A well-executed ticketing system streamlines communication. It accomplishes this by removing bottlenecks that occur when no one has a clear picture of the problem, its priority, and the person reporting it.
However, even the best software is useless without the right people and processes.
So, before we get into how to choose the best ticketing software, let’s go over the fundamentals of a ticketing system.
Then you can read an overview of 15 of the best ticketing systems available and learn about best practices.
What is a ticketing system?
A ticketing system is a piece of software that allows a customer service team to create, manage, and maintain a list (or lists) of customer problems.
Of course, many ticketing systems offer additional features such as, but not limited to:
- Support via all channels
- Ticket routing, classification, and categorization
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Management of knowledge bases
- Live conversation
Ticketing systems are also known as ticketing software, ticketing support, or a helpdesk ticketing system.
Why does your business need a helpdesk ticketing system?
Helpdesk ticketing is required by your company to help organize, prioritize, and consolidate support requests.
Ticketing systems allow organizations to quickly assign inquiries to the most appropriate agent, provide context for customer interactions, and track customer inquiries. The system also includes a shared inbox to assist support staff in coordinating their efforts.
How does an IT ticketing system work?
All end user issues from various sources are converted into tickets by an IT help desk ticketing system.
As support staff members work to resolve the issue, the system tracks the status of each ticket. A ticket records all interactions with a user as well as internal conversations about the issue among staff members.
A ticket can be recorded as a question, problem, incident, or task in Zendesk’s IT ticketing platform. A single issue can be the root cause of multiple incidents.
For example, if the company’s email server is down, multiple incidents may be associated with it. When you mark the main problem as solved, the status of each user’s incident ticket is updated.
When customer service representatives close tickets, they do not simply vanish. Tickets contain valuable information that can provide you with insight into your customers and business.
IT ticketing software can slice data in numerous ways to reveal performance metrics and generate reports.
What are the features of ticketing tools?
The best IT ticketing tools combine features that are easy to set up and use. Remember that the sophistication of these features can vary greatly.
Here are six common features to look for and evaluate as you prepare to compare different online ticketing systems.
Support via all channels
Customers contact your company through a variety of channels, including email, social media, live chat, and phone, sometimes all at once.
In many organizations, insights gained from these interactions are dispersed across tools and teams.
This forces the customer to repeat themselves each time they contact the company. However, omnichannel support allows agents to serve customers in their preferred channels by consolidating customer profiles and conversations into a shared inbox.
Routing, Categorization, and Tagging of Tickets
Simply centralized customer support communications is insufficient in a larger enterprise. To provide the best service, agents must be able to see the status of a ticket and what steps they must take, whether that is routing the ticket to another agent or handling it themselves.
As a result, help desk ticketing systems allow users to categorize and tag tickets as they arrive. These categories and tags enable large, siloed teams to quickly route support tickets to agents with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Measurement and tracking
Good customer service departments resolve issues quickly and efficiently. But this is impossible without analytics.
You can generate reports based on what you’re trying to understand using helpdesk ticketing system analytics.
You can, for example, quantify the amount of time your team spends on specific issues to help inform decisions about where to allocate additional resources.
Customers like to use a variety of channels, and businesses use a variety of databases and tools to use and manage important customer data.
This results in data silos. Ticketing systems (such as Zendesk’s) assist in breaking down these silos through a wide range of integrations.
As a result, creating a unified, streamlined customer experience becomes much easier. It also avoids the disjointed, often frustrating experience that agents have when forced to make sense of multiple sources of different versions of information while dealing with an impatient customer.
Management of Knowledge Bases
While live chats and phone calls have their uses, given the right information, many customers are fully capable of – and often prefer – serving themselves.
Customers can benefit from knowledge base systems by summarizing and storing large amounts of information in searchable, linked databases.
These systems improve your ticket support system by improving self-service for your customers while decreasing ticket volume for your agents.
Furthermore, knowledge bases provide support agents with a searchable database from which they can quickly locate resources for customers.
Getting the right information to the right person at the right time is what makes customer service “go.” Even in a small company, the logistics of getting information from different systems to people can quickly become complicated.
As a result, automating tasks like assigning tickets, sending predefined responses, escalating issues, pulling in relevant customer data, and more can be extremely useful.
Automation makes agents happier, more engaged, and productive by eliminating or reducing the time they must spend on menial, repetitive tasks.
Not to mention that automating these tasks lowers the possibility of human error.
Tools for workforce management
Customer service success is more than just one-on-one interactions between your agents and customers.
It’s also about the decisions made behind the scenes that allow for those memorable interactions.
Along with ticketing tools, workforce management features allow you to precisely plan how to staff your service operation based on seasonality and make real-time adjustments.
You can project email, call, and messaging volume, among other things, to ensure that your staff is never over or underutilized. The end result? A service operation that is as cost-effective as possible.
