Your IT team is a crucial part of the company, putting out fires on a daily basis, keeping your office communicating well, and making sure things are running smoothly.

Whether you are a small team that is part of a start-up, or a large team for a fast-growing company, prioritizing and resolving tickets in a timely manner is key for the overall well-being of the company as well as for not spreading your team too thin.

Processing tickets in the order in which they are received (otherwise known as first in first out, or FIFO) is a logical way to manage the workload, but this isn’t always a best practice. By letting urgent issues wait behind routine tickets, your workflow can cause a backlog leading to unnecessary stress in your department and within the company. Likewise, if every ticket coming through your system has the word ‘urgent’ attached to it, you’ll need to make difficult decisions about which “urgent” issue to actually tackle first. We don’t mean to shock you, Jordan, but UberEats not loading on your browser doesn’t count as “urgent.”

If simple FIFO isn’t working for you anymore, using an automated ticketing system can free up your department to handle issues more effectively. An automated system can help to route and assign tickets and will keep your team informed of the ticket status so you can communicate with users more clearly.

We’ve put together a list of 5 ways to provide the most efficient service without compromising quality or morale.

1.) Identify repeat issues so you aren’t wasting extra time on things that your team has already handled.

Gathering data from each ticket that is opened can be helpful for future problem-solving. As your knowledge base builds, make sure that everyone in the department knows where to go to find answers from past issues – use repetition advantageously. Having this information centralized as well as communicating with your team will make it easy to process those pesky recurring issues. Collecting data will not only help you to resolve these issues quickly but going forward, it will also help with root cause analysis in preventing certain issues altogether.

Having this information automated and at your fingertips will be a huge timesaver. Using Natural language processing (NLP) and Machine Learning/AI to match the ticket’s question to your saved answer. We realize this isn’t a perfect science since instead of auto-answering which is faster, but can lead to a bad experience for the requester. This empowers the human answering the ticket to judge if the answer needs to be edited or customized before sending.

2.) Understand the issue and how it affects the user and company to determine response time. 

As you gather data, you will need to know more than just ‘my computer won’t turn on’. Your system needs to be specific in gathering and categorizing information from the user as well as providing a space for them to describe exactly what is going on. It is important that tickets are assigned to the right person the first time around so that time is not wasted in ticket reassignment. Below is an example of a simple user form from Halp, which is used to route tickets to the best team in the closest location.

Route Tickets to the Right Person Immediately

Earlier, we mentioned that the first-in, first-out model of processing tickets isn’t always the best way to go about dealing with IT requests. Having pertinent information at the moment you receive the request will help you determine a timeline for a response, saving you time and energy of having to follow up with the user. If possible, hold a simple training or send a memo out to the company to help explain best practices for submitting tickets including instructions on what information to provide and how the process will work.

3.) ⏰ Communicate your process in a timely manner. 

Even if you know that the resolution will take some time, make sure you let the user know by providing them with timely updates along the way. A quick reply to the ticket can buy you some time in figuring out how to go about resolving it. Some IT departments choose to have an automated response sent to the user as soon as a ticket is generated.

Be honest and realistic in your communication, account for delays and other errors and don’t assume that the person who put in the request knows what is going on behind the scenes. You know what they say about assuming… It makes an a$$ out of you and Ming. I don’t know who Ming is, probably some poor old lady.

If your company is using Halp as your ticketing system, this will be a much easier process as the app is already in a conversational mode on your Slack channel. With Halp, your IT team can create and manage IT support tickets directly in Slack, using an emoji to turn the message into a trackable ticket.

React to DM’s with an Emoji to Create a Ticket

Being proactive in your communication also prevents users from submitting duplicate tickets or replies when looking for a status update.

Threaded Conversational Support

4.) Prioritize your tickets. 

As your tickets come in throughout the day, it will be important to assign them a priority as well as a resolution time. There are many factors to consider: who is this affecting? Can they do their job in spite of it? Is it affecting more than one person? A whole department? Assessing the severity of the ticket and what impact it will have on the company will provide your department with structure and will make it easier to delegate tickets throughout the day. Something that affects the whole company will need to be dealt with right away and labeled high-priority, while an issue that affects just one person might be categorized as a lower priority. For some teams, they create different channels to help triage and manage higher-level requests that need their attention immediately.

Escalated Triage Channels

Below is an example of how you can customize Halp to prioritize different tickets and delineate status. As you can see, the verbiage of the tickets is fully customizable right down to the emoji. This helps to keep everyone on the same page and makes the process fun!

Customizable Emoji Reactions

5.) Design a workflow or ‘recipe’ for your IT employees that delegates differently prioritized tickets evenly and efficiently.

Expecting one IT employee to handle a large amount of high-priority tickets will result in a severe delay in high-priority ticket resolution. A workflow – or recipe in Halp terminology – can help to manage ticket assignment keeping your team on the same page and avoiding confusion and frustration. Keep it simple.

Recipes for Prioritization

Using a tool like Halp keeps everything in one place instead of having to use a third party site to communicate and manage tickets.

The bottom line

Make sure your ticketing platform gives you the flexibility to design your automated system to meet your specific needs. Once a system like Halp is implemented within your company, it can be used across many departments. Use the data you collect from past tickets to anticipate issues before they arise and look for commonalities to prevent repeat issues altogether. Understand your system and the users and be proactive in communicating timelines. Work as a team to prioritize and resolve tickets. If the technology in the company isn’t working properly, then the employees don’t have the tools to do their job effectively, which will eventually affect your company’s bottom line.

Questions? Comments? Share them with us in the Halp Community!

Five ways to prioritize and resolve IT support tickets faster