What is an IT ticketing system (and how to find the best one)?

11 min read
29-Jun-2022 09:55:33

What is an IT ticketing system?

An IT ticketing system enables IT helpdesk or support teams to easily receive and resolve any IT support-related inquiries. By streamlining the process from the moment an end-user submits a ticket to the time a helpdesk agent resolves the issue, the IT ticketing system provides a better experience for everyone.

With an IT ticketing system, managing your tickets, categorizing, prioritizing, and assigning for resolution become straightforward. Say, one employee’s laptop broke, and another employee needs a login to software they need for work. These different types of requests can be pooled into one place, making it easier to handle several issues at once.

What is an IT helpdesk ticket?

An IT helpdesk ticket is the documentation of any submitted request or inquiry to your IT helpdesk or support team. A ticket can be submitted in the form of email, live chat message, or directly through a self-service IT portal.

Most tickets require some specific information to be included for the support teams to act on them. These are usually the name of the individual submitting the ticket, department, required service, and the reason for the request. Further information may be added to the ticket as it works its way along the ticket resolution cycle.

Types of ticketing systems

Nowadays, ticketing systems are very much a natural sight in our daily lives. The majority of technology or services you use have a support team that you can turn to should an issue arise. And when it does, you’ll most likely get in touch with them through their ticketing systems.

There are a few types of ticketing systems available, each one specialized on a particular channel a request can come through.

1. Help desk

This is probably the general ticketing system used as it gathers requests across all channels. This acts as the face of the support team. End-users submit their requests, which are then reviewed and assigned to agents from here. Organizations are increasingly implementing help desk software for their internal services, with the market for help desk solutions expected to reach $11 billion by the next year 2023.

2. Live chat


Live chat ticketing systems enable support teams to respond to raised issues quickly and in real-time. To ensure a positive service experience, responding swiftly is crucial. Live chat software can also further facilitate internal conversations that can help in providing quick resolutions to the flagged concerns.

3. Call center

This type of ticketing system is crucial for support teams who generally receive inquiries through phone calls. Systems like this make it easier to log important information from the conversations, route calls to different agents, and record how the issues were resolved.

4. Customer support

This software is predominantly used for an organization’s external customers. Clients can come in to create a ticket, find information about their services, and in some systems, offer ideas and suggestions on how to improve the product/service.

Apart from the slight differences, the purpose of these different ticketing systems is the same: ticket management for quick ticket resolution.

Advantages of an IT ticketing system

An IT ticketing system can make life a lot easier for everyone involved, the IT support team and end-users alike. As modern, cloud systems continue to provide new and exciting capabilities for effective ticket management, the right tool can bring about a multitude of benefits to an organization.

1. Drives support agent efficiency and productivity

With everything in one place, support agents can save time in rifling through the different types of tickets that come through. Some systems provide automated ticket assignment capabilities that can assign tickets to agents based on their workload and level of expertise. By taking these time-consuming tasks out of the agents’ hands, they can focus on the crucial part of their role, which is resolving the issue at hand.

2. Improves collaboration and communication

IT ticketing systems help the organization keep a complete record of IT support-related matters, which means if a previous issue comes up again, they have the necessary information to resolve it quickly. Reassigning tickets or delegating tasks to different members of the support team becomes simpler, too.

3. Provides omnichannel support

Regardless of the end-users preferred communication tool, a great IT ticketing system would be able to manage inquiries from different sources: emails, live chat, self-service portal, calls, etc., meaning that they can easily flag up any issues or concerns from anywhere at any time.

4. Automates routine tasks

One of the biggest pluses of IT ticketing systems is it takes the pain out of doing repetitive manual tasks. From setting up automated replies for the most common queries to ticket delegation, working through various tickets becomes smoother with the right automated workflow in place.

5. Tracks key service metrics

Without an IT ticketing system, tracking your support team’s performance or service quality and delivery becomes difficult. Most systems already have built-in reporting capabilities where you can track the KPIs that matter most to you, whether that’s ticket volume, resolution time, SLA compliance, and much more.

6. Creates a centralized system

Ticketing software gives organizations one place to consolidate all their tickets, as well as all the related interactions and information. This prevents any duplicate tickets and even if different agents work on the same ticket, they can easily track and add key details and activities back to the initial ticket, which leads us nicely to another great benefit…

7. Helps you make better use of resources

With better communication and collaboration, organizations can minimize duplicate efforts in resolving issues, meaning less wasted resources. A complete overview of how your team is performing can also assist in where a certain resource would be better utilized.

