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The power of support ticket classification and how to get started

support ticket classification

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The thirty-second episode of Support Heroes by Kaizo featured Lilith Antunovic – Customer Experience Manager at Rentman

In our twenty-eighth episode, two expert guests noted classifying ticket content as one of the most valuable strategies a support department can implement. In this episode, Lilith shares her lessons learned from introducing a support ticket classification or ticket tagging system. Here you can find some pointers on how to get started, best practices to improve a ticket classification or tagging system and some of the benefits of doing so. 

Support ticket classification or tagging is the practice of attaching labels to tickets based on the ticket content and use case. These tags or classifications can then be used to analyze tickets at large and build mathematical representations of what happens in support. 

Benefits of support ticket classification

“See tickets as data that can be used to one’s advantage”

  • There are many benefits to classifying and tagging ticket content. For the support department, this information can be used to generate a heatmap of tickets based on content and use case. This heatmap can then guide hiring and scheduling so that the right people are always available at the right time. 
  • Ticket content can also inform a support department on which tickets could be diverted with help centre articles. Equally, if a particular set of tickets are taking a lot of time, recycling tickets by re-using screenshots and videos or creating macros to support that process can save the department a lot of time.

“[Classifying tickets is] difficult but [having] a seat at the table in the business will change dramatically [as a result]”

  • The other major benefit is in leveraging the data within support tickets to benefit the business as a whole. With ticket content logged, support can lead product, pricing and marketing discussions based on customer feedback. Attaching hours spent on tickets, historical volume and tone of feedback are all things to make the conversation of ‘what customers want’ easier to understand.

Creating classifications for support tickets

  • The first step is to create the classification. At first, it can simple. Rentman started with “30 pretty obvious tags”. The tags denote the ticket content. For example, a login bug. The tags were also divided into simple tickets and non-trivial tickets. Simple tickets take the department at Rentman a few minutes. Non-trivial tickets usually take the team around 20 minutes.
  • When developing the classifications or tags, take suggestions from the support team. The agents and team leads will have a lot of suggestions as they see tickets every day. Take these suggestions into account before establishing an initial list of ticket classifications or tags. 
  • It is highly advisable to have a person on the team take responsibility for analysing the data generated by the classification system. At Rentman, they have a data analyst manage this from start to finish. This data analyst and Lilith take responsibility for all the communication surrounding the tags and their constant improvement. 

Don’t change ticket tags too often but constantly improve

  • Similar to the advice given in our KPI episode, it’s beneficial not to change the ticket classifications/tags too often. Lilith advises only making a change to the list of tags every quarter so that the team doesn’t get confused. 
  • The goal is to make sure everyone in the team understands what each tag/classification means and when to use it. The more changes that are made to the tags, the harder it will be for everyone in the team to use them properly. It’s also  important to be very clear on the definitions of each tag and communicate this clearly to the team. 
  • At Rentman, the support team have quarterly reviews of the ticket classifications and tags. Again, taking feedback from the team so that there are enough tags and that the classifications always make sense.

Helpful tools

  • It’s very important to track the amount of time taken per ticket classification as this information will inform many decisions. Zendesk’s Time Tracking tool can do this automatically. 
  • Lilith saw good results with Answer Search to reduce the amount of time necessary to search through old tickets or the knowledge base. This further reduces the amount of time taken over certain ticket types. 

Tag locker ensures that tickets cannot be closed without being classified with an approved tag. Further reducing the possibility for mistakes, typoes etc.

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