get.
2. Average resolution time
It took me a long time to understand the difference between response and resolution. 😀
I know, I know. But, I was too naive.
I explained what the response time is. Resolution time, on the other hand, indicates the time it takes to resolve a query or a ticket a customer has raised.
Average resolution time is significant for customer service departments as it demonstrates how well your team knows about your offerings and how easily they can communicate a resolution to the end user.
3. Average response time
Just like there’s a first response, there’s an overall response, in which any number of responses, however given; are considered to calculate the response time.
An average response time, thus, is an indicator of how responsive and agile your customer support team is; and how long do your customers have to wait to get a response.
4. Average time spent on each ticket
This number specifies the average time spent to resolve a ticket.
If this number is higher than the benchmarks you set, it is possible that the customer service agent needs better product training.
Benchmarking is the process of comparing KPIs and defining your departmental goals based on the results.
Say, if a customer service rep has resolved a ticket in 10 minutes, it can become a benchmark for the entire department to follow.
6. Business hours
Ah, a term I learned the hard way in my career. 😁
I bet most of you in the customer service field, did.
When you are setting up your customer service department, you need to define your working hours to indicate your availability for support.
Would you be available 24×7?
Or only on weekdays?
Or from 8 AM to 4 PM in your local time zone?
Clarifying these will help you decide your business hours, and will help your customers know what to expect when they contact you any time.
7. Canned response
When I first heard this term, I assumed it would be a special, unique response meant for customers.
Boy, was I wrong!
Simply put, a canned response is like a keyboard shortcut. It helps simplify some of your actions.
When you are in a client-facing role, there are a few replies and phrases used in almost each communication.
“How may I help you?”, “Check out our knowledge base”, “Thank you and have a nice day”, “Hope we were able to help”, are examples of canned responses.
Canned responses are especially helpful in live chat and email communications, and save a lot of time and effort in typing and sending common replies.
We can help you write and implement practical canned responses to use for years to come. Talk to us and we can get started right away.
8. Customer delight
A term that is often misunderstood, customer delight indicates how happy the customer is with your products and services.
This also includes their interactions with your brand at each stage, which means that you have to ensure clear communication with an aim to surpass their expectations at all possible touchpoints.
In short, customer delight is the measure of how you go out of your way to keep your customers happy.
Here’s a thread we wrote on Twitter which clarifies the difference between three commonly interchanged terms.
9. Customer experience
Customer experience is measured as the feelings your customer has while interacting with your brand in various circumstances.
Customer experience goes beyond customer service. It encompasses factors such as messaging, platforms, advertising, sales cycles and more.
Here’s something that will help you understand customer service and its importance in detail.
10. Customer experience (CX) metrics
A few terms in customer service are in fact, metrics that brands should use to measure the impact of customer experience.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Lifetime value
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
- Customer effort score (CES)
All these and more are explained in our dedicated blog of customer experience KPIs.
11. Customer satisfaction
The definition of customer satisfaction is the measure of how satisfied your customer is with your offerings, and how you have matched or exceeded their requirements and expectations.
12. Customer success
On the same lines as customer delight, customer success ensures that your customers are able to utilize your products and services in an efficient manner.
In fact, I was responsible for setting up a customer success team at my previous organization. The team was responsible for helping our customers make the most of our products, and engaging with them from time to time for better understanding of their requirements.
13. Escalation matrix
Escalation matrix is the hierarchy followed in the customer service department to resolve queries in an effective and efficient manner.
Say, if I am unable to resolve an issue as a support executive, either the customer or I will escalate the query to my senior, and then to his/her senior and so on.
If you ask me, the escalation matrix is used only as rainy day funds.
A feedback is defined as the comment your customers provide for your products and services.
This can be positive, negative or constructive based on the actions you take after receiving them.
15. First call resolution
First call resolution indicates the number of queries or tickets resolved in the first call the customer made to your support.
This is applicable when you provide support on phone calls.
16. First contact resolution
If you have multiple channels to provide support on, this would mean different than first call resolution.
First contact resolution specifies the number of queries or tickets resolved during the first contact the customer made with your support team.
This contact can be made through live chat, phone call, or any channel you provide support on.
17. Key accounts
Key accounts are the customers you categorize into specific categories which are privileged to gain premium support.
