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K-12 Workflow Management Blog

Ticket Triage: 6 Tips to Build a Seamless Support Workflow

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Two tickets arrive at your help desk at exactly the same moment, both claiming to be urgent. How do you decide which ticket to address first?

If you’re doing it yourself, you’d dig into the details of each ticket. Who’s requesting, what the issue is, who is being directly affected in the moment, and how much work (or learning) is being held up due to each issue. This will give you a pretty clear view of which ticket is truly more urgent … but it also just took you 15 minutes to figure it out.

With a ticket triage system, software can get to work prioritizing tickets and routing them to support staff the moment they’re submitted. This automated ticket triage process saves time and allows your IT support team to offer consistent service with faster resolution times. It also saves money, a critical factor when American public schools spend around $15.5 billion on networks, devices, and the IT staff who maintain them.

In this article, we’ll explore ways to enhance your support workflow with an efficient and cost-effective ticket-triaging process that minimizes wasted time and maximizes user satisfaction.

What is Ticket Triage?

Ticket triaging is the process of categorizing incoming tickets at a help desk so that staff can respond to them quickly. The central aspect of this process is assigning priority levels. For example, staff usually need to act fast to correct a network outage that affects multiple users. On the other hand, a single user who complains about a device with slow load times can probably wait.

Modern ticket triage systems use automation to assign and route tickets to the proper support team specialists or departments. Some organizations also use AI to generate responses for tickets related to common problems.

Why You Need to Improve Your Ticket Triage Process

Improving your ticket triaging process brings substantial benefits, and can truly transform a K-12 support system. Check out these common results of optimized ticket triage processes:

  • Faster response times: An effective ticket triage system assigns ticket priority and uses automation to respond to low-level help requests immediately. That leaves support staff free to quickly resolve higher-level tickets, shortening response times for everyone.
  • Better quality responses: Because ticket triage relies on categorization, users receive help from staff with expertise in their specific problem areas. That leads to more positive outcomes and fewer follow-up tickets.
  • Improved customer experience: When your “customers” (i.e., admins, faculty, staff, students, parents, etc.) submit help tickets, they’re usually already feeling frustrated. A smooth help desk experience encourages communication and faster resolutions and happier “customers.”
  • Lower costs: Users who receive support quickly are less likely to overload the system with additional tickets. This allows your support team to boost their productivity and avoid wasting time answering redundant questions or reassigning tickets. In addition, tickets that are routed to the right team member the first time safe time and money.
  • Better tracking and identification of recurring issues: Many help desks respond to the same kinds of problems over and over again. A strong ticket triage system makes it easier to analyze tickets and flag persistent problems so that you can update your knowledge base and other support resources.

If your school hasn’t optimized your ticket triage processes lately, this may be your sign to give it a thorough once-over. Are tickets being properly prioritized? Are they sent to the right person? Do they have enough information for your support team to respond effectively? Has your current ticketing process reached max efficiency?

If you’ve answered ‘No’ to any of those questions, keep reading!

6 Tips to Improve Your Ticket Triaging

It’s one thing to dream about optimizing your ticket triage system, but like everything, actually doing it is something else entirely. You may be unsure where your current system is lacking or what changes you can make to strengthen it. Let’s explore six tips that you can help you enhance your ticket triaging.

1. Prioritize Your Ticket Structure

Prioritizing tasks is the heart of ticket triage. Labeling tickets allows you to quickly see what issues your team should address first. Classify tickets with specific terms that reflect their importance, such as:

  • Critical or emergency
  • High priority
  • Medium priority
  • Low priority

You can also create filters for different types of customer complaints, like hardware issues, or login/access issues. This kind of categorization highlights common issues in essential areas. It also makes your system more likely to route tickets to the appropriate department or team member from the get-go, reducing the chances of triage workflow escalation.

2. Automate Ticket Routing Workflows

Automation is the key to a more consistent and efficient help desk with standardized help tickets. When you automate your ticket triage system, it takes over the process of prioritizing, tagging, assigning, and routing tickets, allowing your service desk and support staff to dedicate their efforts to resolving issues.

Help desk softwares that are especially advanced can also pull related support histories for repeat devices or users and provide those summaries along with the current ticket information, saving time and effort for the assigned support agent and ensuring they have all of the information needed to resolve the issue.

Incident IQ’s automated workflows not only handle ticket categorization, prioritization, and assignment, but also handles automated escalations as needed and provides automated updates and notifications to be sent to the user, informing them of the progress of their support request.

3. Ensure Tickets are Routed Appropriately

A wide range of professionals make up customer support teams. Some might focus on IT support issues, while others are dedicated to device repairs or resetting user credentials. You may even use your help desk system for facilities maintenance requests.

Whatever requests your ticketing system supports, it’s vital that incoming tickets are directed to the right team with relevant skill sets and specialties. If customer support agents with expertise in network security receive a ticket for resetting a lost password, they’ll either have to take the time to redirect the issue, or use their own very limited time to work on a customer issue that a much more junior-level team member (with a significantly lower salary) could’ve handled.

Setting up your school’s IT department structure is a strategic process that ensures you’ve got coverage for every aspect of the job—and that all customer support tickets have someone to handle them. For advice on this topic, check out our article on IT organizational structure best practices.

