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Customer Support Ticketing System: The Complete Guide

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Customer Support Ticketing System: The Complete Guide

Jun 04, 2024
9 min read

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Imagine this: You’re a customer trying to get help for a product or service. You send an email to the company’s customer support department, but you never hear back. You try calling, but you get stuck on hold for hours. You’re starting to get frustrated and angry.

This is the kind of customer experience that no one wants. In fact, in our Customer Support Research Report, we found that 72% of customers might switch brands after just one negative support experience.  

That’s why it’s so important for businesses to have a strong customer support ticketing system in place. It helps you centralize customer queries from various channels, drive ownership of these queries, and ensure that all customer messages are answered on time.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how a ticketing system works, how it can benefit your business, and which ticketing tool will be best for your business. 

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What is a Ticketing System?

A ticketing system, often used in IT support, customer service, and many other departments, is a software that manages and organizes issues reported by users, customers, or employees. 

These issues are labelled as “tickets,” and each ticket acts as a detailed conversation thread about a specific problem, request, or query.

What is a Customer Support Ticketing System?

A customer support ticketing system is a software application that allows businesses to manage and track customer inquiries and issues. When a customer submits a complaint, a ticket is created. These tickets can then be assigned to appropriate customer support agents and tracked until resolution.

5 Benefits of Using a Ticketing System for Business

Here are five benefits of using a ticketing system for business:

  • Query Management: A ticketing system offers a centralized platform to manage and track queries. Let’s say, if a business receives customer queries through email, phone, and social media, a ticketing system will consolidate all these into one platform. This helps agents to address queries in an organized manner.
  • Prioritization and Assignment: Not all tickets are of the same urgency or require the same expertise. A ticketing system allows issues to be prioritized and assigned to the most appropriate team or individual.
  • Performance Analytics: Modern ticketing systems offer analytics to review the quality of support delivered and team performance. Managers can track metrics like response time, resolution time, and customer satisfaction. 
  • Knowledge Base Creation: Over time, businesses can utilize past tickets to create a knowledge base or FAQs for common issues. For instance, a web hosting company might notice recurring questions about setting up a particular CMS. Using these tickets, they can create a step-by-step guide for customers to refer to in the future.
  • Scalability: As businesses grow, so do customer inquiries and other internal requests. A ticketing system helps businesses deal with such requests at scale, without compromising on efficiency or service quality.

How to Create a Ticketing System for Customer Support?

Creating a ticketing system for customer support requires careful planning and consideration. The following steps outline the general process:

  • Define your requirements: Start by identifying your business needs, such as the expected ticket volume, desired features, and integration capabilities. Consider elements like ticket submission channels (email, website forms),ticket categorization, automation rules, and ticket assignment workflows.
  • Choose the right software: There are numerous ticketing system software options available, ranging from simple open-source solutions to comprehensive enterprise-grade platforms. Evaluate different options based on your requirements, budget, scalability, and ease of use.
  • Customize and configure: Once you have selected a ticketing system software, customize it to align with your business processes. Configure ticket categories, automation rules, escalation procedures, and SLA (Service Level Agreement) targets to suit your specific needs.
  • Integrate with other tools: Explore integrations with your existing customer relationship management (CRM) software, communication channels, and other relevant systems. This will help enhance the efficiency of your support operations.
  • Train your support team: Train your support team on how to use the ticketing system effectively. Provide them with comprehensive knowledge about ticket management, response protocols, and how to leverage the system’s features. 

Recommended read: Choosing the Right Ticketing System: Top Requirements

Here’s an overview of seven popular customer support ticketing software. 

Tool Starting Price Free Trial G2 Rating 
Hiver $19/month per user7 days 4.6 ⭐
Zendesk $49/month per user14 days 4.4 ⭐
Freshdesk $15/month per user21 days 4.5 ⭐
Help Scout $25/month per user15 days 4.4 ⭐
Kayako Details not available14 days 4.0 ⭐
Intercom $39/month per user14 days 4.4 ⭐
Zoho Desk $7/month per user15 days 4.5 ⭐

1. Hiver

Hiver is a Gmail-based customer support ticketing tool. It offers a unified platform to connect with customers across various channels, including email, live chat, knowledge base, voice, and even WhatsApp.

