Taking on the dreaded Hydra

Taking on the dreaded Hydra

September 17, 2013
Taking on the dreaded Hydra

Symptoms
I was on a sea voyage, responding to tickets (thanks to Zendesk for iPad) when I saw a ticket from a prospective customer asking if we would be interested in publishing one of her blog posts on our own blog. Requests like this should be no problem; I just assigned it to marketing and assumed my work was done.

Imagine my surprise when I got emails from the original sender and three different members of the marketing department. She received three answers to the same basic question from three different people in the marketing department and wanted to know what to do. Plus the three marketers were all confused as to how this had happened. Sadly, I already knew what beast we were dealing with.

Diagnosis
Long thought a myth, we had a Hydra on our hands. With a Hydra, answering a ticket only results in the creation of 2 more tickets.

Thinking she would get a quick response, the original sender created three tickets via 3 different channels, all asking the same question. One assigned to support, one to our Director of Content, and one to a Community Manager.

  1. Email: “am I allowed to post my blog post on your site?”
  2. Twitter: “what does it take to publish your blog post on my blog”
  3. Support portal: “I am interested in publishing my blog on your site, here is the link to the post”

Cure
In the short term, it’s best to get everyone at your company on the same page with an email, let them know what happened, and choose one person to respond.

Then you need to merge all three tickets into one. Respond to the requester, by phone if necessary, apologize for the confusion, and make sure her questions are answered. In our case, it was “thanks, but no thanks.”

Conclusion
In the long term, vigilance is the only way to prevent Hydra tickets. Keep an eye on the number of open tickets the requestor has and make sure she hasn’t sent out a bunch of the same tickets. If she has, merge them.

Discover other monster tickets (if you dare):
Poseidon’s revenge
When customers go werewolf on you
Curse of the mummy ticket
Permanent daylight: the cure for vampire tickets
Zombie tickets

And for the truly brave, The Mysterious Case of Ticket X: the book!

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