Customer Escalation Management Process - All You Need to Know

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The customer escalation process is an integral part of customer service that involves developing standardized procedures and workflows to manage and direct support tickets effectively.

The primary goal of escalation management is to ensure that none of your customer queries stay unaddressed and your overall customer experience has been enhanced.

In essence, the process is designed to handle escalated customer queries that now require a higher level of support. Customer service agents usually find themselves in such situations when the complexity of a query increases, and the frontline team feels the need for a more experienced person to deal with this issue.

Sometimes, customers also request escalation and ask for a more authorized individual, such as a manager or a supervisor. While escalation is integral to customer service, excessive escalations sometimes lead to negative customer feedback.

Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to effectively perform escalation management and not impact the customer experience negatively.

Role of Escalation Managers

Many companies hire escalations managers to specifically deal with the escalations to enhance customer satisfaction through extraordinary customer journeys. The hiring is done to offload the burden from customer support team agents.

These escalation managers are skilled in customer service and proficient in dealing with intricate consumer problems. They can handle challenges other team members may find daunting when dealing with consumers.

The escalation manager ensures that problems are directed to agents who have the authority to deal with the problem and are also the right person to solve it, thereby providing guidance throughout the escalation process.

Having these managers in your team can help streamline customer service activities, as their role will solely be managing the escalations. If you hire one escalation manager, that will also be enough to ensure the customer is satisfied.

Types of Escalations and their Importance

Escalation in customer service has three main types, each crucial in ensuring effective ticket resolution for every customer.

Functional Escalation Management

Functional escalation occurs when the customer service representative is not knowledgeable enough or lacks the specific skills to adequately address the customer's request. In this escalation process, the query is transferred to the person with special skills and expertise to deal with the specific issue.

For instance, a customer-facing a technical issue needs support that cannot be provided by frontline support teams, so the query has to be transferred to some experienced personnel from the IT department with the relevant knowledge to deal with the problem.


Functional escalations play a significant part as they ensure that agents are not giving misinformation to customers and that their queries are being handled by the subject matter experts. Thus, this type of escalation is crucial for fostering a positive customer journey.

Hierarchical Escalation Management

Not all escalations are functional in nature; hierarchical escalations involve someone from a higher authority, such as a manager or a supervisor, to solve the customer's query.

This involvement from higher ranking personnel can be initiated by customer request or by analyzing needs. Customers may request to talk to a senior representative, and then a hierarchical escalation will occur.

For instance, if a customer is facing a billing issue and requests the customer service agent to let them talk to a manager to resolve this billing query. This usually occurs when the customer's issue involves a policy only a senior representative can authorize.


The importance of hierarchical escalation is that it involves decision-making at a higher level of authority, meaning the decision would be more informed. Solving issues through this type of escalation addresses the customer concerns effectively.

Automatic Escalation Management

Automatic escalation is triggered by the pre-defined service level agreements (SLAs) that give an expected response and the resolution time for the specific customer's issue.

When the customer issue remains unresolved after the agreed-upon time, an automatic escalation gets activated, which notifies higher-level personnel to intervene to resolve the ticket.

For instance, if an SLA guarantees that this specific query will be resolved in seven hours and exceeds that time frame, the system automatically escalates the issue to a higher authority to ensure the problems are resolved in a timely manner.


These escalations are critical in holding the team accountable and knowing why the performance targets are unmet. This type of escalation process ensures that there are no service delays and also prevents prolonged customer dissatisfaction.

How escalation management creates seamless customer service experiences

Escalation management processes are pivotal in ensuring a positive customer service experience. They are crucial, especially when you are dealing with challenging situations despite the efforts of the frontline support team.

You must ensure comprehensive training in escalation management processes for customer service employees. These agents must understand all the steps to deal with an unresolved query.

A structured escalation process that follows the company's standards ensures that customer concerns are appropriately addressed.

Automated systems are designed to deal with regular queries, but human agents, in the end, deal with complex issues or issues sensitive to customers. This raises the need for a structured workflow to deal with customer queries.

In today's digital world, more customers give feedback that can severely impact the brand's reputation; companies cannot overlook such an important aspect of customer service: customer escalation management.

The main goal should be to not escalate the customer concern to the extent that it gets escalated to social media platforms and creates a negative brand image.

The customer service team should be expert enough to de-escalate the situation whenever needed. To have a robust escalation management process, businesses need to have both automated integration of escalation management and trained personnel to deal with customer issues.

Together, these aspects deal with customer complaints effectively and increase the overall quality of your customer service.

How to set up an Escalation Management Process

To maintain high customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, we have listed all the steps you will need to set up an escalation management process.

Creating SLAs for your team

Start the escalation process by creating service level agreements (SLAs), outlining the level of service your team will provide to customers for issue resolution.

SLAs are important to highlight because your customers will have expectations accordingly, customers with basic plan will expect their query to be resolved within three days while prop plan customers will be expecting a solution within 48 hours.

