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Mastering The Art of Time Management in Customer Service

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July 10, 2023
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 min read
Jonathan Sidor

Frustrated customers. Challenging KPIs. Lengthy ticket queues. Customer service agents never seem to have enough time.

It’s no surprise customer service jobs rank as one of the most stressful occupations out there.

the 5 most stressful occupations
Source: London Medical Laboratory

And the effects of this stress are clear. 74% of contact center reps are at risk of burning out, and customer service departments can see turnover rates as high as 45%, double the average of any other department

If the pressure of working in customer service is getting to your team, there’s good news. Effective time management techniques can help them better manage their workload and make the job itself more fulfilling.

Say goodbye to endless multitasking. Here are 7 expert tips for better time management in customer service.

Top tips for improved time management in customer service

1. Pen a to-do list

When looking to better manage your time, it helps to start with the tried and true method of writing down all your tasks to keep yourself organized. Prepare a to-do list daily or weekly to focus on your top priorities. 

Unforeseen scenarios often pop up in customer support and can throw everything out of whack, so don’t sweat the things you can’t control and leave some wiggle room in your schedule. By staying on top of your most urgent tasks, you’ll find yourself working with a more manageable workload.

Find out how to level up your team’s efficiency with our blog post, How to Make Your Customer Service More Efficient Without Harming the Customer Experience.

2. Work within a timeframe 

Developing a deeper relationship with a customer can take up a fair bit of time. As a result, other duties often get pushed back, and agents are left scrambling to make up for lost time.

Our next time management tip is establishing a timeframe. Set a maximum time that you can allocate for each customer ticket. You’ll naturally start interacting with customers more efficiently.

Worried that you’ll be too abrupt? Don’t be. As long as you’re emphasizing that you’re trying to save customers time, they’ll likely appreciate direct communications that get to the heart of their issues.

Learning to delegate tasks to other team members can be helpful if you’re struggling to fit within a given timeframe. When you know colleagues are available to take on important tasks, you can better grasp how much you have to do and plan your time accordingly. 

3. Take care of yourself

When it comes to good time management, never underestimate the significance of self-care. A healthy work-life balance is vital for success in any field. If your organization doesn’t provide adequate breaks already, learn to find some valuable you time throughout the day. 

Two or three 15-minute breaks each day ought to do the trick. Grab a coffee, get some fresh air, and give yourself a chance to recharge your batteries. Block this time off at the start of each week. That way, others will know not to book you for meetings, and it’ll be easier to hold yourself to your breaks. 

And your boss shouldn’t mind — 86% of employers say taking a break makes employees more productive.

4. Embrace omnichannel capabilities

Manually going back and forth between different support channels can waste a lot of time for customer service agents. Many brands let customers reach out over chat, email, social media, mobile apps, and more, and agents have to be available to handle these messages. Mindful of delivering a consistent customer experience, agents should monitor messaging across your channels to ensure high-quality interactions each time.

Sounds like a lot, huh? Don’t worry — our next time management tip is embracing an omnichannel approach that can simplify much of this busy work for you.

An omnichannel infrastructure syncs up all your support channels under a single umbrella. As a result, agents enjoy real-time access to every customer exchange in one place. Customer support team members won’t need to spend time hunting down relevant customer data or patching up any inconsistent messaging. 

5. Act on customer feedback

Another valuable time management skill is tapping into and acting on customer feedback. Here, you can take advantage of your support team’s quality assurance (QA) procedures. 

By collecting feedback after customer interactions, agents can learn customer pain points first-hand and prevent future problems from escalating, or better still, from ever occurring.

Giving customers an avenue to share their opinions — both positive and negative — doesn’t just raise customer satisfaction. It gives agents a clearer picture of what matters most to shoppers. Armed with this info, agents can take proactive measures that’ll eliminate entire tickets down the road, lightening their workload and saving untold work hours. 

6. Eliminate repetitive tasks

Repetitive tasks are one of the biggest stressors in customer service. Another time management tip is finding a way to diminish how much time this redundant work can eat up.

For example, repetitive Where’s my order? (WISMO) customer tickets can account for up to 35% of all queries that an ecommerce business’s customer service team receives. Since most of these questions require a standard response, having pre-built answers can potentially save you hours every day.

An automation solution like a chatbot can handle your most common FAQs, freeing up human agents to focus only on complex customer issues that require their attention.

Outside of basic chat messages, automation tools can also gather customer data, route tickets to the best-equipped agents, and recommend automation templates, taking a host of time-consuming actions off agents’ plates. 

For a crash course on how AI-powered automation is revolutionizing customer service, download our free ebook, An Introduction to AI in Customer Service

7. Leverage generative AI

By now, you’ve probably heard that ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools can be applied to various professional tasks. Jobs done by customer service representatives are no exception.

Generative AI programs can be applied to customer service tasks like translating text, checking answers for spelling and grammar mistakes, and crafting customer responses that fit a specific tone, style, and length.

They can help in more diverse ways too, such as creating calendars, prioritizing tasks, and breaking down larger projects into smaller, more approachable sections.

Simplified customer service time management

You could take on each of our tips on your own to hone your time management skills, but leading AI customer service automation platforms can streamline your most time-intensive workflows, freeing up agents and unlocking your team’s efficiency in the process. 

Zowie’s AI-powered customer service software delivers instant time-saving benefits to agents, automating 70%+ of customer chats while offering an all-in-one inbox that collects customer data, recommends automations, and analyzes customer feedback for you.

Zowie even boasts built-in generative AI features capable of generating unique, engaging, on-brand responses that handle even more work for managers and agents alike.