Support Tickets: Tips and Advice

На приеме у психотерапевта

We’ve heard from a lot of users who doubt that you can effectively communicate with tech support over tickets alone. However, experience has shown us that this is entirely possible provided certain conditions are met. To help our clients get the most out of our tech support, we’ve decided to publish some tips for using our ticket system.

The ticket system is our messaging service that connects clients to the company. All messages are sent/received in the control panel.

Messages that clients submit to tech support are called tickets. Tickets automatically keep a record of the entire message history between the client and support.

The ticket system is the main means of communication between clients and support engineers. It can be used to:

  • contact our specialists with questions regarding services;
  • make suggestions for improving our services;
  • report an error.

Obvious advantages include:

  • tickets are sent in real time, alerting the entire department of the client’s issue;
  • the message history is saved for each question and cannot be lost;
  • files in png, gif, jpg, or pdf format can be sent as attachments;
  • clients can rate the their experience with tech support staff;
  • a guaranteed quick response.

We should note that the time it takes to resolve a problem depends largely on how the ticket is written. So what should be kept in mind when writing a ticket?

The first thing our tech support sees is a ticket’s subject. It should be as concise and informative as possible. If you’re having problems with a server, then we recommend including the number of that server. Here’s an example of a well and poorly written subject line:

Correct Incorrect
Network access problems with server csXXXX SERVER PROBLEM!!!!

Concise and informative subjects also help you find tickets later on.

The more precise your description is, the faster our specialists can resolve it. We recommend providing specific examples and details in your description. For example, if you write about a network access problem, include PING responses and routes (this can be obtained with traceroute/tracert or MTR) in your ticket.

Far too often, we run into descriptions like this:

My server isn’t working again. What happened?

These kinds of tickets create a lot of work for our tech support and it may take a lot of time to figure out what exactly the problem is.
A good description looks more like this:

I changed the IP address for my cloud server from (...) to (...) yesterday. I checked the settings several times, and it looked like everything was right, but the new address won’t work for some reason. 
(ping-requests attached)

If you suspect there’s also an issue with the hard drive, try to give us as much information as you can. Sometimes our support engineers receive messages like this:

My hard drive’s dead.

This isn’t exactly what we’d call clear: there is absolutely no way of knowing how you came to this conclusion. For these submissions, it’s better to include some data:

We suspect the hard drive on dedicated server csXXXX is faulty. SMART table data: (....)

SMART (self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology) is technology that lets you use internal testing hardware to evaluate a hard drive’s condition and anticipate failures. More information on SMART tables and how to interpret them can be found here.

If you think your server has issues with its RAM, try to include the results or printouts from memory diagnostic utilities. These might help determine which RAM modules are faulty.

If there are any problems using our control panel or settings (like monitoring, firewall, or Cloud Storage settings), we recommend attaching screenshots of the settings page to the ticket; this will help us quickly diagnose and correct the error.

Everything that happens on a server (including sudden reboots and other unplanned activity) is reflected in system logs. Extracts from logs can also (and in some cases must) be attached to tickets. Don’t worry about deciphering them, our specialists will help out and give specific recommendations to resolve the problem. In Linux systems, logs are usually saved in the /var/log catalog; in Windows, they’re saved to %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log.

Some errors only occur in certain browsers. In this case, you should include the version of your browser and attach a relevant screenshot.

Avoid overly short descriptions. Tech support will have to request extra information and that takes up time that could be spent resolving your issue.

Another important rule of thumb is one problem = one ticket. Create separate tickets for each of your issues. This will help our engineers coordinate with one another and let us get to your problem sooner. Additionally, following this rule also helps you find tickets later on down the road.

If a problem that you’ve already submitted a ticket for and resolved pops back up, don’t create a new ticket; write about it in the one already dedicated to the previous problem.

Tickets should only be closed when the problem has been fully resolved. Even if you haven’t written anything, closing a ticket tells our tech support that you have no other issues.