Glossary

Ticketing Systems: Definition and Complete Guide

If you're running a business, then you know that ticketing is essential. Whether it's customer support tickets or IT ticketing, a good ticketing system can make all the difference. In this guide, we will compare the most popular ticketing systems, including features, pricing, and our review.
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Picture the following scenarios: A customer wants to upgrade to a new product release. But first, they want to confirm from customer support if the new feature works to solve a problem they’re facing. While listening to the customer, the support agent pulls up the knowledge base to find the answer document. They’re able to assure the customer that an upgrade will fix the problem, and the customer goes on to place an order. 

Another customer is following up on an existing ticket about a faulty product. They want to know why the product is defective and if they’ll be getting a replacement. The support rep quickly looks through the chat history to understand the problem while simultaneously searching through the internal wiki to find documents that explain when a faulty product is eligible for replacement. Finally, they provide a satisfactory answer to the angry customer who calms down and changes their mind about switching to another brand.

In both situations, support agents would suffer limited efficiency if they didn’t have information at their fingertips to provide answers and resolve tickets quickly.

Ticket management is at the heart of excellent customer service. Without it, the customer following up on a ticket has to start all over because there’s no record of their conversation. Likewise, the support agent takes longer to answer questions because your knowledge base doesn’t integrate with your ticketing system.

Hence, you need a ticketing software that integrates with the apps you already use in your workflow. In addition, it must be secure, scalable, and intuitive.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the features to look for in a ticketing system, how to use one, and the best ticketing systems to consider.

What is a ticketing system? 

A ticketing system is a customer service tool that processes and catalogs customer service requests from platforms like live chat, social media, email, and phone. The ticketing system allows support teams to route tickets to the correct resource and obtain the fastest resolution. 

What is help desk software?

Help desk software is a type of ticketing system that specifically assists in managing customer support inquiries. Help desk software typically includes features such as ticket tracking, email integration, and reporting.

How does a ticketing system work? 

Stage 1 – The customer sends a request which generates a new ticket. The ticket is recorded as a problem, question, task, or incident.

Stage 2 – AI powers modern-day ticketing apps. When it receives a request, it automatically routes the ticket to an available agent equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle the request.

Stage 3 – Customer support personnel works on the ticket and performs the required action. If they can’t resolve the query, it’s assigned to a more qualified operator. Meanwhile, the support ticket becomes a thread where the customer support rep and customer share communications.

Stage 4 – The ticket is resolved and closed. However, closed tickets aren’t deleted. They contain valuable data that provides deeper insight into your audience’s needs and the effectiveness of your customer success program. Ticketing apps also offer analytics and metrics for performance insight.

Stage 5 – The customer receives an update letting them know all actions are completed.

Why do support teams need a ticketing system? 

Stay organized

It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning when you’re solving multiple problems without a system to map an action plan. Disorganization leads to confusion, longer ticket times, and less productivity. An AI-powered ticketing system ensures you use a priority standard to organize support tickets. As a result, support teams are more productive, and your customers are happy with faster support.

Consolidate interactions in one thread

A Microsoft survey revealed that over 75% of consumers expect customer support to have a history of their previous purchases and interaction with support reps. Sadly, half of the consumers complained that most agents rarely had a context of past interactions to solve problems efficiently.

The best ticketing systems are designed to integrate with the apps you work with. For example, your ticketing software consolidates all communication into a unified thread if you offer customer support through multiple channels.

Using a ticket number, customers can change channels while resolving an issue without starting all over. When paired with a different agent, the communication continues from the original ticket.

Queue and assign requests

Most online ticketing systems automatically organize tickets on a priority basis. As a result, higher priority tasks are at the top of the queue and others below it. This usually means that low priority support tickets aren’t resolved on time, leading to high turnaround time and service level agreement violation.

The better process is to use a first-come, first-serve basis. It makes it easy to manage support cases and ensures that no customer request goes unresolved.

