Ticket management has become a core IT function. Whether you look to serve employees, external customers, or both,
you have to find a standardized way in which they can log problems, and you can prioritize, track, and solve these problems to maximum satisfaction.
Of course, as any experienced IT manager knows, no ticket management software is created equal. The options range so widely, in fact, that’s it’s easy to get lost in the forest. When that happens, you can pull yourself back with a simple question: does your ticket management software help or hinder your operations?
That simple question, of course, can generate some pretty complex answers. Still, it’s the best way to make sure that the package you choose ultimately helps both your department and the constituents it works toward satisfying. Here’s a way to streamline your efforts.
The Basic Features of Great Ticket Management Software
First, you have to set a baseline. Every version of ticket management system, at the very least, has to include some core functions that help you manage any complaints and work requests. These features tend to include the following:
- A multi-channel ticketing system, allowing anyone in need of IT help to submit tickets through their preferred way of communicating. This might include anything from email to social media, or manual entry from help desk staff following a phone call or in-person visit.
- An easy way to assign tickets to individual members of your team. Chances are your skill set within the team does not perfectly overlap. You need to be able to assign tickets to the member of your team most qualified to answer the question and solve the problem accurately and within a given time frame.
- The potential to escalate tickets. If the initial staff member assigned to a ticket cannot solve the question, they should be able to escalate it and/or assign it to another member of the team without major issue.
- A historical record of tickets, helping you refer back to problems that were closed a while ago if the same issue comes up again.
- A convenient reporting system that allows you to detect problem trends, average ticket close time by staff member, and more. Without this reporting system, you will never know just how effectively your help desk staff actually works.
Any ticket management software that does not include either of these five basic points should not even be a consideration for you. Look elsewhere, because you’re almost sure to run into problems with your operations down the road.
Understanding Your Unique Needs for Advanced Features
The above forms the baseline, but that doesn’t mean you should end your search for the best possible software at that point. You might notice that all of the above features will apply and be necessary for any size of organization in any industry. But based on your unique position and operations, you might have more unique needs.
What exactly those needs are tends to vary widely. As you might imagine, an SaaS software company can benefit significantly from a relatively automated way to translate tickets that come up multiple times into a self-service knowledge base for clients to proactively find solution and save valuable resources. A financial services firm, on the other hand, has to find a platform that effectively communicates and prioritizes the privacy of any information shared in the tickets.
Find your unique needs based on the types of tickets you have handled in the past. Then, find a platform that offers features specifically designed to solve them. That way, you can make sure that all of your needs are taken care of, rather than simply buying software that is not optimized for those specific needs.
Keeping All Constituencies in Mind
As you consider your needs and whether or not a ticket management software can help you solve them, carefully consider your audiences. Here, it’s important not to fall into the trap that many organizations, even those with experienced IT departments, fall into: a limited understanding of who your constituents actually are.
Naturally, you need to think about your end users. These might be internal users or external customers, using the ticketing system to get their technology needs taken care of. It’s your primary audience, and one that you are not likely to forget about. No plan you build, and no software you implement, should be pursued without your primary audiences at the center of the conversation.
The second part to the equation, though, and one where many companies fall short, is your experts on the other end of the system. Just as your users need to be comfortable submitting questions and problems, your IT team needs to be able to handle them in a way that suits their own schedule. It’s the only way to make sure that you get to the full potential of any platform you’re about to implement.
Importantly, consideration of your IT team’s needs and preferences does not mean religiously sticking with your current way of doing things. It also has to consider a natural resistance to change that comes with any new software platform. Still, never forget about your own team as you implement software to improve your workflow.
Does Your Ticket Management Software Help or Hinder Operations?
With all of the above in mind, it’s time to get back to the question at the center of this article: how will the right ticket management software actually improve (or reduce the effectiveness) of your operations? If you consider all of the points made throughout, the answer should become more natural. Now, you know exactly what a platform needs to accomplish, and how those needs fit into your organization’s existing structure, people, and expectations. All that’s left to do is finding a software that actually accomplishes these goals.
That means looking for basic features. But it also means making sure that any software you pick naturally integrates into your operations without a major adjustment on any end. Take those steps, and you can come out of the process with a platform designed to actually streamline your help desk operations.