Customizing Jira Service Desk

According to Customer Contact Week Digital’s 2017 report, reducing customer effort was slated to be the number one focus for organizations in 2018. The follow-up was disappointing, though, as the following year’s survey found that only about 18 percent of customers were happy with their experience, proving that customer support is a crucial opportunity for improvement in most industries. Give customers an easy way to ask for help and resolve their issues quickly, and you’ll have a chance to regain their trust, turning a negative experience into a positive one.

Modern ITSM tools can help achieve this by enabling a consistent and transparent experience for both customers and support teams. Jira Service Desk, for example, lends the Customer Portal functionality to your Jira instance, which improves time to resolution because support and development teams can operate together in a single, frictionless environment. The tool’s various features – like request queues and advanced automation rules – help better fulfill SLAs as well as allow you to keep customers in the loop thanks to real-time notifications.

However, what your customers see when they visit an out-of-the-box portal may not be as helpful as you might think.

customer service portal

Here are five ways to adjust your Jira Service Desk Customer Portal to meet your clients’ needs and curate a more positive experience, even when they’re encountering issues with your products or services.

4 essential Jira Service Desk customizations 

Statuspage examples: 24 status pages showcasing excellent customization, design, and incident communication

1. Set up customer request types

The Help Center is the first touchpoint of the support process. Here, customers see a list of portals and request types to choose from, which can be overwhelming. Whatever question or problem they have, your customers should be able to find the right place to start without having to stumble around the site.

You can set up customer request types under the Project settings in Jira Service Desk. Use keywords or phrases your clients would use to describe their issue to maximize the effectiveness of the search bar. If you’re an IT specialist, what you call “asset maintenance” is most likely a “hardware issue” for your customers. If you’re a marketer, try switching “SEM and GDN campaigns” to “Text and banner ads.” You can create groups of request types, set icons for each type, and edit their descriptions to make navigation easier.

Keep in mind that request types aren’t the same as the issue types you’ll see in Jira as a service desk agent. If you’re using a custom issue type, you’ll need to set it up in the Issue types settings. The advantage of this setup is that you can assign multiple request types to one issue type; a customer may see “New hardware” and “New software” as separate requests, but they fall into the “IT Help” category for the agents.

2. Edit fields or add custom fields to the request form

Default request forms have only Summary, Description, and Attachment fields, which in most cases is not enough to describe an issue completely, and thus not very user-friendly. And some users may not be familiar with Jira, so they may not know what to type in the Summary and Description fields. 

To address this issue, in the Request types section of the Project settings, click the Edit fields button next to a request type. On the following screen, you can add or remove fields from the request form, provide additional instructions and external links as Field help, and choose which fields are required to have a value.

You can also hide some fields, or autofill preset values for them. You may want issues from a given request type to always be set as high priority, relate to specific Jira components, or be assigned to the same agent. Another useful feature is the ability to change the display names of these fields, which will remain the same in the agent’s view.

edit and customize fields in Jira Service Desk

Fields with changed display names will look much clearer on the request form, but the agents will see them as Summary, Description, etc. in Jira 

To add custom fields, you’ll need to create them first. There are many options, including checkboxes, radio buttons, date pickers, select lists, and number and text fields. For example, if you want customers to select a payment type, choose a Radio Button and add Cash and Credit card options.

Next, associate your custom field with the correct screen. In most cases, this will be the Jira Service Desk screen of the target project. Remember to scroll down the list of screens and click Update, or your changes won’t be saved.

3. Incorporate your company’s brand

Every customer portal looks the same out of the box, but more and more companies are applying their brand style across all their web properties, including support channels. Jira Service Desk’s Portal settings offer a range of options for customizing the Portal’s look and feel. Change the front page title and the Portal name, or add your company logo to the header panel. In versions 4.1 and later, click View and customize to change the display colors and upload a custom banner to the top background. You can also add announcements on this screen, to inform customers about changes in working hours or recurring issues that are being addressed.

4. Link a knowledge base

5 tips for building a powerful knowledge base with Confluence

Self-service is one of the most sought-after capabilities for modern ITSM platforms. Provided that you connect Jira Service Desk with a knowledge base in Confluence and write the answers to your customers’ common questions, they will be able to find them by typing a query into the search bar on the Customer Portal. In many cases, they’ll resolve their problem without having to create a request and wait for an agent’s response. Meanwhile, you’re saving the support team valuable time, so it’s a win-win.

Advanced Jira Service Desk customization

Here’s what your Customer Portal might look like after applying the four steps mentioned above.

Devinti's customized customer support center

Here’s what Devinti’s support center looks like

These basic changes can make a huge difference in your customers’ support experience, but the use cases for this tool vary so widely that its out-of-the-box functionality often benefits from further customization and additional features to suit your particular setup. This might include displaying external links on the Help Center, implementing dynamic request forms, including customer workflow transitions on the request view, customizing the My Requests screen, or creating an entirely new design for the Customer Portal.

At Deviniti, we’ve been working hard to help improve the user experience of Jira Service Desk since the product’s inception. We’ve also created a video tutorial series so you can learn how you can further improve your customer support experience on each screen of Jira Service Desk.

4 customer-friendly ways to customize Jira Service Desk