Since Hiver seamlessly works inside Gmail, teams can get started without any additional training. Moreover, it has an array of features and offers 24/7 customer support.

Hiver Helpdesk Solution
Hiver Helpdesk Solution

Key Features: Email Management | Multi-channel support | Collaboration | Automation | Analytics and Reporting 

Pricing: Hiver has three types of pricing plans. 

  • Lite plan: $19/user/month
  • Pro plan: $49/user/month
  • Elite plan: $79/user/month

Recommended read: 12 Best Email Ticketing Systems for 2024

2. Zendesk

Zendesk is a popular customer support software, meant for large organizations and enterprises. It brings together various support channels, like email, chat, and a knowledge base, in a unified platform. Agents can sort issues, keep track of customer chats, and handle other support tasks. 

However, it has some drawbacks. It’s more expensive than many other support ticketing systems and can be hard to set up. For instance, teams using Zendesk have to pay 2x more than HIver. Additionally, if you need assistance from Zendesk’s support team, they charge anywhere between $1500 to $2800. 

Zendesk Customer Support 
Zendesk Customer Support 

Key Features: Skills-based Routing | Reporting and Analytics | Conditional and Custom Ticket Fields  

Pricing: Zendesk has three tiers of pricing for small to large-sized businesses.

  • Suite Team: $49 per agent per month
  • Suite Growth: $79 per agent per month
  • Suite Professional: $99 per agent per month

For enterprise companies, Zendesk has two tiers of pricing:

  • Suite Enterprise: $150 per agent per month
  • Additional and more powerful enterprise plans start at $215 per agent per month

3. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a customer support ticketing tool for small and medium-sized businesses. It helps organize customer queries into tickets, from different channels like email, chat, and social media. They offer a free plan, which is good for teams on a budget. 

However, some users find its design a bit complex, and it doesn’t integrate smoothly with Google Workspace. For example, agents can’t respond to ticket alerts directly from Gmail; they have to open the Freshdesk platform.

Freshdesk Omnichannel Ticketing 
Freshdesk Omnichannel Ticketing 

Key Features: Parent-Child Ticketing | Team Inbox | Ticket Field Suggester 

Pricing: Freshdesk offers four types of pricing plans: 

  • Free: Starter plan for unlimited agents but with limited features
  • Growth: $15 per agent per month billed annually
  • Pro: $49 per agent per month billed annually
  • Enterprise: $69 per agent per month billed annually

4. Help Scout

Help Scout is a ticketing tool for businesses looking to handle customer communication. It has a shared inbox feature that lets teams work together on customer emails. There’s also a special feature called Beacon that offers customers various ways to get answers, such as live chat, FAQ searches, or emailing a question. 

But, there are some issues with Help Scout. Internal and external conversations can overlap given the way both sections are designed. So, messages meant for teammates can sometimes mistakenly be sent to customers. Also, setting up Service Level Agreements (SLAs) isn’t straightforward; you’d need to use another tool called Super SLA.

Help Scout software 
Help Scout software 

Key Features: Customer Management | Messages Customization | Reporting

Pricing: Help Scout offers three types of pricing plans: 

  • Standard: $25 per user per month  
  • Plus: $50 per user per month  
  • Pro: $65 per user per month

Does Help Scout offer value for money?

5. Kayako

Kayako provides a unified customer service platform that brings conversations from different channels into one view. Moreover, Kayako enhances support efficiency with features like custom views for clear insight into the team’s workload, and delegation features that help with assigning work.

However, Kayako isn’t without its limitations. Based on user feedback, its interface doesn’t quite match the appeal and user-friendliness of some competitors, such as Hiver. Users have also raised concerns about periodic price hikes without added value. 

Kayako Helpdesk Software
Kayako Helpdesk Software

Key Features: SingleView™ | Ticket Collaboration | Live Chat | Customer Portal 

Pricing: Kayako offers two pricing plans: Kayako Cloud and Classic On-Prem. The pricing details for these plans are not currently available on their website. 