4. Utilize Ticket Statuses

Monitoring ticket statuses ensures that support tickets never go unresolved, and can prevent multiple team members from spending their time and resources on the same ticket without realizing it.

Within your ticket triage process, assign and update tickets with status labels such as:

  • Open: Mark new tickets as open to show that the system hasn’t assigned them or that no one is working on them yet.
  • In progress or pending: When team members are actively working on a ticket, they label it as pending or in progress.
  • Resolved: Staff can mark tickets after they successfully provide resolve the issue.
  • Closed: If the customer is satisfied with the staff’s response or resolves the problem on their own, they can close the ticket.

Properly using ticket status labels allows you and your team to better monitor and analyze ticket resolution times, which is vital to developing an efficient team and process.

5. Build Out a Knowledge Base

Having a knowledge base on hand is useful for both your support agents and your school community at large. Agents can use it as their guide when handling the vast array of tickets that come in. It’s the perfect training resource for a new team member, and a properly documented knowledge base will provide approved step-by-step instructions that just about anyone can follow.

… And that includes non-technical users as well! The same step-by-step instructions that your support team uses can be just as helpful as a self-service tool for a teacher or student who’s trying to log into a school platform or reset their password. Having an accessible knowledge base on hand for your school community to use gives them a chance to troubleshoot independently, rather than immediately submit a help desk ticket. This gives them a better experience, reduces ticket volumes, lightens the workload for support agents, and helps users learn—reducing future ticket volumes, too. Learn more about how to build a help desk knowledge base.

6. Stick to Service Level Agreements

Everyone wins when you set and follow clear expectations for response and resolution times. Service level agreements (SLAs) are a crucial aspect of keeping your ticket triage system on track and knowing when to make changes.

By comparing your ticket handling and resolution metrics to your SLAs, you’ll see if you’re meeting your goals or not. If not, action should be taken to identify any blockages or bottlenecks that tie up ticket resolutions; rework and streamline your ticket triage process; provide better training to your support team; or potentially even reset SLAs and resolution time expectations.

How to Use AI to Optimize Your Ticket Triage Process

Artificial intelligence (AI) is capable using machine learning to analyze, label, and tag a ticket automatically. To optimize your ticketing system with AI, follow these steps.

Mix Human Agents and AI

A ticket triage system typically works best when human support staff and AI solutions have distinct roles. When a user inputs a support request, the help desk software can instantly tag and classify it based on certain words found within the ticket, like “broke” or “broken,” categorize the ticket, and assign it a priority level. From there, the AI sends the ticket to the right team based on what skills will be necessary to resolve it.

At this point, a human agent can step in and work to resolve the issue. They can use canned language, paired with AI recommendations, to provide updates on the ticket as they progress. Smart help ticketing systems that utilize AI can save significant time and effort for your support agents, and provide a better user experience throughout.

Set Up Triggers

AI triggers prompt the system to respond in a certain way based on the information that it receives. These real-time responses route tickets to the correct department, or assign specific agents based on their expertise or workload. They’re also much more efficient than asking support staff to manually sift through tickets and decide where they should go.

For instance, your support agents can use help desk software to set up a trigger for customer device issues. The AI will know that any ticket referencing a faulty or malfunctioning device should be directed to a specific agent within the IT department.

Implement the 80/20 Rule

Many organizations follow the 80/20 rule when using AI in their ticket triaging. The rule states that support teams should assume that AI-powered solutions are capable of resolving 80% of tickets. Human support agents should handle the remaining 20%.

The 80/20 rule is an excellent guideline for your team to work towards, but be sure to keep an eye on your metrics as you implement it. If a lot of tickets require additional human support, then your knowledge base or AI-provided assistance may need to be reconfigured to better serve your users’ needs.

Instantly Improve Ticket Triaging with Maxio

When your ticket triage process is flawed, it can bog down your entire support workflow. Upgrading your system to include automated ticket triaging based on ticket type, priority level, and support team ability will help raise customer satisfaction, lower ticket resolution times, and create a better work environment for your support team.

Incident IQ’s help desk ticketing software is designed for schools that want to simplify their ticket triaging, cut costs, and shorten response times. Incident IQ Ticketing has a user-friendly self-service portal that teachers and students can use to submit tickets for hardware, software, and system help requests. It also automates ticket routing, auto-populates historical ticket data, and provides detailed analytics for administrators—along with so much more.

If your organization is ready to improve its support ticket triage system, Incident IQ is ready to help. Schedule a demo to see the most reliable and data-rich K-12 help desk software in action.

Ticket Triage FAQ

Who should triage support tickets?

For K-12 schools, AI-enabled help desk software is probably the most accurate, efficient, and cost-effective option for ticket triaging. Because it’s based on a set of pre-defined rules, help desk software can instantly identify the correct department and agent(s) that a ticket should be routed to, saving time, preventing user error, and eliminating the need to pay an employee salary to do the same thing, but slower.

What is the difference between a "high priority" ticket and a "low priority" ticket?

A high-priority ticket is an issue that needs to be resolved quickly because it is severe, affects a large number of customers, or poses a safety or security risk. Low-priority tickets are usually related to less urgent matters, such as login problems or software performance.

How do I select the best tool for intelligent ticket triaging?

Look for a help desk solution that integrates with your existing systems, collects adequate data, and provides useful analysis tools. Although there are many tools on the market, Incident IQ offers the best ticket triage system for K-12 IT teams.