Improve communication and collaboration

Ticketing systems promote internal collaboration with features like:

  • Escalating or transferring tickets to senior employees
  • Private notes to add context for anyone taking over the ticket 
  • Internal messaging capabilities for reps to communicate

This level of communication and collaboration ensures that multiple agents can work to resolve the same ticket seamlessly.

However, it’s essential to use a ticketing tool that integrates with your knowledge management solution and email service so support teams can find answers quickly without leaving the chat.

Generate reports with KPI data 

Online ticketing systems include customizable analytics that allows you to generate targeted reports and measure the following data:

  • Percentage of resolved tickets after first contact with a support rep
  • The rate of unresolved tickets
  • The portion of tickets that violate the SLA agreement
  • The average time it takes to resolve a ticket
  • The percentage of satisfied customers
  • Agent activity and productivity

These metrics enable you to measure performance and identify areas of service operations that need to be optimized.

Features to look for in a ticketing system 

1. Fits business goals

Start by gathering a list of frustrations and inefficiencies from conversations with those who use your ticketing system or need one. Consider any business goals the tool will need to address and ensure you find solutions that help achieve those. 

2. Intuitive interface

Onboarding a new software is not a simple decision. There’s a learning curve and adjustment period that takes time. Hence, the first feature to look for in a help desk is an intuitive interface that is easy to use.

Answer the following questions when considering the usability of the tool:

  • Is it simple to use?
  • Can support teams make changes without having to contact IT?
  • Is it easy to find the options our teams use the most?

Ask for a trial and demo before making a final decision. Then, test a few options and pick the ticketing tool that removes friction and improves productivity.

3. Support across multiple channels

We live in a hyper-connected digital space where people interact with brands on multiple platforms at once. Hence, it’s essential to use a ticketing system that integrates with the platforms where your customers seek support. 

A diverse contact channel allows customers to reach you where they feel comfortable and continue the conversation anywhere. Therefore, your ticketing solution should be capable of tracking support queries from multiple channels and merging the ticket into one ordered line.

4. Multiple language support

Just as there are no physical borders on the internet, you shouldn’t alienate customers who don’t speak English. Your preferred ticketing system should provide support in multiple languages to ensure you’re providing the same level of satisfaction to all customers irrespective of their location.

5. Excellent support for your team

Your customers aren’t the only users that need this tool to work well. What kind of customer support is available for the ticketing system? What level of reliability can you expect from the tool?

6. Collaboration features

Conversations between customer support and customers can span multiple shifts and days. Sometimes you require input from other departments to gain more insight and solve the problem. Hence, you need a ticketing app that keeps your internal team on the same page so conversations don’t get lost in the queue.

Collaboration features include:

  • Collision detection to prevent duplicate replies
  • Mentions and notes to converse privately about support tickets
  • Saved replies to enable support staff to pick up the conversation from where a previous rep left off

7. Search-friendly

The best ticketing systems have a robust search function that makes it easy to find tickets by priority and the rep assigned to the ticket. Support teams should find tickets by filter options such as queries, escalation, core issues, features, and more. In addition, you can add labels for products and other specific needs that make it easier to discover information.

8. Security features

Look for:

  • Message encryption to prevent hackers from spying on customer communications
  • Role-based permissions to restrict access and define privileges
  • HIPAA and GDPR compliant
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Virus scanning to prevent malware from downloaded files
  • SSL encryption for cloud-based ticketing solutions
  • IP restrictions to prevent unwanted persons from gaining control of your backend

9. Ticket routing, tags, and categories

A ticket system without categories leads to chaos, confusion, and inefficiency. Your agents should know a ticket’s status at a glance. The next action should be clear, whether handling the ticket themselves or routing it to a more qualified rep.

As tickets move, merge, or get routed to different agents, you label and process them accordingly with categories and tags. For example, agents can filter tickets by status, department, issue, and type of request to quickly understand a ticket status and the steps to take.

