Here is an audio version of the “Should You Use a Ticket System?” blog, in case you are driving!

Ticketing systems boggle my mind. They take too long. They can’t possible take the place of true communication. I recently purchased a plugin from Wishlist Products and found out that the only support they provide is through a ticket system. It took over 2 months to get the plugin working due to having to communicate through their ticket system. They were adamant about NOT taking a phone call. My client lost money during the time the plugin was not working. I will not purchase anything from them in the future, and I discourage other clients from purchasing their plugins.

Adopting a Support Ticket System
photo credit: Fabrizio Turco;

So where did the ticketing system come from anyway? Here’s my best guess: The IT industry may have created this system when they began to receive more requests than they could handle. The ticket system did not take the place of “face-to-face” or phone contact. Once the ticket reached the next technician in the queue, the technician would contact that person by phone or by stopping by his/her desk to do the work or confirm the work had been done.  The ticket system was never meant to take the place of communication. 

Now, that many companies work completely online, many ticket systems HAVE taken place of communication. There are many problems with this:

  1. It takes longer to get anything done – when you submit a ticket you can’t get an answer right away! You are at the will of the technician and there are many factors that might slow things down like time zones. I have several clients so I might not come back around to a “ticket” for several days, which means that there might be a reply that I did not see for several days, but if I was able to call the technician, I would be able to get my question answered right away. Sometimes the problem is so very simple, that it could have been handled over the phone in a minute or two, versus having to wait 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours.
  2. Never communicating with someone creates a boundary when trying to create lasting relationships. It does not matter what kind of service you are selling, you are ultimately selling you. If you decide you never want to talk to your customers you create a boundary that keeps the customer from trusting you completely. Business relationships are very similar to couples relationships and friendships: if you don’t communicate, THEY DON’T LAST.  Ticket systems are good for certain issues, but not good for every issue.
  3. Communication is sometimes missed. I sent a ticket to another Plugin company called AA Team and specifically said I had gone through all the documentation and did not find an answer to my question (which I always do before submitting a ticket). The reply I received said “did you check the support page for your request.” This wasted several days that a phone call would not have wasted. I received  a ticket reply recently that encouraged me to update the plugin to fix the problem, but when I tried, there was no update available for that plugin. So I had to send another ticket saying “there is no update available.” (So many very simple conversations would eliminate this mundane back and forth and save time.)
  4. Ticket systems are not always customer friendly. If a company’s only way to give support is through tickets then I know the company is not listening to the customers because there is no way that every customer is completely happy with the ticketing system. Providing support should be done by multiple ways, to accommodate many different customers.
  5. We’re all human! We want to talk to other human beings. My best clients are people who I see and talk to every week. My worst experiences with clients were from a LACK of communication. When I talk to my clients regularly, I get much better results. They appreciate the time.

When is a using a ticket system ok? When you give your clients several ways to get in touch with you and your clients choose the ticketing system, it’s an appropriate option. It is not appropriate as the only means of support your offer (unless you are trying to lose customers).

So if you decide the only way you will give support to your clients is by tickets, please know your customers will eventually go somewhere else where they are able to get faster and more accurate support and therefore your ticketing system will eventually be the end of your company. People talk, so word will get out that you do not take phone calls and you will lose business.

Reveal Marketing works with businesses to create mobile, user-friendly online marketing plans. Call or email Reveal, if you have questions about your company’s online marketing goals. We’re glad to help!


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