Last Thursday, we hosted a webinar with Alex Stillings from Twitter about how they use Jira Service Desk. We got a lot of questions right afterward (hundreds of them!) and as hard as we tried to answer each one, we didn’t have the ability to answer them all in the limited time we had. We wanted to make sure that everyone still got answers, so after reviewing the questions, we posted the most common ones along with our answers.

We hope these are helpful – and a big thanks to Alex for all his support!

Also, in case you missed it, the recording of the webinar can be found at the end of this post.

Top questions and our answers

1. What are the top customizations that Twitter did on top of Jira Service Desk? Did you use any plugins?

Alex, Twitter: “We are pretty simple here at Twitter, our sysadmin team and I try to not add on too many plugins across our Jira Service Desk instance. For customizations we do we have some automatic transition occurring, (ie: Ticket in Waiting status moved back to in progress when a comment is placed on it, ways to track Geo locations, etc).”

2. Did you consider other products, such as Zendesk?

Alex: “Twitter has always used Jira across the company, so there was focus to keep us on the same ticketing application as the rest of the company.”

3. How did you get customers to use the portal? At our organization, they really like using email. What were the biggest wins / challenges to educate end users?

Alex: “That is the $10,000 question! For my team and I, we start from Day 1 at New Hire orientation, go/ticket (our Jira Service Desk) is the primary way to get support with email being secondary. Our company loves email and direct chats as well, so it was up to our techs to direct them to our Jira Service Desk to generate a ticket. This can be challenging with some users we support but as long as your team is diligent on this I have seen it work as a model of support. In terms of wins we have had, it comes down to the Customer Portal itself. The Customer Portal is simple and has a low cost of entry for users to create tickets. I present them with minimal required fields to keep things streamlined and keep the phrasing of each field easy to understand, ie: Location (Where are you?)”

4. Do you guys have a tutorial on how to set up email-only support to Jira Service Desk?

Caroline, Jira Service Desk: “We’re going to follow up with more resources on how to easily migrate off email support or another service tool and onto Jira Service Desk. Watch this blog, and we will also be emailing everyone who registered. We do have this resource for setting up email support within Jira Service Desk. After setting it up, emails will have the sender become the reporter, the subject line translate into the title of the ticket, the body will become the description.”

5. How do emails translate into tickets inside of Jira Service Desk? 

Alex: “Right now we have an email alias that ties into Jira, creating a ticket which looks identical to Jira Service Desk tickets with the exception of fields such as Geo location, Urgency, etc. We do label these tickets with a ‘created-from-email’ label for tracking.”

Caroline: “As mentioned above, we have this resource for setting up email support within Jira Service Desk. After setting it up, emails will have the sender become the reporter, the subject line translate into the title of the ticket, the body will become the description.

6. Do end-users outside of IT need to be Jira customers? 

Caroline: “You need to have Jira in order to install Jira Service Desk. But not all end users of Jira Service Desk need to have Jira licenses. Jira Service Desk charges only by the amount of agents, not end users. End users that don’t have a Jira license can still use the customer portals to submit requests and receive updates, but they can’t assign tickets or work on the workflow.”

Alex: “We are on the unlimited model, so currently all of our ‘customers’ are on Jira and have accounts.”

7. How does this work externally? Can we use Jira Service Desk for external use… such as our partners?

Caroline: “Jira Service Desk is more focused on supporting internal employees and providing workflows for IT agents to manage their requests. But a lot of customers successfully use it to support anyone with a link to the customer portal. As mentioned in an earlier answer, customers do not need to have a Jira license or a Jira user in order to use the customer portal.”

Alex: “Currently we do not have our Jira instance open to external users.”

8. How long did the implementation take? 

Alex: “This is really a work in progress, and I feel we are always iterating on this initiative. The first setup can take only a couple hours but making your component list solid, setting up the right fields in your Request types, and campaigning users to utilize your Jira Service Desk is ongoing. I have revamped our components (for tracking different types of issues for metrics) at least three times in the last year to streamline things.”

Watch the webinar on-demand now!

Watch our webinar in full to get all the details.

Want to learn more? Follow our blog series about graduating from email support.

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Webinar recap: How Twitter reduced email support v...