Trouble ticketing software

Build a reputation for speedy customer service with trouble ticketing software.

A guide to trouble ticketing

In your search for customer service software, you may have come across something called trouble ticketing. Many businesses are already turning to this useful tool to help them track and handle customer issues. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the most common questions people have about trouble ticketing, including:

What is a trouble ticketing system?

In a perfect world, all your customers would be able to use your product with zero problems—and many of them do. But there will always be a portion of your customer base that will have issues. And since you’re the expert on your product, you’ll be the first one they turn to for help.

A trouble ticketing system is a tool your customer service reps can use to better handle issues your customers may be experiencing with your product. Having a system like this is a good way of ensuring that difficulty with your product doesn’t turn into frustration. Because frustrated customers, or customers forced to reach out to you multiple times, might start thinking that they’d be better off going to the competition.

To be clear, trouble ticketing doesn’t directly solve your customers’ problems. That rests entirely on the skill and speed of your teams. Trouble ticketing is simply a tool for your customer service reps to organize the way in which they address customer problems.

Why is a trouble ticket system important?

Customers today expect their problems to be resolved quickly. Being responsive to their needs is vital to keeping your business thriving and building strong customer loyalty, as your clients learn that they can rely on you for a quick turnaround when they come to you with an issue.

The trouble is, you may not be able to afford an army of customer service representatives poised at their phones and keyboards 24/7. Even if you do, they probably aren’t psychic, which means it can take time to work out exactly what the problems are. No matter how hard your reps try to take care of everyone, someone ends up waiting. And when your customers wait too long, they begin to feel as if they’re not a priority.

Trouble ticketing provides you with an avenue for fielding customer concerns quickly and in methodical fashion. And while you may not be able to solve the problem right away, you can still communicate with your customers to keep them informed about how close you are to a resolution. This eliminates the uncertainty and wondering. And most importantly, it offers a reminder to your customer that you value their patronage.

What does SLA mean?

As you dig more into the world of trouble ticketing, you’ll come across the acronym SLA, which stands for service level agreement. An SLA is basically a promise to your customers about the assistance you can provide in case there’s an issue with your product. For your customer service representatives, the SLA is the standard they work towards in everything they do.

When it comes to trouble tickets, having a service level agreement in place establishes a timeframe for the customer. When a trouble ticket is created, your reps can give customers a realistic timeframe in which to expect their problem to be fixed. This prevents the customer from reaching out multiple times, further jamming up your reps’ valuable hours. Setting a standard beforehand, and then following through with it, gives your customers a level of reassurance that their issue is being processed.

What does a trouble ticket system do?

Trouble ticket systems create a fast and organized way for you to field customer issues. The moment a customer has a problem with your product, they’ll reach out to you and do their best to describe their issue. Your customer service department receives this information and creates a ticket, which is then entered into a single system from which you can view the full scale of how many tickets currently need attention. The customer is then notified that their ticket has been received, and typically given a timeframe so they know when they can expect a resolution.

On the surface, some people may doubt that a trouble ticket system can help more than having a live person on the phone to fix their problem. But in reality, trouble tickets save time on both ends. It does this through several important steps:

  • It collects the most necessary details about customer issues

    Before your customer service reps can fix a problem, they need to know exactly what that problem is. Unfortunately, customers don’t always have the means of clearly describing their issues, and your customer service reps can’t read minds, which can result in a lot of confusing back-and-forth.

    Trouble tickets, on the other hand, give you a framework for collecting the most relevant information to help you identify a customer’s issues. This helps eliminate the miscommunications, saving both your representatives and customers a lot of frustration.

  • It prioritizing tickets

    As tickets come in, your reps need a way to establish which ones are most urgent and should be handled first, and which ones can wait a while. However you’ve structured your service practices, you set your criteria and then assign a ticket priority according to those standards. Priority levels are typically labeled as:

    1. Normal
    2. Low
    3. High
    4. Urgent

    Prioritizing tickets in this way allows you to focus efforts where they’re most needed, while also ensuring issues are handled within the timeframe agreed to in your SLA. In the same way a plane is boarded by calling certain passengers first, using ticketing during the customer service process is more organized and faster than simply letting everyone in at once.

  • It ensures the issue goes to the best qualified rep

    Customers don’t usually appreciate being passed from one representative to another. But the truth is, some customer service reps understand certain issues better than others, and it may take some tries to land on the right one.

    When you’re trying to solve problems fast, it’s smart to match concerns with the person who has the best understanding of that problem. Trouble ticketing software automatically analyzes the customer’s problem and assigns them to the person who’s best suited to address their issue. This saves you and your customers the frustration of having their issue passed like a side dish from one person to the next until it lands on the right plate.

  • It gives customers an option to provide feedback

    After a customer’s issue has been resolved, they can leave feedback about their experience. This allows you to further refine your trouble ticketing system so you can provide even better service down the road. It’s also a great way of showing your customers that you’re constantly working to improve your level of care.

What are the types of trouble tickets?

Not every problem requires the same kind of attention. That’s because some issues are a result of a larger internal problem, while others occur because of external issues that take longer to identify and solve.

When your agents do a first review of tickets, they can segment them into different categories, which helps the system prioritize and pass them to the best qualified representatives.

  1. Question tickets

    Sometimes customers need to contact you not because something has gone wrong, but because they simply have a question. They may be asking about changing payment options, updating contact information, or adding new users to an account. These tickets will be marked differently than those reporting a problem or incident, then passed along to someone who can reach back out to the customer with the best information for answering that question.

