You're in dangerous waters without a Helpdesk Ticketing System

Eric Anthony

One of the goals of any IT Service Management (ITSM) business or department is to efficiently handle requests in a timely manner, prioritizing them correctly to provide the best service to the most users possible. Simply translated this is about managing the operational efficiency of the business unit. 

A helpdesk ticketing system allows you to effectively handle these incidents by receiving input, assigning the proper resource, tracking status, communicating responses/alerts and recording the life cycle of the ticket.  By having this process automated you are allowing your technicians and support personnel to focus on solving problems rather than getting caught up in trying to manage workflow.

Capturing requests

Capturing requests is critical to any ticketing system. At times it can seem like you are drowning in a sea of incidents. Requests can come from a wide range of sources, including email, phone, social media, an RMM tool and even the occasional drive-by at your desk.  

These requests are converted into tickets, which then become the mechanism for tracking the life of the job. When converting these requests into tickets, the right system captures as much information as possible automatically. It can capture the email address from an email, phone number from caller ID, device name and more. This reduces the chance of errors and omissions that can easily occur with human data entry.  

A “proper” helpdesk ticketing system will also separate tickets into more manageable “buckets” so that your staff can deal with them appropriately.

Organizing tickets

Separating tickets into these “buckets” allows you to act on them by team, by priority, by source or by user. Any number of combinations – or “buckets” – can be created so that the right person or team is assigned the right tickets at the right time. For example, you wouldn’t want your desktop team to receive tickets for server problems and vice versa.  

There are also issues of skill set as well as resource cost to consider. Assigning tickets properly makes sure you are using all your resources as efficiently as possible. Dividing tickets also allows you or your team to focus on higher priority types of tickets without the noise of less important tickets.

Tracking status

Tracking the status of tickets is of paramount importance. Knowing who is responsible for a job and how long a ticket has been sitting in the system are critical for accountability. A helpdesk ticketing system will enable you to see exactly where a ticket is in its life cycle – whether it’s new, awaiting user response, blocked or even closed. Also, knowing how long a ticket has been in a certain status can be a trigger to an action.  

Most ITSM providers will have service level agreements (SLAs) in place. These will require immediate action to be taken when a combination of priority and time elapsed threatens to breach the agreement. Tracking ticket status using a helpdesk ticketing system’ allows this to be done automatically, again this means technicians can focus on the real work, without having to worry about managing the tickets.

Alerting and responding

Part of the reason to automate the tracking of tickets is so you can be alerted on the status of jobs. For example, when a new ticket arrives, when it hasn’t been assigned, hasn’t been responded to, etc. A helpdesk ticketing system should provide you with relevant, timely alerts without inundating you with too much “noise”.  

Who gets alerted is as important as how they get alerted. The properly configured system only alerts the technicians that need to be alerted. As important as alerts are to the technician, responses are also valued by the end user. The technician handling a specific job should be able to update tickets and add notes in a manner that can be selected to generate a response back to the end user. Keeping the user informed but not flooded with updates is also the mark of a good ticketing system.

Your helpdesk ticketing system

If you don’t already have a system in place then you are playing russian roulette with your business, both from a perspective of customer service and also your efficiency and profitability. Can you really afford to be doing that?

If you do have a system in place, then how does it measure up? The right system will enhance your ability to handle more customers, more efficiently. The wrong system will take too long to setup, be difficult for your staff to learn and take too many resources to manage.

The right system, correctly configured will allow you to stop working in your business and start working on your business.