Support Tickets: An Essential Guide
Despite best efforts, customers will inevitably run into problems with a company’s products or services. When they do, they’ll contact the company for help. This can cause a problem for organizations – how do you quickly respond to incoming questions without missing any? The bigger an organization is, the more efficient its customer service systems need to be: more agents join the team, the number of customer inquiries increases, and the stakes get higher.
If you have more than one person answering customer queries, it’s time for a customer support ticketing system. Customer support ticketing systems are an efficient way for businesses to achieve transparency and avoid internal bottlenecks when dealing with customer questions and complaints. Support ticket systems, also known as help desk software, are central databases through which all customer service requests are routed, regardless of the channel through which they arrive. This allows customer service teams to efficiently assign tickets to different agents, track productivity metrics and customer satisfaction, incorporate pre-written templates, and much more.
Companies also use ticketing systems for answering internal employee requests. For example, a company’s IT department might have a support ticket system for internal IT issues, and HR might have its own system to centralize and organize all HR questions. Employees may not even realize it, but when they send an email to ITSupport@Companyname.com, that email is actually going into a ticketing system, and being managed from there.
What is a Support Ticket?
Support tickets are commonly referred to as help desk tickets or customer service tickets. When a customer contacts your help desk with a problem, a support ticket is automatically created. This ticket is a digital record of all conversations between the customer and the help desk team. The customer service team works their way through the list of open tickets, and once each problem is solved, the tickets are closed.
What is a Support Ticket System?
A support ticket system helps growing organizations manage and respond to customer requests. Very small businesses likely respond to customers in their email inbox, over a landline, or by logging into social media platforms individually. They might even keep spreadsheets with customer details and their history stored in them. As the business grows, this becomes unmanageable and things get dropped.
A support ticketing system merges all support requests into one central help desk inbox. From there, teams can work together on customer requests, using assignments and ticket statuses to organize their workflows. Automated workflow processes can help issue tickets to the correct departments in order of urgency and importance. Help desks also gather all customer data into one place, so agents can easily see previous conversations as well as any other customer interactions. There’s no need for complex spreadsheets, or for agents to log into shared inboxes or social media accounts – all customer conversations are easily managed from one central platform.
This is even more important if you’re offering customer service over multiple communication channels. In modern-day business, a multi-channel approach is an essential part of providing excellent service, as customers can report issues using a range of different methods, including:
- Live chat
- Social media
Most modern ticketing software solutions offer multi-channel support and additional tools like customer service scripts and customization options. Some even provide portal options so customers can log in and access all of the information and documentation attached to their support ticket. Customer service reps can then spend time addressing more new cases, as the need to provide individual status updates on single service tickets is eliminated.
Examples of Support Ticket Software
There are several options to choose from, and finding the right one for your organization will ultimately depend on your scale of operation, budget, and what additional features you need. Some popular examples of ticketing software include:
- Zendesk – Great for small, medium and enterprise customer service teams, Zendesk offers multi-channel support and the flexibility to implement custom sets of rules for automated workflows whenever changes are made to a ticket. Check out our review of Zendesk here.
- HubSpot – With integration to HubSpot’s free CRM as the standard, managers can create custom dashboards and track analytics on each support ticket so team performance can be assessed across every interaction and department. Check out our review of HubSpot here.
- Salesforce – The original customer relationship management software, Salesforce integrates ticketing or case management with a wide array of business process functionality. Salesforce Service Desk is extremely powerful and customizable, but is expensive and comes with a steep learning curve.
- Kustomer – A modern help desk solution, Kustomer blends channels and integrations together into one unified timeline. It’s intuitive workflow builder helps teams put together efficient processes that get customers helped faster.
- Intercom – Intercom is a conversational messaging platform that helps businesses have better interactions with their customers. They offer bots, automation, a beautiful help center, and proactive messaging options to help customers engage with your business more successfully.
