5 Signs You Need a New Support Rep

Should you hire your next support rep? 5 warning signs that mean you're understaffed.

Written by on February 13, 2014

For a support superstar, nothing can make a day like a happy customer. But analytics and reports exist for a reason – when the day ends, numbers matter. And the ugly ones in your helpdesk reports have been telling you of late that it is time to hire a new support rep.

But numbers are as mysterious as they are helpful. If you don’t know where to look, they could trick you into making all the wrong decisions. Your backlog might scream “hire somebody before we break”. But your average response time is still under two hours. Now, to hire or not hire, that is the question.

If you are in this Hamletian dilemma, read on. Here are a couple of metrics that can exactly tell you whether or not it is time to bring in another soldier into your team.

The numbers you should keep an eye on:

1) Average resolution time

The average resolution time is the average time it takes for a ticket to move from Open (and through any number of states) to Resolved. This is how long it usually it takes for a problem in your helpdesk to get solved and completely interred by an agent.

Ideally (and this is our opinion), a ticket should be resolved within three days of its birth. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that three days should be a hard upper limit, no matter what the ticket. A sudden increase in ticket volumes might cause this number to surge up for a particular week or two (the weeks before Christmas come to mind). But if this number is persistently high, you should definitely be on the lookout for a new support rep.

Where should you look for it in Freshdesk: Helpdesk at a Glance

2) The Average first response time (and by proxy, Average Response Time)

You know you’re not understaffed when your average first response time is something along the lines of thirty minutes, give or take about an hour. Unless you have a sudden surge in ticket volume, it’s a good sign if your average first response time is always under two hours. This means your agents are never so avalanched by tickets, that it takes them hours to get to a new one (minutes are the ideal unit, according to us).

Where should you look for it in Freshdesk: Helpdesk at a Glance

3) The number of Backlog Tickets

You know you need a new support rep when you realize that the number of unresolved tickets at the end of each day (aka backlog) has slowly been creeping up as the weeks pass. Sure, it’s normal for a sudden spike to occur if you’ve introduced a new feature, or if there have been some backend changes. It’s just an indication that your customers (and your agents too) are learning as they go. But if the spike becomes the new normal, it’s a red alert sign that your support team is understaffed.

Where should you look for it in Freshdesk: Helpdesk at a Glance

4) Tickets resolved and tickets resolved within the SLA.

 You know you’re doing a rather abysmal job of supporting your customers if not a day goes by without an SLA violation. An SLA is a great way to negotiate expectations between your support team and customers; your customers know the upper limit on the amount of time they have to wait for a response and your support team knows how long is too long. So, if you plot the number of tickets resolved versus the number of tickets resolved within your SLA, and the graphs aren’t so close together (ideally, they should appear like one line), well… it’s a sign that your support team needs a boost. And a quick one.

Where should you look for it in Freshdesk: Helpdesk Load Analysis Report

5) The number of tickets and the number of resolved tickets

Not all work hours are the same. Some are slow, languid afternoons where every moment feels like an eternity. And there are periods of time which keep you on your toes, barely able to keep up with the tickets flowing into your helpdesk. If at certain times of the day, the number of incoming tickets and number of resolved ones have a high discrepancy, it is a good time to worry. Of course, this doesn’t necessitate hiring a new support rep; you can switch around one of your agents to make sure your team is always capable of handling the load. Or make use of a day pass to add an agent whenever it’s necessary.

Where should you look for it in Freshdesk: Helpdesk Load Analysis Report

Think we’ve missed out on something? Drop us a line telling us the things that set off your sirens before you hire a new support rep.

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