Issue Tracking Software

Issue Tracking Software

While many people think of help desk software as being narrowly focused on the IT department and their support of technology, versatile help desk software such as Help Desk Premier can also be an excellent choice when you need a more all-purpose issue tracking software solution.

Issue Tracking Software Supports You from Start to Finish

Good issue tracking software supports the customer and the help desk through the entire life cycle of a question or problem. The intention is to capture the question and all of the relevant activity surrounding it while it is being answered. Whether it is a support call about a major application malfunction or a question about substituting ingredients in a cookie recipe, issue tracking is key to a successful support effort and a satisfied customer.

General versus Specific

You will find different types of issue tracking software on the market. Some will be specific to an industry, such as technology or property management.  Other products are general but customizable for the particular business. There are pros and cons for each and which product you choose depends on the amount of industry-specific functionality you need for your help desk or issue tracking needs.

On the surface, it might seem that an industry-specific product would be best because it is built to the needs of customers in that segment. The reality is that every customer does the same things differently. Two dishwasher manufacturers will have their own issue tracking needs, their own product tracking procedures and their own way of handling replacement parts and repairs.

To address this, your issue tracking software should be flexible and customizable enough to handle the different ways that a company may want to handle their products, services and support calls. Significant configuration changes might be needed to satisfy the requirements for issue tracking software in any company.

Help desk software that is flexible enough to use in a variety of issue tracking situations must be easily customized to meet a company’s needs. There may be more initial effort required to set up the tracking system, but the result is more closely aligned with how the company does business.

Easy Entry of Information

The issue tracking software should be easy for the help desk to enter a ticket and any supporting information. It should allow the attachment of various file types such as text files, images, PDFs, spreadsheets, and audio files. This may not seem important until the customer says they have proof of the problem in a particular file type that you can’t receive through your issue tracking system.

Ease of Customer Access

A way that companies reduce support costs is to create as many self-service functions as possible. The customer should be able to access their ticket to review the status or make changes. This reduces the number of people that have to take phone calls such as “I was just wondering how you guys are doing on my problem.” There will still be the occasional call. By allowing the customer to be part of the issue tracking procedure, they can get real-time updates and provide additional useful information as it comes to them.

Issue Tracking Software Workflow and Reporting

Issue tracking software may have its own workflow modules, used to help the support team direct the issue to the appropriate person or department. If it is a recall, the workflow procedures may indicate that the ticket get sent to the person managing warranties. When a customer calls or goes online to see their ticket status, they should see that it is with the warranty person.

The workflow may even have event triggers that tell the support person that it’s been 48 hours since the ticket was logged and they need to do something with it. This type of automation and escalation is critical to effective issue tracking software.

There should be numerous ways to perform queries and do reporting with any issue tracking software. The users should be able to query for similar issues to see how they were resolved. They may want to see the frequency with which the issue has come up before. Or they may want to review past related issues to see if this is the symptom of a bigger problem.

There may be a library of “canned” (pre-defined) reports and queries from which the help desk can choose. There should also be ad hoc query and reporting capabilities so the staff can find the information they want and display it in the most efficient format.

The help desk staff should be able to close out and archive resolved questions and problems easily. The ticket should still be available for review but no work can be done on them after they are closed. Part of the workflow process may trigger an email to be sent to the customer when the ticket is closed. Or a survey might be sent asking “How was your service on this issue?”

Issue Tracking Software vs Help Desk Software

If help desk software is designed to be flexible and allow tracking and management of any type of issue, then it becomes an invaluable tool for the organization.  The same software can be used to manage a formal IT help desk, while also tracking various types of issues in other areas of the organization.

Rather than tracking issues with spreadsheets or simple list managers, you can benefit from the power of many of the features available in help desk software, such as Help Desk Premier.  Notifying the customer automatically, routing the ticket to different departments and even the management of a self-help knowledge base may be under the control of the help desk product.

Whether it comes from the help desk software or the issue tracking software, following up with the customer is critical. A satisfied customer is open to purchasing more products and/or services if they feel that they have been well taken care of. The customer should definitely be contacted once the issue is resolved, and again, this is the type of functionality that can be provided by help desk software rather than simple list managers.  There should also be a touch-base point a few days after the closure of the ticket to see if the customer is still happy.

The right issue tracking software will pay off in customer satisfaction and staff efficiency. When the help desk staff is not fighting an inefficient or poorly configured issue tracking system, they have more time to spend resolving the customer’s issues and improving customer satisfaction.