Updated Aug 22 2021 :: by Alex Yumashev

Categorizing support tickets is the second most important feature of almost any helpdesk ticketing system available on the market today (the first most important being ticket-tracking itself). Categories can be used for:

  • Reporting (so you can track which systems generate the most support requests)
  • Efficiently assigning requests to proper team members
  • Configuring permissions for helpdesk agents (so that different agents have permissions to different ticket categories, handling only the tickets they have access to)
  • etc.

Improper ticket categorization can result in slower response times, incorrect reporting and user frustration. So let's have a look at some of the ways you can categorize your support tickets:

By problem type

This is probably the most common way to categorize your support requests - by issue type. Convenient for both the end users (they know which category they should put their tickets to) and the helpdesk agents ("by problem type" categorization maps great to the team members responsible for this type of issues). This works great for reporting too since you can easily see where most problems originate.

Here are some categories and subcategories examples

SaaS software company

  • Bugs
  • Feature requests
  • Technical questions
  • Billing issues
  • How to's

Online store

  • Shipping
  • Returns
  • Pre-order questions
  • Technical issues
  • Affiliate & reseller
  • Vendor issues

Enterprise IT department

  • Phones
  • Printers and copiers
  • Networking
  • Email Issues
  • Desktop Hardware
  • Desktop Software
  • Servers
  • Website

By Client

This is a less common way to organize your categories, since it does not fit every business and does not scale very well. But it might work for some consulting companies and freelancers.

  • Client A
  • Client B
  • Client C

By Department

In a "corporate" environment tickets can be department-specific

  • Department X
  • Department Y
  • Execs

You can also combine these two ways, categorizing the majority of your tickets "by problem type" and keeping 2-3 private categories "by client/department" for your important clients and/or organizational units.

By product

This one is obvious. If you're a multi-product company, why not organize your tickets by product? We were actually using this process here at Jitbit, when we had around 10 software apps (back in the days when the help desk software hasn't become our flagship software product yet)

  • Product A
  • Product B
  • Product C

By priority

If your helpdesk app does not have a built-in "priority" field. If it does, check out our tips for setting ticket priorities.

Getting even more details using custom fields and tags

If categorizing is not enough, you can classify your tickets even further by adding custom fields (particularly, the "drop-down list" type) that would allow "multi-dimensional" categorizing. For example:

  • "Category" is set to "Networking issues"
  • "Computer type" custom field is set to "Laptop" (available options - "Desktop" & "Laptop")

In many ticketing apps (including ours) you can also add "tags" to your tickets. You might ask, how "tags" are different from "categories"? Very simple - a ticket can have multiple tags assigned to it. You can use tags for both external and internal tracking. For example, here at Jitbit Software we have a special automation rule, which adds the "overdue" tag when a ticket becomes past due.

Automated ticket categorization

Many help desk apps offer some soft of "trigger - action" macros, that work automatically. Including Jitbit Helpdesk of course, which is famous for its automation engine that can - among other features - work with ticket categories. For example, you can assign a category to a ticket automatically, based on keywords and/or keyphrases found in the ticket's subject or body. Vice versa - you can perform various "actions" based on ticket category - like, "if a new ticket arrives to Category X - send an extra notification to John Doe".

You can also assign agents to tickets automatically, based on the ticket category.

Understanding category permissions

It is really important to keep an eye on sensitive information, and keep classified cases hidden from some of the team members. Usually help desk software offers limiting the visibility of a ticket category by users, groups or "roles".

In Jitbit Helpdesk you can control permissions for both agents and customers. The phrase "Agent A has permissions for Category X" usually means that:

  • "Agent A" can see tickets in "Category X" and can "handle" them (i.e. can be assigned to a ticket, reply to the customer behind it etc).
  • "Agent A" does not see tickets in other categories he has no permissions in
  • "Agent A" (optionally) gets a notification about every new ticket in a category
  • "User A" has permission to create tickets in a particular category

Training - making sure your team understands the ticket classification

Implementing ticket categories without proper training can lead to confusion. Make sure everyone is onboard by publishing guides to your internal Knowledge Base, adding category "notes" or even creating a test environment, where help desk agents can practice.

Remember that settings a category should be obvious - ot both users and "technicians". Don't create too many categories, start with just a couple and fine-tune if necessary.

'Categorizing your Support Tickets' was written by Alex Yumashev
Alex Yumashev
Alex has founded Jitbit in 2005 and is a software engineer passionate about customer support.

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