Every professional knows that technology can malfunction at any time and in unexpected ways. When things go wrong, end users need a way to report the issue to a software company’s IT or customer service department. This is where a ticket management system comes in handy. Instead of losing track of back-and-forth email threads, phone call transcripts or chat logs, tech teams can use specialized software to manage issues that pop up, either internally or externally. Here’s what you need to know about how ticket management systems work, how they can be used, and some best practices to optimize your ticket flow.
Ticket management is how a team manages requests to address issues, such as technical difficulties. An efficient ticket management process is essential for teams that handle a steady flow of fixes, changes, and development requests, often from different types of users with varying priorities.
Dedicated ticket management software is used most frequently by tech teams that develop new software features or need to fix bugs. It may also be used by customer service teams that need to report and track customer problems.
Ultimately, ticket management helps teams deliver a better end-user experience, because it provides transparent insights into the status of a specific issue or request.
A ticket management system allows end users (customers or internal employees) to report any issues they are experiencing or request new features to be developed. Managing such a system requires creating and updating individual tickets that contain all relevant information about the problem or request.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of how ticketing works:
The biggest benefit of ticket management systems is the ability to see all open issues at a glance. Instead of having each team member manually track their progress on a shared spreadsheet or manage open issues in their individual inboxes, the entire team can look at the software dashboard to see exactly how many open issues there are, who’s working on each one, and the status of each issue.
This software isn’t just for IT and customer service departments; you can use it across multiple areas of your business to keep projects organized and running smoothly.
The Lifetime Value Company, the organization behind data-driven consumer apps and web programs like BeenVerified, introduced Agile methodology to its operations in 2014. By investing in Atlassian’s Jira ticket management system for every department, the whole staff — developers, content creators and customer service reps — was able to learn and use a common tool to streamline their Agile workflows.
“We knew that in order to support the success of Agile and the workflows and processes used to operate within that philosophy, we needed a robust and easily customizable tool to manage it at all,” Stefani Ribaudo, chief people officer of The Lifetime Value Company, told us. “We evaluated many tools on the market, and we continue to regularly evaluate what’s out there and feel that Jira serves us the best in this area.”
Ticket management systems can provide multiple benefits to any department in your company.
No need to worry about lost email threads or black holes of contact forms. All the details your team needs to address an issue or request — including any past attempts to resolve the issue — are at your fingertips, organized by priority, status, tag or assigned team member.
When everyone on your team has access to a central ticketing system, anyone who creates a ticket can track its progress and see exactly where it is in the queue. This transparency and self-help approach means fewer miscommunications and follow-up emails for status updates, because all parties involved will automatically be on the same page.
Unlike with a shared email inbox, which is typically only seen by a handful of people, your entire team is able to quickly spot outstanding issues that haven’t yet been claimed or addressed with a ticket management system. The more eyes there are on your ticket dashboard, the more likely it is that someone will be able to start working on a request right away.
With a ticket management system, you can assign specific issues to team members with the expertise necessary to resolve them.
As more tickets start coming in, you may notice the same issues cropping up repeatedly. This can help you develop a customer knowledge management system or self-help database, allowing you to address those frequent issues and reduce the likelihood of a user with these problems creating a new ticket.
Because ticket systems are often based on Agile methodology, you can customize and adapt them to other areas of your business, such as internal content marketing requests and HR initiatives.
If you’re in the market for a ticket management system, see if the solution you’re considering offers the following features:
These are some of the best ways to handle your internal and external tickets.
The best thing about a ticket management system is its ability to organize and streamline your team’s workflow. If you don’t categorize and prioritize your tickets as they come in, you lose out on that main benefit.
Once tickets are in progress, make sure everyone follows a consistent process for updating the status and documentation of their work.
The best way to keep workflows organized is to constantly work on improving them, said Geoffrey Goldberg, director of operations at The Lifetime Value Company. This entails active communication about your workflows.
“Think about all the different facets of work and the people who would be utilizing it, and trim or add anything to the workflow if needed,” he said.
Automatic notifications for things like ticket assignments, comments and closures take the burden of manual communication off your team’s shoulders. They also assure the user who created the issue or request that their ticket is a priority to your team and will be resolved.
When setting up and using your ticket management system, make the process work for your team rather than the other way around.
“Every task is going to be different,” Goldberg said. “The goal should be to make the lives easier of the people performing these tasks, and others who want to stay in the know. We always try to balance having enough process so that there isn’t chaos, but not too much process so that it stifles innovation and creativity.”
Skye Schooley contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.