Technology resides at the heart of every thriving business, streamlining operations, improving service delivery, and boosting productivity.
However, when technology fails, your entire business can come to a sudden, grinding halt. Luckily, IT support teams are always ready to deal with the unexpected, from common technical problems to emergencies.
To ensure your IT support team is performing at their best, it’s essential to understand how to prioritize support tickets in your organizational workflow. Congestion and chaos with customer support tickets can result in longer resolution times and unnecessary delays. This can all lead to lower customer satisfaction.
In this article, we teach you how to handle support tickets by breaking down the best tools, tactics, and strategies at your disposal.
What is an IT Support Ticket?
Before we show you how to reduce support tickets, it’s worth knowing what a support ticket, otherwise known as a trouble ticket, actually is.
Broadly speaking, the term refers to a specific type of interaction that takes place between customer support agents and clients. The purpose of these interactions is to resolve an issue or impediment.
When it comes to IT, the issue is technological in nature. When a client is faced with an IT problem they can’t resolve, they open a support ticket, usually in the form of an interactive record. This is accomplished using a digital ticketing system that offers a host of features.
Ultimately, help desk tickets may be resolved or escalated to a higher-level support staff. In either case, the aim is to keep the resolution time as brief as possible for a better customer service experience.
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What are Some of the Most Common Trouble Tickets (IT Support Tickets)?
To illustrate the sort of work that IT support teams encounter when dealing with support requests, here are several common trouble tickets:
- Printing errors
- Files not saving
- Slow computing
- Deleted or missing files
- Slow network or internet
- Password or login issues
- Poor or lost wireless signal
- Blue screen of death (BSoD)
- Computer cannot recognize USB device(s)
How to Reduce Invalid Technical Support Tickets in Five Easy Steps
Let’s now examine how to handle support tickets using a proven support process that consists of five methods.
1. Address Tickets Based on Urgency
Some tech support staff follow the basic “first-come-first-serve” principle for incoming tickets. On the surface, this is the most fair and sensible approach.
In fact, for organizations working with a managed services provider (MSP), this practice is often explicitly stated in the service-level agreement (SLA).
However, this strategy isn’t always the most effective. Instead, it’s important to figure out how to categorize support tickets based on their level of urgency. One effective way of doing so is with a ticket management system.
Though this will vary from one business to another, there are some best practices. When determining the priority level of a support ticket, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the nature of the issue?
- How many users are being affected?
- Which services have been affected?
- What may have caused the issue?
- How fast must the issue be resolved?
By following this line of questioning, you’ll be able to better prioritize issues as they arise. For example, a ticket concerning a printer issue may be opened, followed shortly thereafter by a ticket concerning a network outage.
Obviously, the network issue should take priority based on the number of people and services it affects.
2. Perform a Root Cause Analysis
If support specialists keep being hit with the same issues, then it may be time to get to the bottom of it. Instead of providing surface-level resolutions, technicians should take the time to dig a little deeper by performing a root cause analysis (RCA).
RCA is a term that encompasses the tools, techniques, and processes to identify the fundamental source of a problem. By conducting an RCA, you may realize that unrelated issues may stem from the same underlying cause.
This discovery allows you to treat problems at their source as opposed to a mere break-fix approach.
3. Implement Self-Service Portals
One of the best ways to improve the speed and efficiency of your support staff is to reduce the number of incoming tickets they must handle. How can you control this? The answer is with a self-service portal.
A self-service portal provides clients with access to a systematically organized knowledge kiosk. This kiosk will guide them through their issue resolution and is manned by a sophisticated machine learning (ML) algorithm that offers feedback and follow-up.
A kiosk typically includes several features, such as:
- Best practices
- Audio-visual content
- Step-by-step instructions
- Teaching and training tools
By funneling low-level IT incidents through a customer-friendly portal, you can deflect a large portion of straightforward, yet time-consuming, tickets. This lets your team members focus on more complex or unusual issues without feeling overwhelmed or rushed.
4. Manage Client Expectations
Because client expectations are directly influenced by the promises IT specialists make, it’s important to provide accurate resolution times. When support teams fail to meet deadlines, it’s only natural that clients will interpret this as poor service delivery.
Luckily, there are a few ways to combat this. First, establish how to track support tickets and resolution times. These metrics should be made pertinent among support team members and shared widely.
Additionally, support techs must account for unforeseen events, rather than just the technical issue in isolation. For instance, factors such as a testing delay, power outage, or urgent service calls can prolong resolution times.
Finally, a time buffer should always be added to estimates. We all want to deliver the fastest possible customer service, but it’s important to set realistic goals, and a buffer can help with that. Besides, it’s always better to deliver a little too early than too late.
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5. Take a Proactive Approach
As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This sound advice extends beyond the domain of health and wellness.
In the world of customer support tickets, proactive solutions can save time, money, and effort down the line.
For example, IT issues arising from virus-infected computer systems will require extra resources to handle. Over time, this recovery and remediation work will negatively impact uptime, ticket resolution, and client satisfaction.
To avoid this, your support staff must use strategies that defend against potential disasters. One strategy is to create a custom rebooting system. In the event of a crisis, this lets admins reboot and restore the system to a baseline. A reboot is also a great way to address other issues.
Get Insight on How to Handle Support Tickets With NetGain
As we’ve seen, there are many ways to handle tickets and support requests. However, in order to understand what truly works for your business, it’s important to experiment with a variety of methods while remaining proactive and vigilant.
Over time, you’ll be able to successfully streamline and optimize your ticket resolution cycle to improve your customer experience and support process.
If you are still unsure about how to answer support tickets effectively, we can help. With nearly four decades of experience as a premier MSP, NetGain Technologies offers a host of IT solutions to instantly remediate and reduce trouble tickets. This includes 24/7/365 help desk support, proactive measures, and root cause analysis (RCA).
Partner with us and benefit from expert advice on how to prioritize support tickets. Contact us today for more information.