  2. Incident tickets

    Sometimes things go wrong across the board, whether because of human error or external influences. This can be a service outage in a particular area, or a similar wide-spread problem that affects multiple customers at once. When that happens, multiple tickets are likely to come in alerting you of the problem. When an incident occurs, all of the incoming incident tickets regarding that problem are lumped together and then marked as “solved” the moment the issue is fixed, which saves your agents from having to process each individual ticket.

  3. Problem tickets

    Problem tickets are different from incident tickets in that they’re limited to individual users. This may be because there’s a deficiency with that particular product, or because the end-user has a unique challenge with their product that no one else has experienced. Problem tickets may remain open for a slightly longer period of time than incident tickets, because even though the issue is limited to one user, it may be indicative of a larger problem that’s been going unnoticed.

  4. Task tickets

    A task ticket is used to assign a ticket to a particular agent. Marking a task ticket also sets a due date, so the team knows when the ticket is expected to be resolved. The due date is defined as 12pm in that account’s local time on the chosen day.

What should you look for in a trouble ticketing system?

As you’re shopping around for the right trouble ticketing system for your business, keep your eyes peeled for these key features to make sure you get the most out of your investment:

  • User-friendliness

    The whole point of having a trouble ticket system is to make serving your customers fast and simple. For this reason, it’s vital that you select a system that allows you to customize a user-friendly experience for your customer service reps. Because if they have to struggle with a confusing interface, your customers will feel the slowdown. Check out providers that promise intuitive interfaces and customization, so you can have total control over how your service reps can operate.

  • Omnichannel support

    Your customers communicate over a variety of channels, which means your ticketing software should, too. Omnichannel support helps you consolidate all of your customer interactions onto a single channel, even if you’ve communicated with them over email, live chat, social media, or phone. This prevents customers from having to repeat themselves, and helps you stay up-to-date on their past interactions with your representatives.

  • Reporting

    Managers should know exactly how their service reps and software are performing. To do that, they can schedule regular reports to be delivered right to their inbox, so they can view performance metrics and get an idea of their team’s strengths and weaknesses. With accurate reporting, managers can ensure that their team is successfully upholding their service level agreement.

  • Surveys

    After the issue has been resolved, you want to know how your team and the system performed. Every customer interaction has the potential to help or harm the relationship, and knowing exactly where you may have misstepped (or where you nailed it) can be enormously helpful in making changes going forward.

    Not every customer is going to spare the time to give feedback, but any data is better than none. Your ticketing system should provide a fast and approachable method for providing feedback. This way, you can get a clear idea of where your team is excelling, and where they may need some further assistance.

How does Zendesk trouble ticket software help?

The folks at Zendesk know that your customer service reps aren’t mind-readers, much as they might like to be. But they do understand how easy it is for customers to get frustrated when they encounter problems. That’s why they designed their trouble ticketing software to make your customer service team as proactive as possible, allowing them to offer support, provide needed information, or start a conversation.

Zendesk's ticketing system offers more action and less talk, delivering real-time solutions to solve customer tickets, trouble tickets, and manage customer engagement.

Zendesk is so seamless it makes customer service seem like magic. Our free night vision goggles...just kidding. Using Zendesk Embeddables, companies can reach out and offer support, provide information, or start a conversation. Your teams can reach out before there is a need for a service ticket, automatically route trouble tickets to the correct help desk team, and instantly understand the issue without needing the customer to elaborate.

  • Initiate workflow triggered by ticket changes or time-based conditions
  • Create and share their own macros in order to quickly respond with a standard response and set of actions to common response
  • Respond to customer requests even when away from the office
  • Connect your favorite business tools. Bring customer context and information to where it’s needed in Zendesk or connect ticket information into your business

Zendesk’s trouble ticket platform offers dynamic features for empowering customers and saving your agents time and effort. Workflow is automatically triggered by ticket changes or time-based conditions, meaning the customer service process can move forward without your agents constantly checking in. They can also create and share their own macros, letting them respond quickly to a common response. And with mobile access, agents can offer assistance even when they’re out of the office.

Frequently asked questions

Now that you know what a trouble ticketing system does, it’s possible you still have some questions about the finer points. Here are some commonly asked questions surrounding trouble tickets, and the benefits they can bring to your customer service team.

What does it mean to consolidate trouble tickets?

Consolidating trouble tickets means collecting all of your tickets onto a single platform, no matter where they came from. Because your customers can reach you through multiple channels, each individual is going to contact you in their preferred way. Without consolidation, this could spell major headaches for your customer service reps as they try to juggle channels and platforms. Consolidating your trouble tickets gives your team a comprehensive view of how many open tickets they have, without having to constantly switch between platforms.

How do you write a trouble ticket?

The important thing to keep in mind when writing a ticket is to be as clear and concise as possible. Asking the right questions and entering the right information will give you the clearest path forward to solving your customer’s issues. It’s also helpful to look at past interactions with that customer, in case there are more helpful details about what product they’re using, and if they’ve had similar issues before.

What if you end up not liking the trouble ticketing software after you buy it?

Sometimes you commit to a software platform that just doesn’t fit your workflow. To avoid discovering this after the fact, it’s best to give software a test drive before buying. As you shop around, look for providers who offer free trials, so you can be 100% sure when you purchase that you’re getting something you know will be useful.

How do you manage tickets easily?

Having a well-trained customer service team is the first step towards making sure your ticketing software will boost productivity. Communicate clearly with the team, and implement their strategies directly into whatever ticketing system you’re trying out. Don’t forget to take full advantage of reporting options, so you can make data-driven decisions to continue perfecting your customer service in the future.

Try trouble ticket software for free

Don’t commit to just any ticketing software before ensuring it meets your needs. Make the best choice for your customer service team by trying out a free trial of Zendesk Suite trouble ticketing platform. Signing up is easy and commitment-free, allowing you to start building a cleaner, more efficient way of solving customer issues today.