10. Knowledge base capabilities

45% of organizations that offer self-service options see a reduction in phone queries and an increase in web traffic. You can use a knowledge management platform to provide customers with a searchable, linked database. Having a knowledge base reduces ticket volume and frees up time for customer support reps to focus on more technical queries.

Knowledge management software is the right hand of your support reps. It should integrate with your ticket management solution and include AI Suggest features that make it easy to find relevant content when dealing with common issues.

Customer satisfaction rating

For voice-based support, Guru AI Suggest Voice is the first AI-powered voice-to-knowledge solution that provides real-time information to support teams when they’re on the phone with customers. It listens to voice conversations, converts speech to text, and quickly serves relevant knowledge to support teams without any human effort required.

Access knowledge in a simple Chrome browser extension


For text-based support, Guru AI Suggest Text makes Card suggestions for support agents. When it’s enabled, the Guru suggestion button appears in the UI of your ticketing application. It uses the text from your conversation with customers to suggest relevant content and help you solve queries faster.

11. Scalability

Scalability is an essential feature for growing teams. Therefore, you need a ticketing system that scales up or down as your team grows. In addition, the helpdesk software should offer API access and workflows that enable the automation of repetitive tasks as support volume grows. 

Questions to answer here include:

  • Will you need to upgrade to a higher plan to enjoy the features we’ve mentioned in this guide? 
  • Does the future cost align with your budget for a ticketing system? 
  • How much more does it cost to add additional team members to the plan? 

Some ticketing tools charge by volume of support tickets, which leads to unpredictable pricing, so consider these questions when shopping for a ticketing platform.

12. Integrations

Data silos quickly occur when support teams use a variety of applications to manage customer data. Through a range of integrations, Guru breaks down silos and harmonizes all your applications in one workflow. It becomes easier to pair Guru with your preferred ticketing system while integrating with apps like Jira, Asana, Slack, and Zapier. You eliminate disjointed platforms that take longer to find information with a streamlined database that improves customer experience.

Best practices for ticketing software

By following these best practices, you can ensure your ticketing system will help improve your customer service operations.

1. Ensure new agents can use the system immediately

One of the main benefits of ticketing software is that it enables customer service agents to resolve issues more quickly. In order for this to be effective, however, the system must be easy to use. Make sure the ticketing system you select is intuitive and easy to learn.

2. Make sure all customer support channels are integrated

In order to provide a great customer experience, it is important to have all customer support channels integrated into the ticketing system. This will allow agents to easily access customer information and resolve issues faster.

3. Include self-service options

Many customers prefer to resolve issues on their own, without having to contact customer service. Make sure your ticketing system includes self-service options so customers can help themselves.

4. Build out a robust internal knowledge base

Your support agents can only be as effective as the internal knowledge base they reference everyday. Ensure you have an easy-to-access and search internal knowledge base that saves team time and agents love.

5. Use predefined ticket actions to automate support

In order to resolve issues more quickly, tickets should include predefined actions so agents can resolve common issues without having to start from scratch. 

6. Have a prioritization system for requests

In order to ensure that high-priority requests are handled in a timely way, ticketing systems should have a prioritization system. This will allow agents to focus on the most important issues first.

7. Monitor and make improvements

In order to continually improve the customer experience, it is important to monitor ticketing system performance. Make sure the system you select has the ability to track and report on ticket data. Identifying FAQs, issues that lead to losing customers, and areas where agent time spent is high can help you discover opportunities to improve automation or bring in new or better tools.

Top 10 ticketing systems in 2022

1. Intercom

Intercom ticketing tool

Best for: Companies looking to implement chat or chatbots

How it works: Intercom is a conversational software that provides a chat support tool to improve sales and customer success by providing direct access to reps, customer self-service, and proactive support via chat, pop-ups, and banners.

You can manage everything right in the tool's inbox, enabling you to chat with customers everywhere from one central place. You can automate responses and routing to improve self-service and ensure reps talk with the right prospects and customers.

