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Upgrading a Ticketing System in the Real World: A View from the Trenches

The 6 key solutions to upgrading your ticketing system.

The Real World - Going to a Wonderland or a Battlefield?

More and more companies are investing and implementing a ticketing system in one flavor or another, expecting it to do wonders – improve ticket (aka issue, request) response time, find and solve issues before they affect the end users, record and track issue history, provide visibility into the issues and trends for management to find improvement areas… just to list a few.

It seems like with the ticketing system in place, you are going to a wonderland. But really? In my experience, you are actually going to a battlefield, and it is brutal!

As a manager, you will be questioned on why issues captured by the system are not resolved quickly enough and are causing delays, why there are unresolved tickets lagging for over 100 days, and how to justify the ROI of the system and the team you are leading. You will have sleepless nights for sure.

As a member of the support team, you wish the tickets will go away after you’ve closed them; yet, they keep coming back, often times repeating old issues. Adding salt to the wound, you often spend precious time investigating tickets only to find that they are falsely reported ones. As new tickets come in, piling on top of old ones, one can’t help but feel restless, powerless and exhausted.

5 Reasons That Makes a Ticketing System Inefficient

1. Lack of interface with other existing systems

In the real world, you could be supporting requests across multiple channels, each using their own way to send you requests or issues, such as bug tracking system, email, or even chats. Those requests not captured by your ticketing system will have to be manually created in your system.

2. Lack of uniform ticket creation standard

Even if you have entered every request into your ticket system, since they come from multiple sources, it often requires several rounds of back and forth communication to get the information needed which can cause significant delays.

3. Lack of visibility to root cause issues

Amidst the large amount of tickets, there are repetitive ones and false alarm tickets. Investigating those tickets over and over again is a pure waste of time. Yet, without root cause analysis, those tickets will definitely reoccur.

4. Lack of automated reports

Due to above reasons, it’s hard to have the system generate reports automatically. The support lead has to manually crunch data, work through the Excel sheet, and write the report that may not be an accurate presentation of the real operational world.

5. Lack of commitment

Buried in tickets that seem never-ending can be overwhelming and greatly impact your support team’s morale, which makes their work less productive and prone to error.

Turning a Battlefield into a Wonderland

Ticket handling shouldn’t always be like a battlefield with its messy consequences, wounds and shocks–  hours upon hours of wasted time, and did I mention no sleep? Knowing the proper and efficient ticket handling strategies will transport you from the ditches of a battlefield to the green pastures of ticketing success.

  • Collect and analyze demand: Fully communicate and understand business needs, gain support from top management. Discuss to find bottlenecks, and come up with processes, KPIs and SLAs that can manage and measure support performance.
  • Build a self-serviced portal on top of existing systems: This uniform interface provides the stakeholders (engineers, internal and external customers) a platform to report issue/requests in built-in forms, saving communication and manual ticket creation time. Talk to the support team and your partners to see how this portal can make their lives easier.
  • Build a data collection standard: The ticketing system will exert its utmost power when you build business logic and data definition into it. Capturing data such as Ticket Volume, Time to Detect (TTD), Time to Escalate (TTE), Time to Mitigate (TTM), Time to Resolve (TTR), Ticket Reoccurring Ratio can greatly help the team and management apply data-driven operations.
  • Leverage BI and be creative: Be sure to integrate BI functionality into the system. It will make it possible for you to pull the data whenever you need, so you can analyze trends, drill down for root cause issues, find improvement areas, and observe whether the improvement actions are effective or not. One creative solution is allowing every team member to see his own dashboard so he can see how many tickets he is assigned and how’s he is performing compared to his peers.
  • Establish ticket handling tiers: In order to improve organizational efficiency, a clear chain of command should be established. While entry level and mid-level engineers work on handling and mitigating the tickets, senior level engineers should be in charge of grouping reoccurring issues and finding root causes.
  • Keep the knowledge base updated: This is an area often neglected by the team as they are so busy mitigating/resolving issues. Designate resources to maintain it and check how the knowledge base is used in the support team’s daily work. Remember to keep the knowledge base updated is like sharpening a sword, you have to do it regularly or your tool becomes ineffective.

If you are fighting with your ticketing system in the trenches, let us help you out. At Exsilio, we have strong expertise in project management, portal development and BI analysis and visualization capacities. We will work with you to update your existing ticket system and get you on a path to success.

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