UI/XP

Working with tickets: Basics

Intro

In Zammad (and in all other help desk systems), tickets refer to individual requests. They come in through different channels like email, Twitter or phone. For each request, Zammad creates a separate ticket, which is then processed by a help desk staff member. A ticket has features such as status (open, in process, done), owner and much more. In our first article we describe what a ticket is in a bit more detail.

Conversation instead of cacophony

For help desk staff, the communication flow is in the form of chats. The less formal framework invites a more personal and direct communication. In the day-to-day work, from the end user's perspective is actually totally irrelevant whether the ticket is processes via email, Twitter or Facebook: Zammad is the communication center and handles the distribution in both directions. As is usual in chat programs, Zammad automatically searches the available online resources such as Gravatar & Co. and tries to give the ticket a human face: i.e., an avatar. This makes the communication even easier.

Conversation instead of cacophony - isn't it beautiful?

Documentation

In Zammad communication is about a request - i.e. a ticket – represented as a chronological history. That means that any help desk staff is always clear about who has communicated what to whom and when. Using the ticket number an intense, parallel ping pong email traffic with the client is also automatically and clearly organized into different ticket routes across several requests.
Under certain circumstances, various tickets from the same help-seekers are processed by different help desk staff. Here in just one click, Zammad offers a listing of all the tickets of a customer.

Easy collaboration with tickets

In Zammad, you can invite colleagues who have more experience in a given case to pick up tickets. By documenting the previous communication, it’s no problem for your colleague to quickly and easily gain a quick grasp of the recent events. The internal notes feature also lets help desk staff whisper to each other, without the customer noticing. Psst: This is where people can blow off a little steam now and then. And yes, the private messages are kept totally secret, now and forever.

team collaboration

Keeping an overview

Now let’s go up a level: from the ticket to the overviews. Zammad provides the ability to create custom lists. For example, you can generate a list of all open tickets in which the word "banana" occurs and where no help desk staff has used a smiley emoji. Or, more realistically: you’re creating lists for your various main support areas. Zammad actually provides you with lists for all tickets, open tickets and more.

Custom lists - for teams or certain users

Spec-tab-ular: working in parallel

Tabs are ubiquitous in browsers and dishwashers. But they prove to be practical aids in help desk systems too. Tabs let you to work in parallel with multiple pages. They let you easily get to list views or even individual tickets. In Zammad the tabs are located vertically in the sidebar, because modern screens often tend to switch to widescreen (sometimes going overboard). So you lose no precious vertical screen space as in other popular help desk systems. What’s more, the tabs are also so crafty that they keep the scroll position. This is a quasi-evolutionary necessity, but one which requires some technical finesse. In a future article we will go into the technologies that make working with Zammad so fluid and intuitive in greater detail.

Sidebar with vertical tabs - working parallel is just easy

Autosave. Thank God.

Actually, do I even need to write anything more about this really? Maybe we could use the time instead thinking about moments of relief. Like when you’ve just caught a flight at the last minute for instance. Or that wave of refreshment after a hike, when an icy mountain stream invites you to revivify. Or even when that yard-long response you wrote to a ticket is still there after your cat accidentally closed the Zammad browser window. Zammad continuously saves while you’re working on it. And if you ever close a window or a tab too much, you can just keep on working afterwards, no worries.

“Retro” crash bomb browser screenshot

Intuitive ticket attributes

Working in a ticket is like a making moves in a computer game: you move all your levers, write a message and change ticket attributes like authority, urgency or status. Then you press the OK button and that’s the end of your move. In Zammad the ticket attributes are edited where they also appear: in the footer of the application. Sounds intuitive and obvious, but with the commercial top dogs it’s far from it.

Attributes area

Working in real time

In Zammad you work without the displayed page being reloaded. This saves valuable seconds per step. In a perfect world, that would add up to an hour you could use to go home earlier and still get in a workout at the gym before you got home to make yourself a healthy, vitamin-rich and carbohydrate-low meal. In reality, this means smoother working, better performance and less frustration with load times. Not bad either. Later more.