Escalation management: what is it and how to manage it

Customer service
Oct 19, 2022
min read
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Nowadays it’s all about giving the best service which not only includes high-quality answers but also how quickly a request is handled. As customer demands are getting higher and customer service teams are getting busier, it is more important than ever to think about how you structure your teams so that they have the best shot at providing excellent service.

And that’s where escalation management comes into play.

Escalation management gives your team the ability to focus on what they need to do and therefore provide quicker and higher quality service while keeping the expectations of your customers realistic.

In this article, we’ll explain what escalation management is and why it is important for your organization. We’ll also discuss how we set up a successful escalation process at Trengo in a team of 12 people by providing the 5 steps to set up such a process.

What is escalation management and why is it so important?

Simply put, escalation management is the process of making sure that your customer service team uses the right prioritization for all requests that come into the inbox.

Escalation management is therefore not only about agitated customers that you want to help out as quickly as possible, but also about handling complex questions where you might need more expertise.

Escalation management is the process of making sure that your customer service team uses the right prioritization for all requests that come into the inbox.

The customer service escalation process will ensure that your team knows what to do and who to reach out to, next to making sure that your customer is ensured that the right people are working on their query, and managing expectations.

Setting up an escalation process for customer service in 6 steps

Now it’s time to set up your own customer service escalation process! Just follow the next six steps and your company’s escalation process will be streamlined in no time.

1. Determine current pain points

Before we could improve our escalation management plan, we had to sit down and see what could be improved in our current process. It can be challenging to write down pain points, but this will only help you figure out what you need to prioritize. It also gives you leverage to measure the impact after the plan has been implemented.

Pain points that can occur within your escalation management could be:

  • Slow first response time due to high capacity
  • Long resolution time due to a high amount of stakeholders
  • Not enough expertise within the team to answer questions
  • Lack of ownership within the team due to unclear boundaries

2. Who goes where?

Now that you know what can be improved, you will have to figure out if you have the right people to fill the gap. Do you already have the expertise within your team or do you need to hire externally?

We wrote down the necessary skills to handle the escalated queries and based on that took a look at our current team members. Sitting down with the team members and discussing their personal interests helped us to identify who would be fit for the job, could handle more complex cases, and also take ownership.

3. Pick the right software

Once you decide the ‘what’ and ‘who’, it’s time to look into the ‘how’. How are you going to build your escalation ladder and what software can help you out?

Imagine having a conversation with a customer and you need to escalate because you cannot answer the question because more investigation is needed. In cases like this, you want to make sure that:

  • the customer is informed about the escalation
  • the whole team is aware of the importance of this ticket
  • your team lead/senior is notified about the escalation

This is where a customer engagement platform like Trengo can help. Here, you can collect conversations from all the channels you use into one inbox. With the following features, you can streamline the escalation process:

You will have to inform the customer that they will be helped accordingly. You can automate this process by using a quick reply.

Next up, you can create visibility of the escalation by placing a label on the ticket.

Trengo also allows you to automate this workflow with rules so that no ticket ever gets lost. A rule can make sure that the ticket is set to the escalation team (via Round Robin) or to your team lead and a notification is sent out.

4. Set up a process

Now it’s time to sit down with your team and write down all possible challenges first.

With these challenges, you can start defining what the common ground is and structure this in processes that are easy to follow. It might be as simple as writing down a step-by-step guide, but you may also want to look into ways to build new workflows.

Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rules, but that should not be the main focus! Find a process that works for almost all situations. Also, write down a separate process for all the times a situation/question doesn’t fit within the standard procedure. We recommend including your most senior team members in setting up these processes to make a final decision.

Once your processes are in place and you know they are working, we recommend looking into ways to automate these processes. Perhaps there is a repetitive task that just as easily can be taken over by a rule within Trengo!

5. Enable collaboration

If you want to make sure that your escalation plan works smoothly you will need to enable all team members to collaborate and communicate with each other. You can effectively use Trengo’s internal comments to discuss specific tickets, or chat with your colleagues via Team Chat. Also, make sure that the boundaries of each team are clear so that you know who to reach out to.

6. Celebrate successes 🎉

Now that you have everything in place to build a proper escalation plan, don’t forget to celebrate your success! You already took a big step toward improving your customer service, which will help both your customers and your team members.

Create your escalation management plan

With a streamlined and organized escalation management plan in place, your team will have the right tools to make customers happy. With a customer engagement platform like Trengo, you can automate the customer service escalation process with handy features like rules, labels, and quick replies.

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