Stands out for: A flexible messaging system with chat support for mobile and desktop that ensures customers can access personalized support on the go

Pricing: $65/month or more

2. Zendesk

ZenDesk service management tool

Best for: Larger businesses

How it works: Zendesk is a cloud-based ticketing system that offers a complete customer support solution. It includes features like ticket management, live chat, knowledge base, and reporting.

It also integrates with other software to provide a more holistic view of your customer support.

Stands out for: A complete customer support solution with ticket management, live chat, and knowledge base

Pricing: $49/month or more

3. ProProfs Help Desk

ProProfs help desk software

Best for: Small and mid-size businesses

How it works: ProProfs Help Desk is a ticketing system that offers ticket management and reporting features. It also integrates with other software to provide a more holistic view of your customer support.

Stands out for: Ticket management and reporting features

Pricing: $15/month or more

4. SupportBee

Supportbee ticketing tool

Best for: Small businesses

How it works: SupportBee is a ticketing system that offers ticket management and reporting features. It also integrates with other software to provide a more holistic view of your customer support.

Stands out for: Ticket management and reporting features

Pricing: $15/month or more

5. Freshdesk

Freshdesk ticketing system

Best for: Small businesses who need to scale efficiently

How it works: Freshdesk is a cloud-based, customizable ticketing system that can serve as a customer-facing or internal help desk solution. It includes features like ticket creation and management, automated responses on any channel, incident and asset management, ticket response time tracking, and reporting.

Stands out for: Scalable automation, auto-ticket assignment

Pricing: Freemium, Support Desk plans include automation and improved reporting and start at $19/month with Omnichannel plans available for $29/month or more

6. Solarwinds Service Desk

Solarwinds Service Desk

Best for: Mid-sized businesses

How it works: Solarwinds is a cloud-based ticketing system for employee support. It includes ticket management, incident and asset management, a no-frills knowledge base, and analytics.

Stands out for: Ticket management, asset management, and reporting 

Pricing: $19/month or more

7. Zoho Desk

Zoho help desk ticketing

Best for: Small businesses

How it works: A SaaS ticketing solution, Zoho Desk is a cloud-based system that includes ticket management and reporting capabilities. Zoho offers a CRM, and Zoho Desk also integrates with other tools to help centralize your service delivery.

Stands out for: Help desk and centralized analytics

Pricing: Freemium offering, plans start at $14/month or more

8. Freshservice

Freshservice ticketing system

Best for: Mid-sized businesses

How it works: Freshservice is a cloud-based ticketing system that offers a customizable help desk solution to meet the needs of your business. It includes features like ticket creation and management, asset management, service level agreement (SLA) tracking, and reporting.

It also integrates with other software to provide a more holistic view of your customer support.

Stands out for: Ticket management features, asset management, and SLA tracking

Pricing: $29/month or more

9. Jira Service Management

Jira Service Management

Best for: IT ticketing

How it works: Jira Service Desk is a ticketing system designed specifically for IT ticketing. It includes features help desk features like ticket management, SLA tracking, and reporting.

Stands out for: IT ticket management and SLA tracking

Price: Free without support or uptime SLA and limited to 2 GB of file storage for 3 agents, plans start at $20/month or more

10. ServiceNow

ServiceNow ticketing system

Best for: Enterprises

How it works: ServiceNow is a ticketing system and service CRM that offers a comprehensive help desk solution for internal IT service management and client or customer support. It includes features like ticket management, asset management, automation, self-service, SLA tracking, and reporting.

Stands out for: Ticket management features, asset management, and SLA tracking

Price: $100/month or more

Improve customer support with a streamlined help desk ticketing system

The best ticketing systems help you stay organized and efficient. They are scalable, secure, intuitive, and integrate with the tools you already work with. 

However, you don’t need an all-in-one solution for your ticketing platform. Your best option is to pick a specialized ticketing software that does the core function and combine it with Guru for knowledge base features so your agents can find what they need without time wasted. Guru integrates easily with Jira, Zapier, and other tools in your tech stack.

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