Forums/Community/Support tips & notes

Use Problem and Incidents to Organize and Speed Up Your Support

Matthew Latkiewicz
posted this on June 28, 2010 11:50

Not all support tickets are the same - your customers have different reasons for getting in touch with you. As such, not all Zendesk tickets work the same way. A Zendesk ticket can be one of four types: a Question, a Problem, an Incident, and a Task. Each of these types allows you as the support person to do different things with the ticket based on the issue at hand. A Question is the most straightforward - a customer has a question and you try and resolve it. But what about if one of your customers writes in about a problem they are having with your service? Like, for instance, you run an online store and the billing part is not working. In this case you'll want to take advantage of Zendesk Problem and Incident tickets. The benefit of this goes beyond the naming. In Zendesk Problems and Incidents are related; specifically a Problem can have many Incidents attached to it. Let me show you how it works. First a ticket comes in alerting me that one customer is having trouble checking out of my store.

Problem Ticket

 

I verify that indeed, the credit card authorization is not working. This is not a question about the billing - something is indeed broken. I classify the ticket as a problem by changing it's type and let the customer know we are working on it.

 

classify-problem-ticket

 

Up to now it's worked like a standard question ticket. It's when I get another ticket mentioning the same problem that the Problem/Incident relationship becomes more important. A second customer writes in about not being able to check-out of my store. In this case, I classify the ticket as an incident. This ticket is an incident of a problem I already know about. When I do that, a second drop down opens up asking me to "Link incident to problem". I link it to the previous ticket that came in.

 

classifying-incident

 

I can keep doing this as more related incidents come in. This way, I'm keeping all the tickets related to my billing issue linked together. When I go back to the original problem ticket, I see all its associated incidents.

 

associated-incidents

 

And there is a link back to the original problem ticket within each incident. When I figure out and fix the issue with my billing, I can mark the problem ticket as solved. But it's not just the problem that gets solved - it's also all the incidents. Solving a problem ticket will also automatically solve and add any comment you included while solving to all the related incidents.

 

solving-problems

 

Leveraging Problems and Incidents can help you organize and streamline your support process when problems arise. You've already got to deal with the problem; you should make your support of the problem as easy for you as possible.

 

Comments

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Joseph Snow

We've stared using this feature, but the drop down list only allows 50 incidents to link to.

This seems wrong, as we have far more than 50 tickets in our system of the type "problem", how can we link an incident to a "problem" if it doesn't show up in this list?  Is there another way to do this?

 

July 01, 2010 11:15
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Martin Mayer
keytime

Yes.  I agree.  We also need to link to more than 50 unsolved poblems at once.  We have suggested a change to facilitate this.  What is the Zendesk viewpoint on this?  Love to hear what other users think to:

 

Filter Problems by Product/Service/Category

https://support.zendesk.com/entries/221707-filter-problems-by-produ...

August 26, 2010 13:47
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Jonathan Wayman

I agree, it'd be nice if that were either a field that the problem ticket number could be entered or preferably some sort of search dialog to find and pick the problem ticket that the incident needs to be linked to.

ie: Like the ability to directly enter the ticket number when merging tickets.

September 22, 2010 08:40
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Janine Sieja

Ditto Jonathan, Martin and Joe. We need a way to associate an incident with any open problem, not only the most recent 50.

November 16, 2010 20:58
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Christie Strasia
outright

Yeah, me too... unfortunately we have more than 50 "problems" at any given time.  I wish we didn't, but that probably won't change for awhile.

Along these same lines, I'd love to be able to run a report/view on all my problems and the associated incidents.  This is really helpful in prioritizing the fixes... we try to fix the problems with the highest number of incidents, but getting that number is super-manual right now.  Any thoughts on adding the "incident of problem" field on the view/reports?

March 24, 2011 10:36
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Matthew Latkiewicz
Zendesk

Hi there -

I checked with the development team here at Zendesk, and currently, the problem drop-down is limited to 50 items with no work-around.  You all raise great points; the next step would be to post this in our Feature Request forum so the dev team can take a serious look at implementing it.

Cheers,

Matthew

Zendesk

March 29, 2011 08:28
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Laurent Yaish

Is there a way to use placeholders when closing a "problem" ticket so that I could address the client with "Dear {{name}}" since the same message also goes to the "incident" tickets ?

Thanks

March 30, 2011 18:17
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Matthew Latkiewicz
Zendesk

Hey Laurent -

Yes: {{ticket.requester.first_name}}

You would put this in the trigger that sends out the notification to all the clients.

Mike has written up the list of available placeholders here: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/247744-what-are-the-placeholder...

