Help Desk Explained: IT Ticketing System

A helpdesk ticketing system, particularly in IT, is responsible for helping your customer service department stay organized when processing and addressing various forms of customer communication, including IT-related inquiries and issues.

But how exactly does a cloud-based help desk ticketing system work, and how do you use one effectively, especially in the context of IT support? We’ll explore all the basics in this guide.

Help Desk Software Basics

Help desk software, designed to provide solutions and services to those in need, typically within a technological context, also includes ticket triage. For instance, if you’re using a new app and a bug prevents its proper function, you can file a report with the help desk service portal. Your issue enters the ticket triage system, and you then await a response from a customer service agent.

Help desks can be used for both internal support and external customer ticket resolutions. For example, if your company develops and hosts software for thousands of end users, you can use help desk software for ticket management and gather reports from users and correct issues as they arise (or provide guidance to people who are confused about how your software works). Internally, you might use service desk software to consolidate technical requests from your employees and streamlining operations within your IT department.

Help desk platforms usually come with an assortment of different features, but one of the most important features is a “ticketing” system. Whenever someone asks a question, raises a concern, or opens a conversation, they create a new instance in the back end of the system known as a support ticket. This ticket represents a standing issue that needs to be addressed and resolved.

From there, tickets can be automatically categorized and organized based on certain parameters, such as how and when a person creates the ticket. Ticket routing will help assign requests to specific individuals or specific teams and forwarded to different people as the ticket evolves; for example, if a customer service agent doesn’t understand how to resolve this ticket, they may send it to their immediate supervisor.

Within the ticket, agents can communicate directly with the ticket creator, applications, write descriptions, and provide notes for others. Whenever the ticket is finally resolved, it can be closed and removed from the system (though a record of the ticket will remain for data analytics and archiving purposes as well as monitor service level agreements and desk performance).

What is an Automated Ticketing System?

An automated ticketing system facilitates efficient and superior customer service through online support requests. On the front end, your customers or clients are provided with a simple, user-friendly interface to submit tickets when they need help. On the back end, the ticketing software organizes each request, making it easy for your customer support team to respond and resolve issues with a coordinated effort.
An automated ticketing system provides the following benefits:

  • A higher level of customer satisfaction
  • Better communication between support staff and customers
  • Increased productivity
  • All staff can access each ticket
  • Real-time reporting and useful analytics

Here’s how it works in a general sense. Once a support request is submitted, your ticketing software will assign the ticket to an appropriate staff member, and in some cases, it will perform simple tasks that don’t require human involvement to save time and resources.

Seven Must-Have Automated Ticketing System Features

When you’re ready to introduce automated ticketing into your business, here are the top features you’ll need to make the most of your system.

1. Automated routing

When a support ticket comes in, automated routing will assign the ticket to the appropriate staff member or department. This feature works by picking up on keywords in the support ticket.

For example, if a ticket contains the words “can’t log in” or “password reset,” the ticket will be routed to the support department that deals with technical issues. On the other hand, if a ticket comes from a mobile app and contains words like “timed out,” it will be automatically routed to your team that manages mobile apps.

Chatbot conversations can also automatically route customers to self-service knowledge-base articles based on keywords.

2. Including relevant information across channels

When a customer starts a conversation with a chatbot and then needs to connect with a human, they don’t want to repeat themselves. Nobody wants to type out their name, email address, and problem multiple times.

Having a ticketing system that transfers customer input across all channels is critical. Customers actually expect every system they interact with to be connected, so cross-channel integration is necessary. The more your customer service reps know about a customer’s problem, the faster that problem will be resolved.

3. Async messaging

Asynchronous messaging is another necessary feature to provide the best customer service. This feature keeps the support conversation going, whether the person is replying via email or directly inside the ticketing system.

Perhaps the most convenient feature is when customers can reply to an email to respond to a ticket instead of having to log in to their account.

4. Conditional triggers

Conditional triggers tell the system to perform an action based on a specified trigger. For example, if a customer hasn’t replied to a ticket in 5 days, you can have the system send out an email asking if they still need help.

You can also set time-based triggers to automatically close tickets when there’s no response for a long period of time, like 30 days. By eliminating abandoned tickets, you’ll see your true open ticket volume more accurately.

5. Visibility

With a centralized location for storing support tickets, your entire staff will have clear visibility into what’s going on with your customer support department. This is important because customer support is linked to customer satisfaction and, ultimately, your bottom line.

Another benefit to this high level of visibility is that any support staff member can work on any ticket. This is the ideal setup for when a staff member goes on vacation, takes a day off, or if a support request needs to be handed off to someone else. No explanation is needed – they can simply take over the ticket and they’ll have access to all of the customer’s information, including the entire history of the ticket.

6. Analytics

Perhaps the most important feature you’ll want to have with automated ticketing software is analytics. While it’s nice to have automated support, you’ll need analytics to tell you things you can’t infer from observation. For instance, a strong AI analytics feature will take events, information, and patterns and turn them into valuable insights for your support teams.

A large portion of this information will include issues your customers have been dealing with, which will give you deeper insight into where and how to improve your business.

7. A smooth user interface

A software application won’t be effective if it’s not user-friendly. You could have the best software on the market and if it’s hard to use, it won’t serve its intended purpose. Customers will get frustrated and so will your support team.

A difficult ticketing system will lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction. Think about it. When someone needs help, they’re likely already a bit frustrated. If the process of asking for help (opening a support ticket) is difficult, they’re going to feel even more frustrated.

