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Zendesk research reports 60% of high-growth customer service teams use help desk software, significantly more than slow-growing teams. The customer service ticket system can be your company’s secret weapon enabling quick and seamless operation of the customer support team, resulting not just in increased customer experience (CX) but also in facilitated workflow.

Read on to see what a good customer service ticketing system is all about and how you can use it to help your support team automate ticket management and deal with support requests coming from your customers.

What is a Customer Service Ticket System? 

A ticket (or support ticket) is a term describing any interaction between customers and support teams. When a customer calls because their internet connection is weak, that’s a ticket. When they write you an email asking about product return, that’s also a ticket.

A ticketing system is a software tool (nowadays, typically in the form of a cloud-based platform) your customer support team uses to deal with all these customer interactions in your company, especially concerning managing and solving customer issues and service requests.

When a customer reaches out to your company (through a helpline, email, chat, or any other channel), your customer support team creates a ticket, which contains all the relevant information:

  • Who had an inquiry or a problem?
  • What kind of notification was it?
  • What was done for this customer?
  • What are further actions?
  • What’s the current ticket status?

This system is very effective—every agent and consultant in your company has access to the same information and is up-to-date when there is a need to talk again to the same customer. As a result, they don’t have to repeat themselves and describe the problem all over again. And you must know; it’s the number one frustration when it comes to customer service:

frustrations infographic
Source: Gladly.com Customer Expectations Report 2021

Moreover, with customer service ticketing software, you can keep all the notifications in one place and automate (or at least streamline) the vast majority of work your support agents do every day.

Why Use a Customer Service Ticket System?

The short answer is that it makes all the sense in the world. Having a customer service ticketing system enables your company to:

However, before you get access to all these perks, you need to find the best ticketing solution for your company. As I mentioned earlier, today, the majority of them come in the form of SaaS platforms (read more on How To Seamlessly Switch To A Cloud Contact Center From On-Premises), but there are more things to consider. Ticketing software differs concerning its functionality, automation, and routing options, as well as additional project management functions.

Let’s have a look at ten of the essential elements of good ticketing software.

10 Elements of a Good Customer Service Ticket System 

I’ve listed ten elements regarding your future ticket management system’s functionality. The more boxes your help desk software checks, the better for your customers and your CS team. I hope this list will help you make an informed decision on what ticketing system to choose.

Ticket Categories

First off, ensure your platform enables you to assign tickets to specified categories/departments. You will thank me later for this advice. With each ticket assigned to a specific category, your team instantly knows who should handle the given ticket, everything is well-organized, and tickets are always where they should be.

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Multi-channel Support and Customer Communication

Today, it’s a must-have. Customers have at least several communication channels to choose from, including:

  • A website/an online store
  • Email
  • Web/mobile apps
  • Social media
  • Helpline
  • A chat box/chatbot/voice bot

So you need to provide them with multi-channel support in all of the channels you use in your company (convenience is fundamental!). Thankfully, for the majority of IT help desk solutions, multi-channel support is a standard option. However, before you decide to go with a given platform, ensure it supports all the communication channels you use in your business.

Multiple Language Versions

If English is your company’s (and your customers’) primary communication language, you don’t necessarily need that, but you can surely consider multiple language versions a nice-to-have feature. Things change if you run more than one contact center in many different countries. In such a scenario, a platform supporting more than one language seems indispensable.

Even if you’re just planning on conquering more countries in the future, think ahead and find a platform that will grow with your business.

Knowledge Base Management

According to a recent CX report published by Gladly.com, your customer support agents simply have to be knowledgeable and provide users with reliable information about your brand, product, and offered services:

knowledgeable infographic
Source: Gladly.com Customer Expectations Report 2022

Find a customer support ticket system that will enable you to grow customer satisfaction through exhaustive answers to queries and doubts your customers might have. Easy access to a comprehensive knowledge base will also shorten the response time and increase team performance. An updated list of FAQs is also a good idea! A knowledge base is also beneficial from the customer's standpoint. You can provide access to it via an online platform or even your website. This way, your users can find some of the information they need on their own (without the need to contact your team).

Data Reporting Dashboards and Management Tools

Your reporting system should enable you to track all the relevant metrics concerning both your whole customer support team and individual team members. Contact centers should be especially interested in average waiting times, average handle times, first call resolutions, and the level of service and customer satisfaction.

Thankfully, the majority of ticketing software (including Freshdesk, Happyfox, Hubspot, and ZOHO Desk) comes with extensive analytics and reporting features allowing you to get all that information with ease.

See, for example, how reporting works in Freshdesk:

It gives you an in-depth view of your call center, including all communication channels. This way, you can easily spot potential problems, measure customer satisfaction, and avoid the escalation of any problems or adverse trends.

Real-Time Alerts

This point is especially important in large teams handling hundreds of customer requests daily. In such busy customer service teams, real-time alerts can help you stay on top of things and ensure everything (including ticket routing, the number of available agents, and customer queues) remains within acceptable limits.

Self-service Portal

Yes, sometimes, your service desk is indispensable in solving customers’ problems. But on other occasions, they can deal with them on their own; they just need a bit of support from you. This is where self-service portals shine.

With them, you can equip your customers with everything they need to deal with minor issues and obstacles, including:

  • Common problems with installing software
  • Troubleshooting typical technical issues
  • Ordering a visit from a technician
  • Ordering a new product/service or a new service plan

All of that can be done easily without the need to even talk to a customer service consultant. Of course, you still have to keep this option available (e.g., for less tech-savvy users), but in general, customers willingly use self-service features, and that’s good both for you and your target audience!

