support ticket system

If you offer support, you must have a support ticket system.

Customers expect a lot from companies — from personal interactions with your brand to easy online payment options to prompt product delivery. Should any of that fail to meet customers’ high expectations, they want a fast resolution and an assurance of a better experience next time. All of this points to the quality of a company’s relationships with its customers, and those working on the front lines of customer service agree. Seventy-two percent of service agents say their interactions with customers are relationship-oriented. 

Sales and marketing are known for their drive to build relationships with customers. Customer service, on the other hand, keeps the relationship strong, and has the opportunity to create loyal fans out of customers. Just like their counterparts in sales and marketing, they must be equipped with technology that helps them serve customers to the best of their ability. 

The best way to do that? Make sure your support ticketing system is on point.

What Is Support Ticketing?

Support ticketing is a system that allows you to provide support to customers, partners, and internal employees more efficiently. Think of a ticketing system as a digitized version of asking a customer to take a number and get in line: You staple that number to the person’s complaint and use it to track the issue all the way through its resolution.

These days, the ticketing process typically happens through help desk ticket software. Customers can use ticket numbers to track their inquiries through resolution, and so can company employees, from service staff to accountants to the CEO, if necessary.

Assigning and tracking ticket numbers is just the beginning. It’s what your ticketing system does with those numbers that really counts. What you do with your help desk ticketing system likely depends on what kind of system you use.

As a quick aside, there is some debate on the difference between a help desk, a service desk, and other similar terms. For the purpose of this article, these terms are interchangeable and refer to a system that manages the resolution of inquiries and issues.

External Support Ticketing

External support ticketing is commonly called customer service ticketing. It’s the way many businesses track interactions between external parties (customers, third-party contacts, and others) with their own staff (usually customer service reps). 

These ticketing systems are designed to help service reps solve all kinds of customer questions, which could include:

  • Troubleshooting the payment page on your website

  • Answering, “Where’s my package?” and other shipment questions

  • Fielding questions about how your products work

Internal Support Ticketing

Internal support ticketing serves employees and departments within your organization. If you work closely with partners or affiliates (like a mortgage company works closely with a title company, for example), you may use an internal support ticketing system to resolve issues for them, too.

The most common use for an internal ticket management system is IT support, but you may resolve other issues with this kind of system, too, especially if you work with business partners. 

Internal ticketing might not seem as important as external ticketing. After all, the most successful companies tout a customer-centric focus. However, decades of research support the idea that keeping your employees happy can also improve customer satisfaction.

Why You Need a Ticketing System

There are many reasons to upgrade your current system to a help desk ticketing system, but here are some of the most important.

You’re Growing … or Want to Be

Email is still the number one customer service channel, with 95% of companies and 98% of customers using the channel. However, using an email inbox as your primary support management system is asking for trouble, especially as your company grows and your customer base expands. Doing so means relying on the human brain to prioritize, route, and resolve all issues. If your customer or employee list grows longer than a few dozen names, you’ll need to hire one or more employees just to manage your customer service email inbox, let alone resolve any issues.

Meanwhile, what about the inquiries that come in via phone, live chat, and social media?

The best ticketing system software will automate incoming queries from multiple sources. The platform can monitor service requests for keywords, and users can create rules that automatically prioritize and route tickets to the right person. Add AI into the mix and your ticketing system can resolve the most common and simplest questions on its own, perhaps using a chat bot or auto-responder emails.

With the right support ticket system, you can minimize your support staff needs and allow your team members to focus on the complex tasks that require the human touch and improve the customer experience.

Don’t Let Issues Fall Through the Cracks

As your business grows, you may see a problematic but common occurrence: issues that simply get forgotten, misplaced, mismanaged, and never resolved. Inquiries can fall through the cracks when they’re not prioritized properly and sit on page two (or 47) of your inbox. Or, perhaps one of your customer service reps forgot about an issue that was mistakenly routed to them. Issues can also be mishandled when support staff go on vacation, get a promotion, or leave the company. 

Ticket management systems prevent support requests from falling through the cracks with built-in case management. Customer service reps can follow tickets through various stages: new, in progress, closed, and every stage in between. They can pull up a sorted list of cases in any stage to easily see if a ticket has been in the queue too long or whether they should follow up with the customer or a manager.

In a support ticket system, every ticket has a clear status. Your reps know when your team has solved the issue and when someone needs to carry a ticket over the finish line.

Issues Take Too Long to Resolve

While many inquiries won’t fall through the cracks, even in a company that hasn’t invested in a ticketing system, they may drag out longer than you — or your customers — prefer. Without a robust ticketing system, your agents could waste time digging through existing tickets or passing unresolved issues around the team. As your customers wait for a resolution, some may think you don’t care enough about them, and take their business elsewhere. 

Ticket resolution time is important. But if you’re using your inbox as your support management system, you likely don’t really know how long it takes to solve issues, or whether your resolution time is improving or worsening over time. You won’t see trends, like that spike in service agent productivity after you handed out bonuses or the overwhelming pace following holiday gift return season.

The right help desk ticketing system won’t just track the status of tickets; it will also calculate and share a plethora of metrics, including how long the ticket sat in each status. The system’s dashboards and reports will allow you to zoom out to see where your team’s strengths are, and drill down to individual tickets to find the causes of delays or hiccups.

The Right Support Ticket System for Your Business

Do you need an internal system, external system, or both? The best way to tell is to ask your employees and customers how happy they are with their current service experience. If you don’t get an enthusiastic double thumbs up, you may need a better way to resolve inquiries.

No matter who your ticketing system serves, the right solution should have all the features you need now, along with the ability to easily scale up to new features and more users as your business grows. The right help desk ticketing system can help grow your external customer base, increase your team’s productivity, and inspire happy employees.

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