April 01, 2011 05:46
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Laurent Yaish

Hi Matthew,

I see. So placeholders only work from within the trigger? I tried using it by placing it directly into my message (as a one time thing) but it didn't work.

Thanks

April 01, 2011 14:00
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Matthew Latkiewicz
Zendesk

Yes, exactly Laurent.  Placeholders only work in triggers.  But every email that is sent out by Zendesk is done so by a trigger - so you can look at the trigger that sent out your problem/incident email and add in a placeholder there.  If you are having trouble getting the results you need just contact our support team: support@zendesk.com and someone can take a look at what you are working with.

April 06, 2011 13:06
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Michael Duxbury
dotmailer

Hi,

> the problem drop-down is limited to 50 items with no work-around.

There is actually a work-around, but it's a bit hacky, so be warned.

Firstly, this requires a script-editing tool such as Firebug on Firefox or Chrome.  Once you have that installed:

1) Go to the ticket you want to link *to* (the 'problem').  View the source, and find the string '<!-- Ticket ID'.  Next to this will be a long number; copy this number to your clipboard.

2) Go to the ticket you want to link *from* (the 'incident').  Make sure the 'Link incident to problem' dropdown is shown (if the ticker is an incident, it will be). Enable Firebug, select the 'inspect' tool, and click the incident dropdown. This will show the HTML for the dropdown in Firebug; expand this so you see all the <option> tags.  Pick one (the top one makes sense), and update the 'value' to the number on your clipboard. Hit enter so this change is made to the page, and then make sure the first option of the dropdown is selected.  Save the ticket and hey presto, the two tickets are now joined.

I said it was hacky ;)

M.

August 04, 2011 07:46
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Burt

So the problem is that there is a current limitation of only 50 problems, and the incident is that this effects me too!

November 03, 2011 18:50
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Thomas Andersen
tv2net

I have another question; what if I want to keep my incidents posted on any updates?

"Hey guys, Im sorry we have not solved the problem yet, but I wanted to let you know, that our developers are closing in".

A comment in my problem does not affect my incidents.

November 17, 2011 08:04
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Matthew Latkiewicz
Zendesk

Hi Thomas - 

Currently the only time a comment will posted to all of the incidents linked to a problem ticket is when a public comment is added to a 'Problem' ticket AND the 'Problem' ticket is set to solved. If you update a 'Problem' ticket and don't set it to solved, the comment will only be added to the 'Problem' ticket and not to the associated incident tickets. If you update any of the incident tickets regardless of their status, this will only update the incident ticket in question.

There is a discussion about this going on in our feature request forums with some of our product team chiming in.  You can vote the idea up if you'd like: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/141083-problem-tickets-should-u...

November 17, 2011 11:20
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Travis Ames

The images are broken on this page

September 07, 2012 10:19
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Ted Barnum
Zendesk

Thanks Travis,

I fixed the links. images should now be present.

September 07, 2012 12:08
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Travis Ames

Snappy!  Thanks Ted

September 07, 2012 13:21
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Andrew Hicks

Hi,

  When you look at a problem then load the view of the related incidents can you change the columns in the view.  Been looking around but cant see where to do this.

 

Thanks

Andrew

October 17, 2012 01:45
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Justin Seymour
Zendesk

Hey Andrew: 

It's currently not possible to modify that view, as it is used system-wide! 

October 17, 2012 11:24
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Thibault Mortier
revevol

Hello,

I am looking for a way to "privately" update any incident related to a problem when the problem is updated. This would complete the actual process which solves a ticket once the related problem is solved.

Did you guys have ever done something similar ? I think it is not feasible with triggers.

Thanks in advance.

December 21, 2012 05:50
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Justin Seymour
Zendesk

Hey Thibault: 

Any private comments you make on the problem ticket will be appended to the linked incidents when you solve the ticket. Updating the problem ticket to any other status, with a public or private comment, will not update the linked incidents with that comment. 

January 07, 2013 05:45
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Larisa Moore
RealNetworks, Inc.

Hi,

We just used this functionality for the first time with an issue that came up today and was fixed a few hours later. We wrote a public reply to the problem ticket and set it to Solved. The reply shows up on the linked incidents but their status still shows as On Hold. According to the article it should have set them all to Solved. Why did this not work?

~ Larisa

July 11, 2013 13:00
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Laura D.
Zendesk

Hi Larisa, 

You understand correctly, the incident tickets should have been solved along with the problem ticket so that sounds odd, I think it'd be best if we take a specific look at the tickets in question. To do that I've opened a ticket for you in our support system - look out for a separate email in just a minute. 

July 11, 2013 14:41