8. Gives full visibility and easy reporting

We’ve already mentioned before the great visibility ticketing systems can provide. But it’s not just great from a productivity and performance standpoint, but also from a compliance point of view. Modern systems have capabilities that can help you put together configurable dashboards or reports in a matter of minutes, helping you get a sense of how well your service measures up to your policy and legislative compliance.

9. Speeds up response and resolution times

IT ticketing systems help optimize your ticket management process. By doing so, agents can quickly pick up incoming tickets and start exploring solutions for the end-user. At the same time, collaboration and communication tools available within the system help keep everyone informed throughout the process. This all adds up to how it…

10. Enhances end-user experience

Both end-users and agents are empowered with the tools available to them. End-users would have the place to submit their requests/issues, while agents will have the ability to communicate, prioritize, and resolve tickets efficiently. And with a better working experience for agents comes an enhanced service experience for end-users.

Who can use IT ticketing systems?

who can use it ticketing systems

IT ticketing systems might be originally used for IT service-related queries, but this system can easily be applied across different business functions where service is provided. Why does this matter? We’ve seen the benefits IT ticketing systems can give, and there’s no reason why other functions can’t benefit from these too.

ESM practices where ITSM processes are taken outside the IT sphere have enabled using ticket management capabilities in non-IT teams make sense.

• Customer support

This department is probably the most obvious user of a ticketing system. As a consumer, an organization’s customer support team is your first point of contact for any issues that could arise, whether it’s about a particular product or service you’ve purchased. Do you remember the frustrating experience of being passed around different agents and having to constantly repeat the details of your issues from the beginning? A ticketing system can help minimize these scenarios and provide a smoother communication between customers and agents.

• HR

HR teams can greatly benefit from using a ticketing system. From handling onboarding tasks to responding to employee inquiries regarding their leave entitlements, benefits, or employment-related information, these can be easily organized and tracked with a ticketing system. This means less paperwork for HR teams, or emails getting lost in full inboxes.

• Marketing

The marketing department seems like an unlikely group to be a ticketing system user. But think about the times when a sales rep needs a product datasheet to send to a client or what about the company banner image used in email signatures? Requests for these marketing assets can be considered as services and accessing them can be made easier by having a clear channel, like a ticketing system, to go to.

• Finance

Procurement requests can also be simplified with a ticketing system. It can be hard keeping up with different orders or spending when these are scattered all over the place. But with these recorded and consolidated into one database, finance teams can have a better view of resource usage and allocation.

Helpdesk ticketing system lifecycle

Regardless of which function it’s used – IT, HR, marketing, etc. – from the moment a ticket is submitted up to the time it’s resolved, a ticket goes through the helpdesk ticketing system lifecycle.

1. Creation

This is the moment that the end-user submits a ticket to flag up an issue or request a service.

2. Analysis

After receipt, an agent can assess the ticket to determine the category, priority, and severity of the issue at hand. This stage is crucial to effectively decide what level of expertise is required to solve the problem.

3. Assignment

Once the ticket is analyzed, it can then be assigned to the right agent, keeping in mind their current workload.

4. Resolution

This is where the real work begins. The assigned agent will gather all the necessary information to resolve the issue quickly and communicate the progress with the end-user throughout the process. For more complex cases, this might involve reassignment if the agent is lacking sufficient information on the matter.

5. Closure

After reaching a resolution the end-user is satisfied with, the ticket can then be closed, and no further action is needed.

IT helpdesk ticketing system use cases

IT helpdesk ticketing systems are used across many industries and sectors due to how useful they are in handling service requests. Here are some examples of where they’re used.

Education

Educational institutions constantly deal with large volumes of staff and student inquiries. IT helpdesk ticketing systems help streamline student and faculty support in schools or universities.

Healthcare

Healthcare professionals often work with sophisticated medical equipment and sensitive patient information. Having a ticketing system enables healthcare workers to ensure their equipment is in good condition. Having a self-service portal for patients also enable them to access essential health services.

Government

An IT helpdesk ticketing system can facilitate providing support to citizens for their inquiries. People can come in with a wide range of concerns and being able to categorize them efficiently can help provide resolutions faster.