These SLAs clarify the level of service you offer your customers and hold your team accountable. You can compare the performance of your team with pre-defined SLAs and then figure out where the team is lacking and how you can help your customers have a quicker response.

Planning Escalation Scenarios

You should have an idea about the potential problems your customers can experience that are relevant to your business so you can design your customer services accordingly.

However, it is also equally important to anticipate potential escalation management scenarios that can arise from the customer service team.

Planning different escalation management scenarios and making a pre-defined structure for dealing with this specific scenario using a particular escalation process will help get things in structure. This will ensure a clear process for handling diverse escalation situations.

Listing Down Communication Protocols

When solving a customer query, keep the communication clear and transparent. Update your customers about every single step you are taking to ensure their query gets solved.

The use of the right communication channels should also be an essential consideration. Businesses need to establish a communication protocol that also suits their customer base.

Determining the Criteria of the Resolution Process

When an escalation gets solved, there should be a standard criterion to determine this. This resolution process can include closing the customer tickets in the software and communicating the resolution to the customer.

Moreover, updating team members that the ticket has been resolved and documenting this resolution on your CRM tool is also part of the process. Having such a straightforward resolution process will help businesses manage escalations effectively.

Implementation of Post Escalation Analysis

After resolving a customer's problem, it is essential to have the customer's feedback in the post-escalation analysis. This customer feedback will help you identify any areas of improvement, if there are any, and help you identify if there is any additional training required for the staff or management process.

This detailed approach will help you set an escalation management process and ensure that your team is well-equipped to handle any customer request, ultimately leading to an enhanced customer experience.

Best Practices for Effective Escalation Management

After successfully setting up an escalation management process, you must follow certain practices to ensure your customer satisfaction process is efficient and customer-centric. We have discussed these best practices in detail below.

Escalation Paths for SLA Breaches

Whenever an SLA breach occurs, you should have a predefined escalation path to address the issue. You can have multiple paths for different scenarios, including the following.

A senior manager is reaching out to the customer, assigning the junior manager the priority task or customer request, and reassigning the support ticket to an entirely different team with more authority.

These escalation paths can be customized based on how severe and urgent the breach is, but primarily, these set paths work in the escalation scenarios.

Setting these escalation paths also ensures unnecessary delays in dealing with unforeseen situations and customer requests.

Conduct a Thorough Root Cause Analysis

After resolving the escalation, conduct a thorough root cause analysis, which will notice why the issue mainly occurred.

It is done to see if the issue was raised due to negligence of the business or if it was something at the consumer's end.

Such deep analysis helps businesses prevent future escalations as they can take necessary measures for similar issues.

Train Agents on Empathy

It is extremely important to empower your agents with key skills such as empathy and positivity to handle the escalations effectively.

An essential part of customer service is ensuring that your customers feel valued and heard, which will lead to a positive experience and enhanced brand loyalty.

If the support agents are well-trained with such soft skills, they can empathize with customer's requests and patiently deal with any issue that may arise during escalation.

Thus, the training of agents is an essential consideration when setting up escalation management processes.

Keep Customer Involved

Transparent communication is the key to maintaining strong relationships with your customers. Escalation also shows that your customers might be stressed due to the issue they are facing, and hence, expect the business to communicate effectively.

During escalation, it is important to keep customers updated with the status of their problem and the steps you have taken to solve it. Only then will you be able to gain customers' trust and provide excellent customer service.

Empower Agents

Although training agents is very crucial throughout the process, equipping them with effective tools to deal with customers during escalation is also equally important.

The tools will help agents streamline the tasks and provide an analysis of the problems that consumers are facing. You can rely on Just Reply AI to streamline customer communication, as it integrates customer query management within your Slack workspace.

You will not be required to shift through multiple channels to communicate with your customers, as all your customer expectations will be communicated and will be available in one place.

How to Prevent Escalation

Preventing escalation is a proactive approach that involves keeping track of information and sharing knowledge across the support teams.

Documenting Information

Preventing escalation involves documenting information whenever escalation occurs. It ensures that all relevant details about the issue, steps taken to resolve it, and final resolution are captured.

Sharing Information

Use a centralized knowledge base accessible to all team members and make the information you document accessible to everyone.

The information should be organized in different problem categories so it is easier to find whenever needed.

Utilizing Knowledge

You should now train Tier 1 agents to leverage this knowledge base effectively to deal with similar issues in the future and not escalate the request to higher authorities every time.

This will ensure that frontline agents can deal with complex issues independently without relying on top management for every problem.

Implementing Feedback

Establish a feedback mechanism to gain input from these agents and allow them to share suggestions for improving the knowledge base.

As these agents will rely on this knowledge base, it is crucial to customize it to cater to their needs.

Summing Up

To sum it up, consumer escalations can occur either on customer request or due to the need of the hour, but setting up an escalation system that effectively manages all the requests is very important. A business must have a successful process of escalation to ensure that its customers are satisfied. 

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