What are the benefits of a help desk ticketing system?
In order to streamline problem resolution, IT ticketing software receives, logs, and sorts incoming tickets.
A simple ticketing software is the entry fee for any professional customer service team, even if it is only one person. But don’t just take our word for it; consider these five powerful advantages:
Increased agent output
Excellent customer service is priceless. However, there are many low-value, time-consuming tasks involved in providing excellent customer service, such as searching for information, routing calls, categorizing tickets, and so on.
Ticketing tools give agents more time to spend on high-value tasks like training and serving customers by automating all or a portion of these tasks.
This increased productivity also means that your organization can provide excellent service with fewer agents, lowering costs while maintaining service quality.
Improve the caliber of customer interactions
Agents are empowered to have more productive, informed conversations with customers with full audit trails of every conversation, even if it spans multiple channels.
Customers are less likely to become frustrated because they do not have to repeat themselves. Agents can go a step further by offering personalization.
A retail support agent, for example, could see a customer’s sizing information and assist them in determining the proper fit for a pair of jeans if they had access to data on previous purchases.
Customer service performance that is transparent
There is no single source of data you can use to evaluate customer service performance unless you have a ticket support system in place.
Sure, if you have it, you could use customer retention data, but that can be influenced by other factors.
While actively surveying customers may provide hints, more granular, quantitative data is often required to monitor and evaluate service performance.
Over time, you will learn and grow
Ticketing systems serve as a learning tool by centralizing customer issues and the responses of your support agents to those issues.
Managers can use it to determine which common issues could benefit from new knowledge base articles.
Alternatively, they can identify specific situations in which agents are struggling, which may indicate that additional training is required.
The opportunities to learn and grow over time are limitless, thanks to good helpdesk ticketing software.
Improved inter-team collaboration
Few customer service interactions are as bad as the all-too-common hot potato call. This occurs when a customer calls in and is transferred from agent to agent, each of whom is struggling to find a solution.
The root cause of this is frequently poor internal communication, which a ticketing system can assist in reducing or eliminating.
Best practices for ticketing software
Ticketing software has exciting capabilities, but even the best ones cannot function without the proper processes in place. Here are four best practices that will help your team get the most out of your software investment:
Agents should be trained on the new system
When businesses purchase software, they frequently only use a subset of its capabilities. Ticketing systems are no different.
To avoid this stumbling block, begin a training program to bring your employees up to speed on the system.
Depending on the ticketing software you use, the vendor may provide their own training, which is a great way to train your employees without adding to the administrative burden. Furthermore, your agents can use what they’ve learned to train new hires in the future.
Create a self-service knowledge base
Creating a knowledge base for your customer can be intimidating at first. However, start small and focus on providing resources that assist in the resolution of the most basic and common issues.
Even a simple knowledge base can increase the effectiveness of your agents and make your customers happier.
Furthermore, with a knowledge base in place, you can provide automated responses to frequently asked customer questions.
Make (and use) a well-organized tagging system
Without tags, you miss out on the features that make the best ticketing systems so valuable. But simply making some tags and calling it a day isn’t enough.
You must consider which tags will properly contextualize the problem so that your agents can properly prioritize and route each ticket.
Not only that, but customer service representatives must be active in tagging tickets as they learn new information while assisting customers.
Tagging tickets in this manner ensures that they appear in relevant reports as they develop and are easily searchable.
Using predefined ticket actions, automate the process
Only 20% of organizations believe their speed in resolving customer engagements is exceptional.
Furthermore, more than half (54 percent) believe that customer service is an afterthought for the majority of businesses with which they interact. Automation is an agent’s best friend in an age of rising customer expectations.
The types of automation you should implement will be determined by your service channels, the types of inquiries, and a variety of other factors.
However, when a customer submits a ticket via chat or text, an auto-response that triggers a predefined message to acknowledge receipt is a simple example to set up.
How to implement a help desk ticketing software?
You can’t expect to reap the full benefits of help desk ticketing software if you’re not careful about how it’s implemented. Here are six steps you can take to ensure proper software implementation:
Determine your purpose and write down your objectives
Although it may appear obvious, explicitly defining your purpose and documenting your goals will help you gain buy-in from your team and other stakeholders.
It will also keep everyone focused. If you get stuck during your implementation, you can always refer back to your goals to help you move forward.
Lowering average resolution time, lowering costs, and increasing customer retention are all common goals.
Establish your service-level agreement (SLA)
Your SLA establishes expectations for your team and/or customers in terms of the services provided by your support team, business hours, service channels, and expected response times.
External SLAs with customers can be established, as can internal SLAs to govern internal expectations. The important thing is to have one because it will assist you in determining the specifics of deploying your ticketing software.
Delegate roles and responsibilities
No agent, manager, or administrator should be unsure of their responsibilities. Assigning roles and responsibilities clarifies who does what and when.
