What Is the Support Ticket Escalation Workflow?

An illustration of elevator buttons, the up button glowing, representing the support ticket escalation workflow.

Customer support is about finding out what someone needs and lining that up with the right solution. It’s about turning what might start out as a negative interaction into a positive one. It’s rigorous, technical work. But sometimes, you just can’t solve the problem on your own. When this happens, a ticket will often need support from other people, from developers all the way up to the CEO. When this happens, you need a quick, efficient support ticket escalation workflow.

Let’s go over this workflow and its common hurdles.

Defining the support ticket escalation workflow

If a workflow is a map for getting work done, a support ticket escalation workflow follows a ticket’s path from new to resolved whenever it goes from customer support to another team. Whenever a customer has a problem that their dedicated agent can’t fix, that agent typically has to escalate it to another internal team, such as engineering or billing.

With this workflow, managers are looking at improving communication between customer support teams and other internal teams, as well as the overall time it takes to close an escalated ticket. All to hit established metrics and ensure customers are satisfied with the service they get. And that’s usually where the road bumps come in.

Common friction points of a support ticket escalation workflow

Customer service is already challenging. Customer success agents need to be absolute experts on their product, as well as mastering an array of soft skills like communication and organization. Escalating a ticket complicates things, because the CSA becomes a middleperson between the customer and whoever was brought in for backup. The CSA doesn’t control the interaction anymore, and the responsibility for resolving the issue isn’t theirs. They have to juggle keeping the client updated and making sure progress is being made. All while handling their regular support load. Here are the friction points that come with this.

Difficult communication

Maintaining consistent communication is important for any team. But for this workflow, that need is taken to a whole new level. Customer support work is time-sensitive. When the escalate switch gets flipped, a support ticket has to go from CSA to its destination as quickly as possible. The channel used to get that ticket from one place to another can get completely clogged without a sound strategy, especially during peak support times — like during a launch.

Customer support teams and the internal team they’re escalating to don’t usually need to communicate outside of this workflow. That might mean that the means of communication between them aren’t well-established. That can make just getting the ticket from one place to another difficult, let alone staying updated on its progress.

Opaque updates

More than maybe any other, this workflow depends on tickets and tasks being updated across tools. This is especially difficult when you consider the fact that customer support tools and the tools used by teams like engineering rarely intersect — or even integrate.

On the one hand, a CSA could be fielding frequent requests from a customer looking for updates on their issue. On the other, developers might be working hard to fix the problem, which can be hindered by constant requests for updates.

Without some way to bridge the gap, a CSA has to constantly contact the internal teams for updates, while developers have to field these requests. That can leave tickets in a sort of limbo state where the accurate information is in someone’s head rather than in a place everyone can access.

Constant copy-pasting

It’s the bane of many a workflow, but it’s real. Whenever teams aren’t using the same tools, someone somewhere has to copy updates, comments, and the like from one place and paste them somewhere else. It takes valuable time out of that person’s workday and can make even the sturdiest of workflows fall apart.

For this workflow, copy-pasting can turn what could have been a positive customer interaction into a failed transaction or, worse, a cancellation. Neither CSAs or developers have time to copy-paste, which slows information to a crawl. Worse, it can develop a sort of passivity, where a CSA’s job boils down to getting information from the customer to the developer and back again. This instead of using the array of skills they were trained  — and hired — for.

How Unito eases that friction

Just because escalating a support ticket is a process that often hits speed bumps doesn’t mean it can’t be optimized. With a workflow management platform like Unito, you can integrate the top tools on the market and streamline collaboration across teams. In practice, that means bridging the gap between support teams and whoever they’re escalating to. So what does Unito do for this workflow?

Promotes real communication

By integrating your tools, you turn those platforms from pure work management solutions into centralized communication channels. If a customer has a question, the CSA can drop it into their tool, and Unito will automatically carry it over to whatever tool the developers are using. That means a CSA can stop being just an in-between for customers and developers, and actually focus on solving problems and managing customer interactions

Achieves true transparency

Silos are the status quo for this workflow. For example, CSAs and developers interact on escalated tickets and little else. Because collaboration between the two teams is usually restricted to this workflow, their tools and processes seldom overlap.

With Unito, two very different tools can feel like they were made to work together. Any team can see important updates from where they’re more comfortable. Everything crucial, from due dates to assignees and comments, can be seen from either end of the workflow. No more middlemen, no more cluttered inboxes.

Eliminates the need for copy-pasting

For many users, this alone is a winning advantage of using Unito. Without a solid integration, information is stuck in one tool or the other. The user has to come up with a workaround to get to what they need when they need it. But when you use a workflow management platform, the barrier between tools essentially dissolves. Silos become porous, and the information that needs to get to other teams gets there without any added input.

A support ticket escalation workflow with Unito

Let’s see what Unito can do with a concrete example of a ticket escalation workflow, specifically when tickets get escalated to a development team. Imagine a customer support team field incoming requests about a new software launch. Many of the tickets generated by this launch may just come from people who need help getting familiar with a new product. But there will be plenty of bugs too, and these bugs need development help. The tickets come in to Zendesk, and when they are escalated they go to developers who work in Jira. Here’s what this process looks like, step by step:

  1. A ticket in Zendesk is flagged for escalation; an “Escalate to development” tag is added to it.
  2. The ticket is picked up by Unito and synced to Jira, where a matching issue is created automatically.
  3. Developers working on the issue leave comments and updates in the Jira issue, which are synced back to HubSpot.
  4. CSAs refer to HubSpot when getting questions from customers.
  5. Developers close the issue in Jira when the work is done, and the accompanying HubSpot ticket is closed.

Escalation without the confusion

Unito gives two disparate teams the ability to work together flawlessly. In the case of the support ticket escalation workflow, it means breaking through tool silos, communicating more easily, and never having to copy-paste an update again.

What’s next?

1. Want to learn more about what Unito can do for your support ticket escalation workflow? Find out here.
2. See the power of Unito in action.
3. Ready to start? Try Unito free for 14 days!