Escalation management

What is the escalation management process?

The escalation management process creates measures to deal with potential customer challenges in customer service. These measures are also known as escalation paths and insure a company against customer dissatisfaction.

Escalation management focuses on customer satisfaction. It ranks customer service issues in order of severity and assigns them to the appropriate employee or customer service agent.

Most companies have an escalation document containing their escalation management process for different scenarios.

The escalation management process can be either reactive or proactive. Reactive escalation management deals with an issue after a customer complains. In contrast, proactive escalation management takes care of potential problems before they happen.

Why does escalation management matter in customer service?

No matter how great your customer support service is, there are bound to be a few lapses from time to time. Having a strategy for ticket and customer escalation management helps solve these lapses as soon as they happen.

Why might be escalation necessary:

  • The customer’s initial contact doesn’t have enough knowledge or expertise to resolve the issue;
  • The customer isn’t satisfied with a resolution and demands to speak with a higher authority on the team, e.g. the manager;
  • There are too many queries, and the current customer support agent can’t attend to them as quickly as customers would like.

These are just a few of the many scenarios that could require an escalation procedure.

Escalation management is key to customer retention. Thus, it cannot be ignored in building a sustainable company. It is also an effective way to resolve customer conflicts quickly.

This is why you must use customer help desk software that integrates escalation management into its functions. This way, you can tackle your customers’ issues faster and provide them with quick solutions.

LiveAgent multichannel help desk software

Types of escalation management

Different types of issues require different escalation paths. Based on this, escalation management falls into two main categories:

  • Functional
  • Hierarchical

Functional escalation management

Usually, customer support agents are equipped to deal with conventional conflicts with customers. However, when customers report complex issues that the agent cannot handle, the agent transfers them to the appropriate department. The process is known as functional escalation.

Hierarchical escalation management

Sometimes, grey zone conflicts might occur where the agent is not sure how to resolve a customer’s request. Instead of delaying the response, the best cause of action is to transfer the request up the chain of command to a supervisor. This is called hierarchical escalation management.

Hierarchical escalation management also applies when an automated support channel such as a scenario when a chatbot can’t effectively resolve a customer’s issue. In this case, the request should be transferred to an actual agent.

Escalation management

How do you handle escalation management with help desk software?

Help desk software like LiveAgent will make your escalation management process seamless. It ensures that every customer query is handled at the appropriate level of service. Here are specific ways it can help you do this:

Escalation management through ticketing

Ticketing is an important part of help desk software. It helps a customer service team manage customer requests in an efficient and organized manner. It creates catalogs for each customer request called a ticket.

LiveAgent tickets overview mockup

The ticket can be easily and quickly transferred between agents when escalation is necessary. The LiveAgent software, for example, automatically converts customer service requests into tickets regardless of the communication. It also transfers tickets to the next agent on the escalation path after a specific time elapses without a resolution.

Escalation management through a call center

A call center is a centralized part of customer service that handles many phone calls from customers. This feature is commonly used by companies with many business contacts.

Escalation management through call centers involves transferring a customer’s call from the current call center agent to another.

Escalation management through live chat

Live chat allows you to handle customer queries via chat instead of emails or calls. The live chat feature enables escalation management by routing conversations automatically to the appropriate agent based on the customer’s query.

Escalation management through social media

LiveAgent help desk software facilitates escalation management through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter by converting all notifications to tickets.

Connect Twitter with Help desk software - LiveAgent

Your customer interactions are collected from all your social media platforms into the help desk tool and converted into tickets that are transferred to the right decision-makers in an escalation process.

Escalation management through a customer portal

A customer portal is a self-service tool that provides customers with complete access to information that might be relevant to their queries. This is especially useful if your customer service runs only on business days.

Knowledgebase customization in Customer portal software - LiveAgent

Customers can also reach out to an agent through the portal if they need more answers to their queries. In this scenario, the request is escalated to an agent. This feature also allows customers to give feedback that you can use to improve internal business processes.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the escalation management process?

The escalation management process is the act of creating measures to deal with potential customer challenges in customer service by ranking issues in order of severity and assigning them to the appropriate employee or customer service agent.

Why does escalation management matter in customer service?

An effective escalation management strategy deals with lapses that may occur in customer service. It is key to customer retention and helps you build a sustainable company.

What are the types of escalation management?

Escalation management falls into two main categories: functional and hierarchical escalation management.

How do you handle escalation management?

Using reliable help desk software like LiveAgent is a great way to handle escalation management regardless of the communication channel. With features like ticketing, you can organize and transfer customer requests with ease within your customer service team.

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Expert note

Effective escalation management is crucial in providing exceptional customer support. Promptly identifying and directing issues to higher support levels ensures prompt resolution and satisfied customers.

Andrej Saxon
Andrej Saxon
Sales manager
Get to know who escalation manager is. Understand in-depth explanations from professionals.

Escalation manager

An escalation manager is responsible for overseeing escalation management procedures to increase customer satisfaction. This involves implementing and maintaining escalation plans, assigning requests to the appropriate team, resolving complex issues efficiently, and analyzing performance metrics for improvement recommendations. Escalation managers are important for resolving customer service lapses promptly, managing the escalation process effectively, and equipping agents with training to handle complex issues. They typically require executive-level communication skills and a relevant college degree or work experience in customer service. Best practices for escalation managers include prioritizing customer satisfaction, creating SLAs for agents to follow, equipping agents with tools to handle complex issues, training customer-facing reps, and using findings from escalations to improve procedures.

Get to know what escalation is. Understand in-depth explanations from professionals.


Escalation in customer service refers to the situation when a first-line support agent cannot resolve a customer's issue, leading to passing the problem to another team member with appropriate expertise (functional escalation) or higher-level authority (hierarchical escalation). Escalation is not always negative and can happen due to insufficient agent knowledge, miscommunication, or SLA violation. Conflict escalation occurs when involved parties cannot agree on a course of action. Signs of escalation include customers demanding to speak with a manager. A comprehensive escalation matrix and appropriate customer support training can prevent escalation. Escalation rate is the percentage of support requests escalated beyond first-line support and is measured to evaluate a company's support process effectiveness.

Get to know more about de-escalation. Understand customer support concepts in-depth with simple explanations from professionals.


De-escalation is a customer service strategy that aims to ease a customer's negative emotions and prevent conflict escalation. Agents are trained in verbal de-escalation to handle irate customers, and there are three stages to the process: dialysis, mental skin graft, and raising oxytocin while lowering cortisol levels. Effective de-escalation techniques include maintaining composure, active listening, showing empathy, and following up with a resolution. Help desk software can also aid in managing escalations through ticketing, call center, live chat, social media, and customer portal. Employee collaboration can also help in resolving complex issues and reducing escalation rates.

Highrise is a cloud-based CRM tool that will help you keep track of previous deals and issues with your contacts. Read more about the Highrise integration.

Integration: Highrise CRM

Highrise CRM is a cloud-based tool for Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It helps businesses engage with customers and keep track of their problems. LiveAgent integrates directly with Highrise, allowing businesses to manage data and provide quality help desk support. The integration also allows agents to see previous deals and problems with a customer, providing accurate and quick responses. Installing Highrise is easy, just activate it in the Plugins section and get the API key. Other related resources are listed at the end of the text.

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