We spoke with LiveVox Senior Product Manager Erwin De Vera about the elements of great ticketing software. Check out the interview below for expert advice on how to find and deploy a ticketing system that takes the guesswork out of providing timely and valuable customer service.
Ticketing: Expectation vs. Reality
Q: In a perfect world, how should help desk software and ticketing systems work?
A: I think it’s important to start with this question instead: “What is it that you’re looking to accomplish with a ticketing system?”And I know that’s a pretty broad question, but it’s important to ask because it helps you identify and start with what your customers are expecting from you. And remember your customers can be internal or external.
Are you looking to provide quality customer service? Customer care isn’t just a consumer to an agent interaction. It can also be an agent as a customer scenario, too.
Because most enterprises, the way they work today, they have groups of agents that are specialized in one function. So you have your customer care agents that take in the inquiries. And then once they’ve completed that intake they reach out to someone else to do something for that account or provide a service or put it in an order.
Normally, you know, especially with companies that haven’t fully digitized yet, they route these inquiries across teams though multiple sets of software applications in the background. They might have a project management tool or they might have their own internal routing software, maybe a CRM software, or maybe they just use email to track all of this. Or worse, it is all done manually with physical notes in an office setting.
So, going back to the question of, in a perfect world, how help desk software and ticketing systems can help you with all of that is through consolidating and simplifying processes.
Ticketing lets you track all the interactions or all of the inquiries in one dedicated place that layers in metrics to really identify how fast your internal processes move. This significantly reduces the likelihood of customer issues slipping through the cracks or teams dropping the ball because of a lack of visibility since they can see at a glance things like the status of a ticket, duration length, ticket owner, and things like that that provide accountability and transparency across teams.
Ideally, ticketing systems organize your inquiries, solidify processes, and streamline them.
Q: How does ticketing in the contact center fall short today?
A: It’s not so much the ticketing system itself or their functions. It’s really the processes that have been labeled and configured within the ticketing software. So basically what I mean by that is that a ticketing system’s main purpose is to allow you to modify your workflow. So let’s say a sales request comes in, or a cancellation request comes in. Those are all parameters that identify two things: what type of inquiry is happening and what course of action should be associated with that specific inquiry.
So where I find that many helpdesk and ticketing systems fall short is in a lack of workflow determination, or rules against which to define the processes tickets should follow. So the shortcoming can be twofold. It can be too much customization and also not enough. Both of which burden agents and the people in the contact center managing the tickets because now they have to filter through everything manually, which defeats the point of using software and takes you right back to those old school days of using Post-its.
When you’re using a system that gives the option for out-of-the-box tagging and configuration but can also accommodate custom needs and provides the backend support necessary to establish those customizations the right way, you get flows that are configured with the right attributes and the work needed to get work done becomes easier and more organized.
The end result is very similar to my work in product development because at its core it’s very agile. As a product manager I’m working with clients to find solutions to problems in the same way customer care agents work to resolve issues, and that work needs to be done quickly, iteratively, or incrementally depending on the issue and request. And just like in a contact center, I need to have a record of every stage of the evolution that accounts for dependencies and captures any cross-functional collaboration.
The Unified Data Model
Q: What makes LiveVox’s approach to ticketing unique?
A: I bring up the work I do as a product manager because there’s a tool we use to communicate with engineers, Jira, and for some people it can be intimidating to use because it is so complex and can help you accomplish so much that people don’t know where to start.
And I think that’s the case with a lot of helpdesk and ticketing software, too. Because there’s a lot of features there, and you may not have a use for all of it. The trick is spending the time to actually clean it up and create something that works with your organization—with the KPIs you’re trying to hit.
Now, what makes LiveVox unique in the marketplace with our own help desk ticketing solution is our unified type of model.
What we know is that a lot of ticketing systems are out there, and they do one thing: classify tickets. So you still need to have a CRM. You still need to have channels because tickets and forms are coming in from channels. And while some systems do offer integrations with these other crucial functions, they don’t offer the complete package.
We have voice, email, and digital channels bundled together. We have a CRM tying the data collected on those channels together. We also have a WFO suite, too. All in one. So, what makes us unique is that the full customer support lifecycle is completely baked into a single platform.
Q: So customer repetition and frustration is drastically cut down, then?
A: Absolutely. And not just from the perspective of customer interactions but also from the point of view of the ticket progression itself. Any changes to the ticket that are added on, such as attachments, comments,or statuses, et cetera are all captured within that ticket. So if a customer calls back in later after a ticket is closed, or someone from another department follows up, they all know right off the bat what the ticket history is.
And so, because it carries that history, it’s also another way that contact centers can potentially identify pain points.
Q: Who is the LiveVox ticketing solution best suited for?
A: At a high level, LiveVox Integrated Ticketing is a fit for any organization that works with customers. But you know, like I said earlier, it really depends on the use case that you have and what you’re trying to accomplish. So, while there are wide-ranging applications for customer to agent scenarios with ticketing that seem obvious—customer care, account management, collections, loan onboarding— there’s also the agent as a customer scenario to consider.
Ticketing can help to make sure that organizations have a way to track that their teams are centralized and focused on the right things.
Q: What are three of the main benefits to choosing an integrated ticketing system?
Right off the bat I’d say:
- Unified channels
- A single view of the customer through one profile
Those are the banner items I’d begin the list with. But I wouldn’t stop there.
Another big benefit is automation and real-time and historical insights. So not only do you have a view of the touch points that you’re doing with your consumers, you have analysis of the calls that you’re making, the calls that are coming in, and what the results of the actions you’ve taken on those calls are. Then automation can be used to create efficiency where you’ve identified it needs to exist.
Metrics & Measurements
Q: What ticketing metrics should people watch for?
A: At the baseline level, the best metrics for ticketing really are ticket duration and ticket open rate. How long has a ticket been open and how many did it take to close?
At the end of the day, you open a ticket to close it. Ticket duration and ticket open rate tell you a few things: how many tickets are being opened based on this status or based on these types of questions, or based on these types of campaigns, et cetera. And then from there you start looking at how long has this been open and why? Did it remain open because it got moved to this team and they were just too impacted and they couldn’t do anything about it, or was it because no one knew how to answer the question?
These are the types of nuggets you’re looking to uncover with ticketing KPIs: anything that will identify gaps in process or service quality.
Q: What do you recommend to people who are right now in the market evaluating a ticketing system or help desk software?
A: The first thing I always recommend is start with what you’re trying to accomplish before you even begin your search. Are you trying to provide better customer service? Everyone’s going to say yes to that. Are you trying to make your agents more efficient? Are you trying to clean up your workflows or are you trying to make sure all of your work is documented?
That’s the general framework questions I propose starting with in order to get yourself thinking about where you are, what is happening in your organization right now, and what needs to happen.
From a feature set standpoint, the types of questions that I would recommend asking are about integration with channels and automation capabilities. Consider “what can I do with a ticket? How can I customize it in terms of the different types of attributes I can show?” What are the accessibility rules? How can ticket visibility be configured? Do you have options for customization there?
Classify the ticketing capabilities around themes. For instance, features specific to internal ticket and process management, features specific to the level of service you’ll be able to provide. Then tie those lists back to your starting questions of “why” and “what” to determine which product is the right one for your use case.