Realizing you need to hire more customer service agents when they can’t keep up with growth can be stressful. It’s not simple to find good people and onboard them quickly, especially when a new marketing campaign or product takes off. 

But there are always ways to drive big efficiencies, many of which can be implemented very quickly. If you’re not using any of these, this can increase the capacity of your team anywhere from 20 to 30% a few days of getting it dialed in.

We run 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for over 100 e-commerce stores. We live and die by workflow and efficiency, and in this post, I will walk through a few aspects of our workflow that you can easily implement.

Segment Ticket Types Automatically

If you can get to the point where your team can process specific types of tickets in one sitting, their efficiency will go way up. For example, cranking through 20 or 30 order tracking questions at the same time is much faster than shifting from order tracking to returns to product questions.

To do this, you need to set high-level ticket types for the business and then automate the segmentation of those tickets. 

Broadly, categorizing tickets as order tracking, returns, product, and other is a good start. The other category can eventually get splintered off into a few more categories.

But manually segmenting all of these ticket types would be crazy. It’s best to automate as much as you can based on rules that categorize or tag tickets based on keywords or phrases in the tickets. This won’t be perfect, but it will get you a long way in automating segmentation of tickets so your team can work in large batches. 

Streamline Intake 

Once you’ve automated segmentation of ticket types, you can improve your ticket intake process.

  • The goal here is to not have a single “new tickets” view that everyone works from, but instead to have a few different inboxes that will help you prioritize which tickets to work on first.
  • Also, you can split out tickets that received a reply from the customer versus brand new tickets.

This will enable you to prioritize one or the other, possibly having it be different for certain types of tickets. For example, replies on a return ticket type might be lower priority than replies on a product question since the product question can turn into a sale.

Require and Train on Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’re already using keyboard shortcuts, you know they can save you a ton of time. This part of the recommendations alone can increase your team’s efficiency anywhere from 10 to 20%. 

You will get some pushback from your team on micromanaging here, but if you take the time to figure out what level of keyboard shortcut workflows will have the most impact then you can be a bit more focused when you ask the team in using Shortcuts.

Here are the basics:

  • Use keyboard shortcuts for navigating between tickets in a view, searching for a ticket, creating a new ticket, and moving between fields of a ticket. Doing all of this without touching the mouse saves a ton of time.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to tag tickets and assign tickets to other team members. You can also use it to shift to writing a note to a team member rather than a public reply. Again, you’re basically streamlining your workflow working on a specific ticket without touching the mouse.
  • Within your browser, you can use keyboard shortcuts to open new tabs, navigate to the website address bar, navigate between new tabs, toggle between browser windows such as help desk and order tracking, and much more.

Find someone on your team that’s already working really efficiently, work with them to figure out the most impactful shortcuts, and then put together a simple training for your team to leverage this.

Once you’ve made it simple for them to work like this, get to the point where you require it either directly or based on benchmarking metrics. It may take a push to get them over the hump of using shortcuts, but it’s a massive efficiency boost when you get it right.

What’s next?

Even if you’re not scrambling to keep up with the volume of customer service, getting these things in place will enable you to scale much more efficiently.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to clarify details in a Strategy Call. We are process nerds here at HelpFlow. Even if we do not work together, you’ll get a ton of value from strategizing on the call together. Book a time that works for you by clicking below. Always happy to help! 

Jon Tucker


Jon Tucker is CEO of HelpFlow, a provider of 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for 100+ eCommerce stores. Launched in 2015, their team of agents has produced nearly $100M in chat revenue for a wide range of stores using a conversion-focused approach to live chat.


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