Furthermore, you facilitate more seamless communication because team members know who to contact if they have questions.
Finally, clearly defined roles and responsibilities lay the groundwork for managing user permissions in your ticketing system.
Make ticket routing workflows
Because ticket routing is the primary function of your IT ticketing system, defining your ticketing workflows is critical to the success of your software implementation.
This is the stage at which you define how inquiries will be handled based on when they are received, the type of inquiry, the channel(s) involved, the customer who inquired, and any other criteria pertinent to your operation.
Remember that you do not, and probably should not, assign an agent to every ticket. Instead, use self-service tools such as knowledge bases, chatbots, and FAQs to create ticketing workflows that only escalate customer issues to agents when necessary.
Validate your ticketing system
It doesn’t take much for a customer to switch to a competitor. In fact, 61 percent of customers say they’d switch to a competitor after just one bad experience.
So, once your system is up and running, put it through its paces. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and submit various types of tickets.
Examine the process for points of contention or dead ends. Only after you’ve thoroughly tested the system should you go live.
Even the most perfect ticketing system is never truly complete. Your workflows can always be optimized and improved in some way.
Make sure you’re spotting opportunities for improvement by tracking service performance, collecting feedback from agents, and surveying customers on a regular basis.
An overview of the 5 best ticketing systems
- Zoho Desk
- WordPress Advanced Ticket System
Zendesk is built to connect your customer service team with customers across all channels, including email, messaging, social, voice, bots, and community forums.
Zendesk ticketing software not only improves customer satisfaction, but it’s also a dream for support agents, who get a comprehensive view of the entire customer journey, allowing them to stop searching for information and start serving customers.
Furthermore, with pre-built dashboards and customer reports, the centralized hub makes it simple for managers and administrators to gain visibility into their team’s performance.
Managers can more effectively find ways to improve efficiency through resource planning, customer request prioritization, ticketing workflow optimization, and other methods using information from these dashboards and reports.
2. Zoho Desk
Zoho Desk is an excellent choice for smaller, customer-facing support teams that require a platform that can scale with them.
However, Zoho’s CRM is suitable for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Many Zoho users appreciate Zoho Desk because it integrates easily with other Zoho products.
If you’re already familiar with Zoho products, implementing and using Zoho Desk will be second nature.
Furthermore, if you use Zoho CRM, you can easily sync your database with Zoho Desk. Remember that Zoho is constantly adding new features, such as social media integration and data analysis, so keep an eye on how this product evolves.
While the free plan is fairly basic, it does include an email-based IT ticket system, private knowledge management, and multi-language support.
Freshdesk is another option aimed at smaller businesses that has a low cost and an easy-to-use interface.
Freshdesk is available in five editions: Sprout, a free plan, and four paid editions called Blossom, Garden, Estate, and Forest.
The most expensive plan includes key features such as team dashboards, social signals, and chatbots.
Freshdesk also offers Freshworks Academy, which can help you relieve some of the administrative burden of training your agents on your new system.
However, if you choose one of the lower-priced plans, you may find that the features provided are somewhat limited.
You can also try the Freshdesk free plan to get a feel for the software, which includes email ticketing tools, analytics, canned responses, automation, and knowledge base management.
HappyFox is a cloud-based CRM that offers ticketing solutions for a wide range of industries and business sizes.
Customers of HappyFox include a wide range of organizations, from small businesses to large corporations. Their ticketing software offers a plethora of simple-to-use yet powerful features.
However, where it excels in features, it falls short in price and integrations. HappyFox, unlike Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Zoho Desk, does not integrate with as many other tools and systems.
There is no free plan or trial available to get a feel for the software. Furthermore, their pricing tiers range from $39 to $99 per user per month, so you will have to pay to try HappyFox. Still, if you’re looking for best-in-class ticketing tools, HappyFox is worth a look.
The WordPress Advanced Ticket System plugin is worth considering if your organization uses WordPress and has a simple customer service operation with no more than two channels.
This open-source helpdesk ticketing software is very simple to integrate because it is built directly on WordPress.
Furthermore, because the system displays tickets using your site’s default single post template, it will not slow down your site.
Of course, absolute simplicity has its drawbacks. Direct ticketing from social media, live chat, or blog comments is not supported by the system. As a result, for larger, more complex service operations, this ticketing system may be too simple.
In any case, you can test WATS with the free plan, which includes web-to-email ticketing. The premium plan requires a yearly fee of 50 euros, which, as of this writing, converts to 55.35 US dollars.
How to choose the best ticketing software for your business?
If your IT staff spends all of their time sorting through emails or determining who responded to which tickets, it’s time for a change.
In terms of software, your ticketing software will be one of the most frequently used tools by your customer support team. Choosing from the many options available is therefore risky.