6. Intercom

Known as the Engagement OS, Intercom’s ticketing platform facilitates easy collection, tracking, and routing of customer queries. Moreover, Intercom provides a ‘Messenger’ feature that integrates various apps into a single interface. The tool is helpful for managing customer queries, with a focus on real-time messaging. 

However, using Intercom can be complex due to its learning curve and many setup options. Additionally, it might be expensive for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets.

Intercom Dashboard 
Intercom Dashboard 

Key Features: AI Inbox | Intercom Messenger | Automation 

Pricing: At first, Intercom’s pricing chart might seem complicated, but in a nutshell, it offers four types of pricing plans: 

  • Start: $39 per month per seat 
  • Grow: $99 per month (includes 5 seats)
  • Accelerate: from $499 per month (includes 10 seats)
  • Scale: from $999 per month (includes 10 seats)

7. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk is a help desk solution tailored for small businesses, owing to its freemium plan. It streamlines communication across various support channels, such as phone, email, live chat, SMS, and social media. 

However, some users have expressed concerns regarding its user interface, finding it a bit complex. Additionally, setting up workflows on the platform can pose some challenges.

Zoho Desk Dashboard
Zoho Desk Dashboard

Key Features: Work Modes | Ticket Assignment | Auto-Tag Tickets 

Pricing: Zoho Desk offers five types of pricing plans. 

  • Free Plan 
  • Express: $7 per month per user 
  • Standard: $14 per month per user 
  • Professional: $23 per month per user
  • Enterprise: $40 per month per user

Recommended read: Top 10 Helpdesk Ticketing Systems for Your Business [2024]

Customer Support Ticketing System FAQs

Q1. How does a customer support ticketing system work?

When a customer submits a query or reports an issue, it’s converted into a ticket in the software. This ticket contains all the necessary information, including customer details, nature of the query, and other relevant data. Customer service representatives then address these tickets based on priority and category.

Q2. How is a ticketing system different from a CRM?

While both tools manage customer interactions, a ticketing system is specifically designed for handling support inquiries and issues. 

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool focuses on managing all aspects of a customer’s relationship with a business, including sales, marketing, and service.

Q3. Can ticketing systems be integrated with other software?

Yes, many ticketing systems offer integration capabilities with CRM systems, email platforms, live chat tools, and other software to provide a seamless customer support experience.

Q4. How do ticketing systems prioritize issues?

Most systems allow for manual prioritization by support agents, but they also provide automation rules that can prioritize tickets based on various criteria like keywords, customer type, or issue severity.

Q5. Can customers track the status of their tickets?

In most systems, yes. Customers receive a unique ticket ID, which they can use to track the status and progress of their inquiry.

Q6. How do ticketing systems support multi-channel inquiries?

Modern ticketing systems can consolidate inquiries from various channels, such as email, chat, phone, and social media, into a single interface for support agents to manage.

Q7. How secure are ticketing systems?

Reputable ticketing systems prioritize security with features like SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular data backups. However, security can vary among providers, so it’s essential to check the security features and certifications of any system you’re considering.

Q8. How can ticketing systems improve agent productivity?

Ticketing systems centralize information, automate workflows, track analytics, provide knowledge bases, and eliminate the need for manual work assignment. This helps agents respond more efficiently and reduces the time spent on repetitive tasks.

Q9. Is it possible to customize a ticketing system?

Many ticketing systems offer customizable features to better fit the specific needs of a business, such as custom roles, custom fields, personalized workflows, and branding.

Way Forward

A customer support ticketing system is a valuable tool for any business that wants to provide excellent service. 

There are many different customer support ticketing systems available on the market, so it is important to choose one that is right for your specific needs. 

If you’re looking for one such platform that is affordable, easy to use, and offers multi-channel support, then Hiver is a great option. 
Try Hiver free for 7 days

A passionate content marketer, Nidhi writes value-driven, actionable content for various teams such as customer service, finance, IT and HR. Her expertise lies in helping these teams engage, collaborate, and manage their workload better - by shedding insights on best practices and industry trends. When not working, you'll find her tuning in to marketing and support-related podcasts, while also planning her next vacation.

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