- Help Scout – This is simple, straightforward, well-designed sofware that makes supporting your customers much easier. Your customers won’t realize you’re using a ticketing system, but you’ll get all the great ticket management features that Help Scout offers. Check out our Help Scout review here.
- Gorgias – Ideal for e-commerce companies, Gorgias is a help desk that drives online sales and improves customer loyalty through quick and efficent support. Use Gorgias to engage with customers over social media, chat and email.
- Freshdesk – Freshdesk is part of the Freshworks ecosystem, which means you’ll have access to a wide array of features including a CRM, live chat, and workforce management tools. One particularly convenient aspect is the gamification feature that managers can utilize to motivate agents.
The Benefits of a Support Ticket System
There are several advantages to digitized ticket systems from both an internal and external perspective.
- No matter which channel customers use to communicate, they won’t need to repeat information if they end up in conversations with multiple agents, as the case history is in the ticket.
- Requests are answered quickly and effectively
- If the agent working on your ticket leaves for the day, someone else can pick it up and see it through to completion
- The security benefits of ticketing systems help ensure customer data stays safe and protected
- No matter what channel you use to contact customer support, the complete record is in the system
- Every agent has access to the complete inventory of customer tickets and the entire service history on each individual ticket.
- Up-to-date call logs and detailed case information allow agents to achieve quicker response times and resolve inquiries faster.
- Systems can monitor requests by keyword or product/service name and automatically route tickets to the right person in the appropriate department.
- No support tickets are forgotten or mishandled if agents are off sick or on vacation. Open tickets simply get rerouted to the next available agent.
- With automated ticket routing and prioritization, businesses save time and resources as agents can take action on a higher number of tickets per shift.
- Ticket history provides businesses with valuable data on common problems and the best practices for resolution.
- Support ticketing records can be used in staff training sessions to improve customer service and increase productivity levels.
- Detailed metrics provide information on how long each ticket sits in each status, which teams and agents perform the best, and any spikes or dips in productivity.
- Centralized data logs allows managers to monitor the actions agents take on tickets, as well as to see who has viewed which ticket for better security management. Plus, because permissions and access is managed at an individual level, your passwords and platform logins stay secure.
What to Look for in a Support Ticketing System
As you can see from the examples listed above, not all support ticket programs offer the same tools and features. There are a few essential features to look for in the solution you choose to achieve maximum operational efficiency.
Customers should have the choice of how they communicate with you. Your ticketing software needs to be capable of processing requests from various channels and merging them into one streamlined and orderly system.
Choosing a support ticket system that allows for customization of email templates, chat widgets and help center branding means you can match the look and feel of your customer service experience with your overall brand. This helps customers feel at ease when interacting with your help desk tool, because it feels like an extension of your marketing website.
As your business grows, you may find the need to support customers in their native language. Multilingual support in a help desk includes support ticket language detection, the opportunity to include translated articles in the help center, and managing templates and canned answers in multiple languages.
Alerts and filtering systems gets the right ticket to the right agent at the right time. By automating repetitive tasks and creating rules for how each support ticket is routed and assigned, delays are avoided and processing times are reduced.
Dashboard analytics enable you to track individual service tickets, agents, teams, and departments to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Your support ticketing system should be geared towards improving customer service as well as internal efficiency. Therefore, your system needs to be a quick and painless way for them to seek assistance. Emails should be easy to reply to, live chat widgets should be intuitive, and customers shouldn’t feel like they need to learn another piece of software to get in touch with you. Try submitting a ticket as a customer to see the service experience from their side.
Choose Peak Support for Help with Your Support Tickets
At Peak Support, our team of experts is here to help you pick the right platforms, channels, and support ticket services for your business.
We can help you get the most out of your existing communication channels and support ticket customer service systems with recommendations for further improvements and customizations. We’re also happy to advise on alternative strategies and options if you’ve outgrown your existing system or feel it’s not reaching its full potential. We can even help with back office services like data entry, research, design, or marketing.
Contact us today to find out more about the ways we can help you power up your business.