The Benefits of a Help Desk Ticketing System

There are several good reasons to have an online help desk ticketing system in place:

  • Customer/employee control and autonomy.  Most people appreciate autonomy in the form of self-service. Instead of having to call a customer service line or contact the IT department every time you run into an issue, you can simply call up the ticketing system and enter a ticket yourself. You can concisely describe the nature of the problem, categorize the ticket, and send it off. Depending on the nature of your ticket, you may get an immediate response; thanks to AI, including Generative AI for IT support, it’s possible to create a help desk ticketing system that provides automated responses to certain types of queries via live chat with an AI Virtual Assistant.
  • Customer feedback and direction. Allowing customers to generate their own tickets gives them a Direct Line of communication with your business. You can quickly figure out what some of the most common issues faced by customers are, and then use that information to improve your products and services. For example, are people frequently complaining about the new feature that you added? Perhaps it’s time to remove or change it.
  • Omnichannel customer support. Help desk ticketing systems aren’t relegated to any one communication channel; instead, they can be leveraged in almost any number of contexts with an omnichannel customer support strategy. You can allow customers to create tickets from within your app, through your website, on social media, or even through email. On the back end, your system will automatically consolidate details from these interactions to create tickets in real-time and in a consistent format.
  • Faster resolutions. Generally, ticketing systems allow for faster problem resolutions in an AI Customer Service equipped system. Because tickets are created quickly, efficiently, and in a consistent format, your customer service agents have all the tools they need to identify potential problems and address them. Customers get responses quickly, and sometimes immediately, ultimately allowing them to leave happy and thus ensuring you can always improve customer satisfaction.
  • Ticketing automation. Most help desk platforms have some form of ticketing automation in place, streamlining and automating tasks that would otherwise require manual time and effort. If you’re upgrading from a rudimentary, mostly manual system, this can save you a ton of time and money.
  • Agent information. Tickets work well for customer service agents because they always present the most important information in a properly organized format. Agents don’t have to perform significant fact-finding to figure out the root cause of the issue; instead, it’s presented directly to them
  • Agent knowledge. Most of the time, help desk ticketing systems are equipped with robust knowledge bases, which employees can use to find answers to common problems. Within the same platform, an employee can read up on a customer’s issue, figure out the best way to respond, and then write a response.
  • Employee resources and support. Help desk software isn’t just about helping your customers. It’s also about helping your employees. If anyone on your team has difficulty managing your current systems and technologies, they can use a ticketing system to get the support they need.
  • Cost savings. Almost any system with automation has the power to save you money, and ticketing systems are no exception. If you rely extensively on the automatic components of your ticketing system, you can probably afford to hire fewer staff members and cut costs in other areas.
  • Operational streamlining. Organizations that harness the power of help desk ticketing systems typically operate more efficiently and in a more streamlined way. This workflow is intuitive and, in most cases, mostly automatic, meaning your employees can spend their time and effort on more significant matters.
  • Record keeping and analytics. Don’t forget that help desk ticketing systems are exceptional at collecting and reporting on data related to customer and employee inquiries. If you analyze this information, you can probably find and address the most pressing challenges for your organization.

How to Choose the Best Help Desk Ticketing System

There are many different types of external and internal help desk ticketing systems out there, so how should you make this decision?

This is a good place to start:

  • Document your needs. What are you trying to get out of your help desk ticketing system? What are your needs and how will this platform solve them?
  • Document your workflows. What are your current workflows with regard to customer service and employee tech support? How could these workflows be modified and adapted to an environment where your ticketing system centralizes these operations?
  • Set a budget. There are help desk ticketing systems for almost any budget, but it pays to know what your budget is going in. How much are you willing to spend on this? How much of a return can your AI ticketing system offer?
  • Work with the team. Don’t try to make this decision alone. You’ll have a much easier time and you’ll end up making a better decision if you work directly with people who will be using this system on a regular basis.

Key Factors to Consider in a Help Desk Ticketing System

As you explore different help desk ticketing systems, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Core features. What are the core capabilities of this platform? Obviously, it should be able to create and organize tickets, but what else can it do? How does it handle reporting? Does it have chatbots that can automatically handle certain tickets?
  • AI and machine learning tools. AI can instantly elevate the power and sophistication of your help desk ticketing platform. With the right tools, you can automate helpdesk activities, learn more about your customers, and even predict future customer behavior.
  • Channel support. Are you able to use this ticketing system across all communication channels?
  • Integrations. Does this ticketing system connect to other systems that your business already uses? Can you quickly and easily transmit information between these platforms?
  • Learnability. Consider the learnability of this platform. If your employees are learning how to use it for the first time, how long will it take them to master the basics? Are there tutorials and guides available if they’re struggling?
  • Usability. Is this platform fast and efficient? Is it intuitive enough that employees won’t struggle with it on a daily basis?
    Customizations. How much customization potential does this platform offer? Can you tweak it to your liking with add-ons and extra features?
  • Price. Obviously, you need to think about pricing. Does this platform fit your budget?
  • Future plans and updates. Are the developers thinking about the future? Are there new features that will be released soon? Are bug-fixing and improvement patches committed regularly?

Are you putting together a help desk ticketing system? Or are you overhauling your entire customer service strategy? The right AI-powered tools can make your job easy and save you time every day. Request a demo today to see how Aisera can supercharge your service experience with AI and automation.

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