So, we're really loving ZenDesk and it's working a charm for us and our clients - to the point we're trying to put 90% of our communication through it.
This is a brief explanation of how we're now managing time recording and invoicing to clients...
We've created two custom fields: "hours not billable" and "hours billable" which are updated during the life of a ticket until it becomes closed. - this is so that we can add zero-cost items to a clients invoice to show how generous we've been - if we do something that takes an hour but don't charge them they should be informed of that - Christmas'll be here before you know it ;-)
We made those fields appear where necessary by editing the particular views used in this approach
We've turned off the automation to close tickets that have been solved for 4 days, meaning it defaults to ZenDesk's standard 28 days until auto-close
Support ticket opened, actioned and marked as "solved"
Accounts dept scour the "Recently solved tickets" view, amend the title of the ticket to something meaningful as necessary and apply one of two tags: "invoiced" means that they have recorded the ticket into our Quickbooks accounting system ready to send to the client (we reference the ticket number in that invoice, and use the exact title of the ticket as the item description in the invoice) "ignore" means that a ticket need not be invoiced for, but should stay in the system for reference [We just delete tiny things like a client asking for someone's phone number etc.]
Trigger marks any tickets which are set as "solved" and have tag of "invoiced" or "ignore" as "closed" This obviously means they disappear from the list of "solved" tickets that the accounts dept look through
Automation sends email alert to the accounts dept if any ticket has been set as "solved" for more than 48 hours - this only gives the client 2 days to reopen a solved ticket, but means we are billing quickly
While we're adjusting to this methodology, we have a couple of extra views to double check nothing's getting missed but in a few days it should all be sorted, with invoicing being done regularly and easily - as long as we invoice all clients within 28 days of any support ticket being closed that is!
Would REALLY welcome your feedback - is this a dangerous way to go, could we improve on it, does it help you?