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  • Writer's pictureDevon Harris

How to Stop Cherry Picking by Your Support Agents

Are your support agents engaging in cherry-picking? If so, it's important to understand the impact this can have on customer satisfaction and your support strategy.

What is cherry-picking?

In customer service, cherry-picking refers to the practice of selecting the easier or faster conversations to resolve, while leaving more complex or difficult questions in the queue. This can lead to a poor customer experience, as these questions may not receive timely responses. If left unchecked, cherry-picking can damage the culture within your support department. When high-performing support agents see that they are the only ones working with integrity, they may start to adopt the same behavior. It is important to address cherry-picking and maintain a culture of fairness and professionalism in order to retain top talent and maintain customer satisfaction.

Tips for reducing cherry-picking in Customer Support Departments

  • Clearly define criteria for prioritizing cases in the helpdesk system, such as the type or complexity of the request.

  • Automatically assign every conversation using a system like round-robin or capacity, or assign team members to answer the oldest or newest questions first and rotate them through these roles.

  • Categorize incoming support questions using tags or workflows and assign team members to specific sub-queues based on these categories.

  • Measure skill development and willingness to engage in addition to speed and volume of work, and encourage knowledge sharing among team members.

  • Add incentives for taking ownership of complex cases, such as public praise or rewards.

Ticket weights

To incentivize customer service agents and reduce cherry-picking, it is important to adjust their KPIs to accurately reflect their contributions. If an agent takes the time to handle a difficult ticket but this effort is not reflected in their KPI, they may be discouraged from tackling similar cases in the future. The best solution is to use a weighted ticket system, where the complexity or difficulty of a ticket is represented by a numerical weight. Tickets with higher weights, such as those that require multiple reopens, have complex reason codes, or are associated with a JIRA ticket, will receive higher weights, while simpler one-and-done tickets receive lower weights. By adjusting the KPI from a focus on the number of tickets solved per day to the number of weights per day, agents can be incentivized to tackle more complex cases. One major advantage of using ticket weights is that it allows you to increase competition among your support agents based on the complexity of the tickets they handle by switching your leaderboard to a ranking by average ticket weight. This can be a more meaningful metric than simply counting the number of tickets solved, as it incentivizes agents to take on more challenging tasks. At Smoothen, we can assist you in implementing ticket weighting within your support team to promote a more positive culture and reduce the tendency for cherry-picking.


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