Features of an IT ticketing system

features of an IT ticketing system

For effective ticket management, an IT ticketing system needs several key features. A complete ticketing solution would support agents and end-users every step of the way throughout the lifecycle discussed above.

• Omnichannel support

In a very digital world, we’re connected through so many channels. So, your IT support team should be too. Everyone has a certain communication channel that they prefer, and your ticketing system should be able to accommodate that with omnichannel capabilities.

• Automated workflows

Automating repetitive tasks not only reduces the time taken for tickets to move through the cycle but also minimizes the risks of mistakes. Setting out the right steps and automating them enables tickets to get properly assigned and then swiftly dealt with by the agents.

• Comprehensive knowledge base

A well-built knowledge base not only empowers end-users to find solutions for themselves but also alleviates the pressure from support agents by helping reduce the number of tickets submitted.

• Smart reporting tools

Reporting is a very important feature of any good system. Having the right information that’s easily accessible enables you to find key areas to improve and enhance the end-user experience.

• Mobile access

Mobile access makes it easier for your IT support team to access information on the go. Likewise, end-users can easily submit tickets from anywhere at any time, enhancing the experience for everyone involved.

• Built-in customer survey engine

You can use metrics to get an idea of service delivery performance but being able to ask the end-users directly completes the picture. Built-in customer surveys take the pain out of that process and enable you to capture end-user insights at the earliest opportunity.

• Robust notifications system

A good IT ticketing system should have a robust notifications system that makes it easier to update end-users about their ticket status.

• Workload management

Some of the best IT ticketing systems have smart ticket allocation that routes tickets depending on agents’ workload and capabilities. This minimizes the instances of tickets being left open for too long and lost among high volumes of tickets.

• Cloud-based system

Many modern IT ticketing systems are now cloud-based. This capability enables easy access and flexibility, making communication and collaboration much easier.

IT helpdesk ticketing system best practices

An IT ticketing system may have all the best features you could ever want, but it will only ever be as good as your processes. To reap all the benefits your system has to offer, there are some key practices you’d need to incorporate into your processes.

• Define ticket prioritization

You can optimize your workflow and prevent ticket backlog if you know which tickets you would want to prioritize as they come in. Whether you would want to prioritize tickets by the order they are submitted or by urgency, it’s good to have this outlined from the start.

• Automate as much as you can

Take advantage of your ticketing system’s automation capabilities and automate as many of your processes as you can. From canned responses to ticket routing, automation can ease the manual workload of your support team.

• Leverage self-service capabilities

Empower end-users by enabling them to access an online portal where they can either find solutions for their issues or makes it easy to get in touch with your support team.

• Build out your knowledge base

Reduce ticket volume by taking advantage of your IT ticketing system’s knowledge base. This way you can decrease the number of unnecessary tickets coming through to your support team, as end-users can find the solutions for some of the most common issues for themselves.

• Monitor performance and make improvements

Reporting features of any good IT ticketing system can provide insights into your IT support team’s performance, so it’s important to take advantage of that. See how effective agents are responding and resolving tickets, and explore opportunities for improvement, e.g., if someone needs further training or coaching.

Selecting an IT helpdesk ticketing system

An IT helpdesk ticketing system is a great tool to make ticket management that much easier, but the wealth of choices can be overwhelming. Here are some considerations to have when selecting your system.

• Ease of use

How easy for it for your support team to use? What about the end-users? Implementing such a system should make life easier for everyone, but it won’t be the case if your chosen ticketing system is too complex to use and adapt to.

• Accessibility

Another factor to consider is how accessible it is. Is it available on any device at any time? Is the interface user-friendly and straightforward to navigate?

• Scalability

As your organization grows and changes, it’s important your chosen system can scale with you. How does its licensing change as you add/decrease agents? What features does it have to help your support team cope with high ticket volume?

• Implementation

This is especially important for those with a tight project schedule. You should learn about what’s involved in the implementation process: how complex it is, how long it takes, who needs to be involved, etc.

• Flexibility

Every organization will have different ticket management strategies that work best for them. It’s crucial that your preferred IT helpdesk ticketing system can support that, so a certain level of flexibility is essential.

Why IFS assyst is the best IT ticketing solution

Helping hundreds of enterprises transform their IT management and ESM capabilities, IFS assyst can provide complete visibility and control over your ticket management. Quick to deploy and easy to use, it has everything you need to design, deliver, and optimize your essential IT services.

Want to know more? Why not get in touch for a free online demo today?
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