In the 2021 edition of the Gladly.com report I mentioned above, 60% of surveyed customers confirmed they prefer to resolve issues on their own when shopping online:

customers infographic
Source: Gladly.com Customer Expectations Report 2021

It's likely that your company's customers have a similar mindset. The same rule applies to the knowledge base question. Give your customers access to it and enable them to solve as many problems as possible on their own.

Live Chat and/or Chatbots

Chatbots also serve as a self-service option, especially if a fully-fledged self-service portal is not enough. In such a situation, you can also develop a chatbot or a voice bot that will gather and respond to some of the customer queries. Today, according to available sources, intelligent assistants can handle up to 70% of customer communication (with no involvement from customer service teams whatsoever!). That’s a very good result and a significant saving of time.

And what about live chat? Of course, here, the consultant is indispensable, but this communication channel is brilliant concerning quick and simple questions:

  • Do you want to check if the product is in stock before visiting the brick-and-mortar store? Use a chatbot.
  • Do you have an appointment you need to reschedule for a different day? Use a chatbot.
  • Do you want to ask about the order status? Use a chatbot.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

In the introduction to this post, I told you that good ticketing software contains data about your customers. That’s what CRM is all about—this feature helps you keep all the data about your customers organized and in one place, such as:

  • How long have they been a customer?
  • What kinds of products/services have they purchased?
  • What is the history of their communication with the company?
  • Are they satisfied with the service(s) provided?
  • Are they up-to-date with their payments?

Of course, you can use a separate CRM tool, but the fact is, keeping it all within one platform is reasonable from many perspectives and helps you manage customer relationships more efficiently.

Skills-Based Routing

This point is crucial in large international companies serving customers from all over the world. Suppose you have a French-speaking caller who also speaks English, but French is their native language. Obviously, such a customer would feel better talking to a French-speaking consultant. That’s what skills-based routing is for.

This strategy is based on assigning specific callers to agents with the most relevant skills. Of course, language is just an example. In the same way, a customer with a technical problem can be directed straight to the tech team, and a customer with an invoicing problem can be directed to the accounting department.

Advanced ticketing platforms can automatically assign callers to specific agents who are ready to assist them in the most anticipated way, thus improving the customer experience.

How to Pick a Customer Service Ticket System 

So far, I’ve listed ten of the most important features your ticketing system should offer. However, before you sign on the dotted line, it is vital to verify several other elements of a given system’s offer. These points are especially important when you decide to opt for a cloud-based ticketing system.

Service-level Agreement (SLA)

SLA is the provider’s obligation to provide service on an agreed level concerning the platform’s accessibility, quality, and reliability. The service level agreement specifies the commitments and actions of a system’s provider.

Why is it so important? Obviously, you want your ticketing software to work flawlessly, offer all the options you requested, and be available when your company is open. That’s where the SLA is crucial. With such a document, you can expect a specific quality of service, day after day, year after year.

In general, you should look for a company that offers sufficient conditions in its SLA. Selecting a company with a poor SLA (or no SLA at all) is a risky move that can adversely affect your company’s stability.

Pricing

In the cloud, there are almost no fixed costs; everything depends on your requirements and current usage. Check pricing plans before you sign the agreement.

  • Do they offer sufficient flexibility? Are they adjusted to your company’s needs?
  • Can you select a pricing plan that includes all the features you need?
  • Can you decline services and features you don’t need?

These are vital questions! If you end up with a platform that’s not very flexible cost-wise, you will probably have to pay for capabilities and features you don’t need to use, which will surely generate unnecessary costs.

Customizable dashboard

Ask your future provider for trial access to the system’s dashboard. Take some time to get acquainted with it. Is it customizable? Can you set everything the way you want? Is all the necessary information readily available?

With a customizable dashboard, you will spend less time training agents on how to use this new system, and you will be able to make the most of your platform without the need to sift through dozens of tabs and settings. Believe me; there is nothing more frustrating than ending up with a platform that annoys you or makes it difficult to get access to all the necessary data.

A mobile version

Today, contact centers work 24/7 and from all over the world. You don’t need to keep all of your agents in one place; they can easily work remotely (thanks to the capabilities of the cloud). Even you, as a manager, don’t have to be at the office at all times! In such a situation, a mobile version of your ticketing system can be extremely helpful in managing work.

Again, in the cloud, it is rather a standard option to offer access to both desktop and mobile versions of a given platform, but you should verify that beforehand.

Now you are equipped to make an informed decision concerning your future ticketing/customer support software. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! Here's a list of ten platforms you should consider.

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Final thoughts: Make the most of the ticketing system in your company

Sure, I should tell you the ticketing system must be, above all, customer-oriented. And that’s true, but the fact is, it’s your team that should feel comfortable with it. So do your research, compare available options, ask for a trial, and select the system that really checks all the right boxes and is simply easy to use. Pay attention to the elements I listed in this article; every platform with these features and options is worth giving a try.

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By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The CX Lead. After serving over 12 years working in front-line customer experience for major brands, Hannah pivoted to a career in digital publishing and media production. Having gained a holistic view of the challenges and intricacies of delivering exceptional experiences, Hannah aims to help CX practitioners 'level up' their skills by amplifying the voices of today's thought leaders in the space.