Tickets and tribulations: what happens when you email digital support 

Our Ticketing System

When the website launched in July 2018 we also launched some less obvious systems at the same time. One of these systems was Jira Service Desk, which is fundamentally a ticketing system although it does a lot of other cool functions. We decided to go for Jira for a couple of reasons:

  • IT currently uses it to great effect
  • It was not gratuitously expensive
  • Atlassian, the company who own Jira, have a good reputation for quality software

After looking at the existing system, which was effectively just ordering emails in an outlook inbox, we decided it would be a great opportunity to upgrade our customer support operation. We thought the best time to do this would be when a big change was already happening (a brand new website) and that directing users to a new mail box would be easier to introduce at the same time.

What does Jira Service Desk ACTUALLY do?

Jira is marvellous! I’m not just saying that as the digital systems guy. From a customer service point of view, it’s actually pretty incredible.

I’ve always thought that customer service should be a priority for any team that deals with a large amount of tasks or assignments internally: having the ability to see any information of emails past or present, what conversations happened, the resolution etc.

For the purposes of this blog post, I’m only going to talk about what we use the system for at the moment but, as we explore and introduce new aspects of the service desk, I will hope to write more about them.

What happens when you email us?

Whenever someone emails, it comes through to our Jira Service Desk which everyone on the digital marketing team has an account for. The ticket then sits in our unassigned issues queue until whichever team member is looking after Jira that day assigns it to an appropriate team member.

Please bear in mind that all jobs that require work, ie not just a question, should come through Jira and not been emailed to any one person in the digital team. This so we can accurately manage workloads and that jobs don’t get done before others just because a direct email has been used.

As soon as a ticket is assigned to a user, the clock starts counting down and, depending on the priority of the job (the P column) they have certain service level agreements (SLAs) to progress or complete the job. The priority is set by the person who is distributing tickets which follow the process we introduced:

Highest – Only reserved for the jobs that mean our digital systems are not working or breaching the law. Examples of this would be the website is currently down/incorrect information that could lead to a CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) breach. All other work is put on hold while this is addressed.

High – Reserved for jobs that are urgent and would require to be completed within a working day.  This is communicated verbally with whoever receives this ticket. Examples of this would be incorrect information on the website/social media complaints.

Medium – The majority of jobs that come through sit at medium, which is the standard assigned level. We aim to resolve or progress these jobs within two working days where possible. Examples of this would be general content approvals for key pages or creating a form for an important event coming up.

Low – Low is assigned to non-priority jobs that don’t really have any urgency. We usually look to resolve or progress these within five working days. Examples of these jobs would be staff profile updates/approvals of content on non-key pages on the website.

Lowest – Lowest is for jobs that have no real importance or timescales. We would look to resolve these issues when the team has surplus time available. Examples of this would be a campaign running in a year and preparing photographs well in advance.

To contextualise these priorities, out of the 3,035 tickets we have received since July, I have only ever assigned two at the highest level, that is how rare they are.

Does you putting urgent on a ticket change how it gets assigned in priority?
Nope, after assigning over 3,000 tickets, we look at the content and make an educated choice based on the information and current workload. Everyone’s tasks are urgent to them. We have to look at the university as a whole.

Are there any trick/tips to getting your tickets seen faster?

Yes! For those that have made it this far into this blog post, I will show you a cool trick that has been introduced recently. We have created a portal that allows you to pick what type of job you are submitting.

This allows you to pick exactly what type of job you are submitting and it will be assigned into the relevant queue, which means you don’t have to wait for it to be assigned by whoever is on charge on that day. When you fill in the portal form, it also asks you the questions we know we need  information for, which means we don’t have to go back to you for more information. It’s quicker for everyone!

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Wow that’s great! Is there anything I can do to help you?’

What a generous offer. The main issue we have with tickets on Jira is when they are emailed in and everyone and their uncle are cc’d in. Then, when everyone hits the dreaded reply-all button to give a small contribution to the subject, it raises a new ticket (because it’s a new email) and every time someone does it keeps creating new emails.