You must have heard and observed that 80% of your revenue comes from the top 20% of your clients, which ultimately belong to key accounts.
These accounts can be defined based on factors such as: LTV, business size, tenure with your organization and more.
Remember, Manasi talked about account-based marketing in one of her blogs? Well, key accounts are an extension of that marketing approach.
18. Knowledge bank
A knowledge bank consists of various materials and collaterals made available for your team and your customers.
These collaterals help customers find their way around your product and resolve basic queries they may have.
Most of the time, a knowledge bank is presented in the form of FAQs for better understanding.
19. No. of escalation requests
This number indicates the number of escalation requests a customer has made as a result of not getting a satisfactory response from your representatives.
This often stipulates the capability of your customer service team to provide a solution.
20. No. of new tickets created
As opposed to reopened tickets, this number indicates the number of new tickets created in a particular time frame.
With time, as your team gains more experience, this number should go down if your product does not entail regular updates.
21. No. of tickets reopened
If you have ever worked into the customer service sector, you know we hate it when this happens.
A ticket is reopened when the solution provided does not work as per the expectations.
Believe me, you do not want this number to be high.
22. No. of tickets resolved
And you want this number as high as it can be.
It specifies the number of tickets that are resolved in a particular duration.
23. No. of tickets unresolved
On the contrary to resolved tickets, this is the number of unresolved (open) tickets in a particular duration.
24. Onboarding and training
I might burst your bubble here, but unlike popular opinion, onboarding and training are two different teams and activities under customer service.
Onboarding includes creating accounts (in case of SaaS) for users, configuring them and making them ready to use for your customers.
Whereas, training includes providing end-to-end training to your customers in order to help them understand and use the product properly.
25. Quality analysis
Quality analysis is the process of monitoring and analysing the interactions between your customers and your customer service department with an aim to improve customer experience.
Often, companies have a separate role for quality analysts in the service department for seamless evaluations.
26. Quality assurance
Quality assurance is often a part of the SLA, where you promise a standard of quality in your products and services.
Say, product companies mention 99.99% uptime, which is the assurance of quality and stability you can expect when using their product.
27. Resolution rate
The resolution rate is calculated as the ratio of the number of tickets resolved against the number of new tickets created in a time frame.
You want the resolved tickets to be higher than the influx to make sure that your customer service department is not overburdened with issues getting raised.
28. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
An SLA, or a service level agreement, is the agreement between a customer and a service/product provider that outlines the approach, medium and responsibilities of both parties in order to achieve the best out of the product/service provided.
An SLA is important in customer service, as the entire department has to adhere to the clauses that are mutually agreed to.
29. Shift management
If you have managed a customer support team, you are familiar with this term.
Nothing, I repeat, nothing is tiring as this is.
This customer service term, shift management is the process of planning and managing shifts of different customer service representatives, through weekdays, weekends, festivals, holidays and time of the day.
If you provide 24×7 support, do not forget night shifts.
30. Subject Matter Expert (SME)
Subject matter expert is a person in your organization who knows the in and out of a product you provide.
That’s not to say that your support execs aren’t familiar with your offerings, but a subject matter expert is someone who understands the product and the history behind it better owing to a longer time spent with the product.
Often, the subject matter expert is also a middleman between the customer support and the product development teams.
31. Support channels
As the name suggests, customer support channels are the mediums you use to provide support and serve your customers.
These can be:
- Live chat
- Phone call
- Ticket System
- Twitter / Social media
Did you know: A lot of major brands like Amazon, Zappos, Sephora, IKEA, Domino’s and more, excel at providing customer support on Twitter.
These channels help your customers find their way to your customer support team.
32. Ticketing system
A ticketing system is an application used at an organization to centralize and organize the entire customer service process.
A ticket is a query your customers raise through any channel, to which any available support agent can respond to and resolve.
Applications like ZenDesk, FreshWorks, HelpScout, Zoho Desk are examples of customer service ticketing systems.
Well, that’s all I can share about customer service terms and their definitions which you should know (unless Manasi makes me rewrite this whole thing).
If you want to understand any other customer service terminologies you might have heard about, do drop them in the comments section below.
And if you need help to implement these terms and the entire service department, go ahead and explore our customer experience consulting.