Community Knowledge Base

Understanding Tickets

Many organizations have adopted simple email solutions for keeping track of their customer interactions, and such solutions may have their place when dealing with one or two replies in a relatively brief amount of time (hours) and/or when individual agents manage the entire process. However, these simple mail solutions become less and less effective with complexity--the more agents, transfer opportunities, consultations, and time involved, the more prone these systems are to fail in the delivery of good customer service:

  • Emails get "lost" and/or filtered
  • Email is subject to deletion and mis-filing
  • Responses that have longer idle times can be buried under less important mail
  • Internal comments and notes cannot be kept private
  • Conversation threads are difficult to manage and can become too long
  • Escalations can cause emails to be unanswered or delayed unnecessarily
  • Reporting on the effectiveness of customer service and support is nearly impossible
  • Supervisor tracking of issues is problematic
  • It can be impossible to associate other communications channels (live chats, Knowledge Base articles, etc.)
  • Locating incident histories is time-consuming or impossible

The consequences of a lost, misdirected, or mishandled service request can be serious. Customers expect fast response times and standard email communication is not designed to satisfy this requirement. It is clear that email alone is not adequate.

SmarterTrack includes an advanced ticketing system that is designed to transcend the limitations of simple email solutions:

  • Agent views include all internal comments, notes, histories and more
  • Resolutions of previous similar incidents are available to agents
  • Custom fields and other display items keep all relevant information together and easily accessible to agents
  • Agents can view all communication with an organization from one location
  • Detailed agent-level reporting increases performance metrics
  • Collapsible communication elements make organizing and managing ticket data easy
  • Events can be created to allow tickets to be flagged, escalated, or redirected if time-sensitive SLAs are not met or based on other parameters

Transitioning from Email to Tickets

Transitioning to SmarterTrack from an existing email service solution is as simple as setting an email address up in an email client. This is because SmarterTrack can import messages from virtually any mailbox using the POP protocol. Messages are imported into SmarterTrack as tickets, and, if need be, the original messages can be left on the mail server or deleted once they've been imported. That same mailbox can be used for sending replies to tickets. In this way, users can email a generic email address, like, and receive responses from agents from that same address.

The interaction between SmarterMail and your email server means that any communication, in or out, is handled by YOUR systems, not by yet another email system. SmarterTrack is NOT a mail server -- it uses existing email providers and simply sends and receives from those providers, just like connecting an email account to an email client like Microsoft Outlook. There's no need to set up proxy accounts, aliases, or any other hard-to-manage workarounds. You use the existing email addresses currently in use for any department within your organization, or any department you set up in SmarterTrack.

More Communication Options Available

This is not to say that email clients cannot or should not be used by agents. Quite the contrary. With SmarterTrack, companies can configure several scenarios that allow customers to submit service requests via the portal, via email, through third-party applications via Web services, or any combination of these. Agents can reply to these service requests through the SmarterTrack management interface, via their own email clients, or even their mobile devices using the SmarterTrack Mobile app. Regardless of the information delivery method, all communications are logged in the SmarterTrack system and all of the features and functionality are available to track, record, monitor, and report on these items.

Harnessing the Power of Tickets

The full efficiency of SmarterTrack tickets is gained by understanding, and harnessing, several important feature sets.

Closing Tickets

There's really no other way to say it: Tickets should be closed and locked. Whether you manage this through the way you set up your Departments and Groups using the auto-close feature, or by instructing Agents to close and lock tickets after a certain number of follow-ups, closing and locking tickets is really the only way to get a true sense of the workload your Agents deal with.

Simply closing tickets is fine as it can help you understand issues and workload, but simply closing a ticket allows a response -- either a response from the customer or even an autoresponder -- that can re-open a ticket. And as many help desk managers know, a customer will tend to reply to an existing ticket with a new problem as it's already a line of communication to a company, and generally easier than starting a new ticket. However, that re-opened ticket can have an adverse effect on a Department's, Group's and Agent's metrics. Whether you're calculating total number of responses, the number of ticket closes, ticket replies or even idle time, a re-opened ticket can throw all of those off. And one reply to re-open a ticket can mean the difference to an Agent if their compensation is based on those metrics. Therefore, the only true way to ensure you're getting solid, reliable and manageable metrics is to close and lock a ticket so it can't be re-opened.


Agents can enter resolutions into existing and closed tickets. As new tickets arrive, SmarterTrack automatically searches for previous tickets that have been successfully closed with similar topics and displays them in the Resolutions tab. This tab also has a search field that can be used to customize and narrow searches, which helps agents mine existing data.

Therefore, the use of resolutions can help customers receive responses to their issues much quicker, just as it helps agents efficiently work through their ticket queues.


Agents can search for existing and previous tickets with advanced searching by string, email address, customer name, date and time, handling agent, ticket number and more. This powerful search functionality greatly speeds the delivery of service.


Files and images can be attached to both inbound and outbound messages to speed issue handling and to treat these attachments as important communication points that can be referenced later from within the ticket. This means that files and images no longer need to be stored in a separate place, eliminating the potential that such files are lost or mishandled. This also means that multiple attachment items are kept in chronological order, so agents always know which received files are the most current.


Internal comments and notes can be typed in line, maintaining chronology with customer communications and providing additional context, documentation of voice communications and other details to agents who may need to handle the issue.

Events and Notifications

Events can be configured to perform automated actions (transfers, escalations, special responders, etc.) or to provide specific notifications to agents and managers via SMS text message or email.

Transfers and Escalations

Escalations and transfers can be managed automatically or manually. Utilizing the events system, automatic escalations and transfers can be accomplished based upon time, idle wait, number of replies, topic, language, brand, keyword, or any number or combination of items.

Custom Fields

Custom fields can be utilized to be autopopulated through external providers. Customers and agents can also be required to ensure that certain fields are filled with relevant data before a ticket can be submitted or closed, respectively. This kind of data can be instrumental in providing the kinds of specific information that can save hours of research--speeding resolutions and increasing satisfaction. Custom fields also provide the opportunity for enhanced reporting based upon those fields.

For example: Requesting the product name and version/edition of a product prior to the customer launching a ticket may not seem too onerous a requirement from the customer's perspective and can deliver that information to the agent, meaning that this agent may not have to access a separate application to look up the customer account prior to starting his response. This information can also be used to customize auto-responders and display suggestions which may have a better chance of serving accurate options. Valuable back-and-forth time is greatly saved. Additionally, managers and supervisors now have the ability to report on these custom fields, gaining valuable insight to agent performance relative to product and version and perhaps detecting service trends that can push valuable information to development teams and manufacturing floors.

Related Items

It is not uncommon for there to be multiple communications from a customer on one or similar topics. Losing track of those communications can add extra work and needlessly waste time. Tickets, live chats and call logs can be all associated to each other so that all of the details are accessible to agents in context and in real time. Associated items can be easily and quickly viewed in the Related Items tab within the ticket.


Ticket reports can be invaluable. Cost analysis reporting based upon product, agent, department, custom fields, and literally hundreds of other items and combinations can help managers determine the true relative costs. Summary and trend reporting by product, department, ticket type, and more can help companies spot trends, identify training needs, and manage for improved performance.