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What is ticket backlog?

Definition: Ticket backlogs are unresolved customer support tickets accumulated over a time period.

These tickets can be customer complaints, inquiries, technical assistance requests, or any other customer request with the product/service.

Tickets that get added to the backlog remain unresolved beyond their average resolution time due to their inability to be resolved, a high number of tickets, or many other factors.

How to reduce ticket backlog

There are seven strategies support teams can use to reduce ticket backlog:

Prioritizing tickets based on the urgency, impact, and time needed to resolve them as soon as they arrive lets teams focus on important solvable tickets that need to take president.

Structuring tickets into groups based on the issue, date, or other criteria lets teams resolve multiple tickets with the same issue or focus on the ones that have been unresolved the longest.

Ticket cleaning is a way to dramatically reduce the number of tickets by allowing the team to focus only on the tickets in the backlog without taking on new requests. Teams usually reserve a few hours every month to complete ticket cleaning.

Implementing self-service provides customers with the ability to solve problems on their own without the need for customer support.

Automatically reminding customers about their tickets after a few days of them not responding allows the team to close tickets that are delayed due to customers forgetting about them.

Fixing recurring problems with the product lowers the number of tickets as customers have one less issue to request help with.

Increasing team capacity will spread new tickets to more support representatives reducing the time it takes to resolve issues and increasing the number of tickets the team can solve.

Ticket backlog benchmarks

They are used to measure the support team's performance in managing incoming tickets and help identify areas of improvement.

This benchmark is set by the support team based on the industry they work in, the product, team size, and support channels being used.

To measure the support team's effectiveness compared to their benchmarks, teams use the average ticket backlog, which measures the average number of unresolved tickets.

The industry benchmarks are:

E-Commerce - 100 Average Ticket Backlog (Tickets)

Software - 50 Average Ticket Backlog (Tickets)

Healthcare - 20 Average Ticket Backlog (Tickets)

Financial Services - 150 Average Ticket Backlog (Tickets)

The objective is to have fewer tickets in the backlog than the benchmark and for those tickets not to be older than the set time (30 days is the industry standard).

What metrics can be used to monitor ticket backlog?

Ticket volume measures the number of customer requests over a period.

First response time measures the time it takes for the team to respond to a customer request.

Resolution time measures the time it takes for customer support to resolve a request.

Average ticket age measures the time a ticket remains unresolved.

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Article FAQs

How do you handle a ticket backlog?
Prioritize the oldest tickets first and communicate clearly with customers about the status of their requests. Consider increasing staffing or implementing automation tools to reduce the backlog over time. Continuously monitor and adjust your approach as needed to prevent future backlogs.
Why is ticket backlog important? 
A ticket backlog is important to address as it can lead to longer resolution times, increased customer frustration, and decreased customer satisfaction. It can also impact team morale and productivity.
What is the difference between ticket backlog and ticket volume?
Ticket volume is the number of customer requests the support team receives over a certain period, while the ticket backlog is the number of unresolved customer requests in a certain period. Ticket volume can impact the ticket backlog if the customer support team cannot resolve tickets quickly, making the tickets pile up in the backlog.
Why is it important to monitor and manage ticket backlog?
A high number of tickets in the backlog slows down the support process as customer support needs to resolve issues from the backlog while new requests are piling up, which leads to customer dissatisfaction.‍By monitoring the ticket backlog, teams are able to identify areas for improvement (team members, support systems, communication…) which leads to lower numbers in the backlog, improving customer satisfaction and team efficiency.

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