Amlot notes

You can’t open a ticket

You can’t open a ticket

(Don at IBM thinks you can, but he’s wrong.)

You can’t “submit” a ticket.

You can’t “solve” a ticket.

You can’t “close” or “re-open” a ticket.

You can’t give your ticket an ID.

OK, we’re being deliberately pedantic. A ticket was traditionally a piece of paper that got you into a cinema, or onto a plane or train, or was given to you when you drove too fast or deposited a suitcase at a railway station.

Language always changes, and that’s a good thing. Language is a tool for communication, and communication should be efficient.

But when your IT department says to your paying customers “We’ve opened a ticket, your number is 18393282”, you’re sending a message to your customer, saying “Hi, you’re in an automated system now, you’re a number, and we have a lot of numbers”.

The abstract concept of the “ticket” for a support query is helpful for the support staff to organise their work. They can reply to tickets, forward tickets and “open” and “close” tickets. That’s all great, but it’s an internal organisational issue, and it’s got nothing to do with the customer or their problem.

Don’t delegate your internal organisation to the customer. Getting a ticket sounds like waiting in line or paying a fine. Is that the message you want to send?  

If you are going to automate the way you deal with customers who need help, why not do it elegantly?

By all means, use Zendesk or Freshdesk to organise your incoming emails. But please tweak the automated replies. Why would you let a third-party technology company choose the language you use when talking to your customer when she has a problem.

And feel free to include the “ticket number” in the email, but it doesn’t have to be the headline (it’s really only there so that your system can find the query later on, the customer doesn’t care).

Support is communication. Communication is marketing. Be efficient, automate what you can, but if you craft well-written responses to your customers, you’ll have the opportunity to reassure, encourage, interest, and delight them.

We think support can be elegant and efficient. We’re happy to help you support your customers efficiently.

This Amlot note was published on Nov 23, 2021.