Tip of the Week: Open vs. Pending Tickets and Why You Should Care

March 24, 2010

One of the major benefits to using an online customer support software to handle your customer interactions is that unlike an email inbox, the interactions in a ticketing system have a defined end-point: you mark a ticket solved.  This closed loop process is important for both your company and your customers; it puts you both on the same page – an agreement that the issue or question has been resolved and ultimately closed.

But of course, there are a few steps between a customer sending a ticket and you marking it solved.  To handle these various stages, all Zendesk tickets can be in one of four states (or, as you'll see on all Zendesk tickets, four statuses): New, Open, Pending, or Solved.  New and Solved might be self-explanatory — they mark the beginning of the interaction and the end — but what about Open and Pending? By understanding and making use of these statuses, you can stay on top of your support workload and bring any outstanding tickets to solved in an efficient manner.

Zendesk Ticket Status can be manually set within each ticket via the Status Dropdown.

Status1
 

Within Zendesk, an Open ticket is defined as a ticket assigned to an agent. Open tickets are the heart of your support workload — they indicate those issues that you're working on. Once a ticket's status has been changed from New, it can never be set back to New.

Where this begins to be important is when you set up Views, Triggers, and Automations based on a ticket's status.  It is probably useful, for instance, to see a grouping of all your Open tickets; all your tickets that need to be solved.

But, of course, oftentimes to solve a ticket, you need to collect more information from the customer, e.g. you need the specific text of the error that they are seeing, or you need their account number, etc.  So you write them back.  In those cases, you want to be able to move the ticket off the list of things that need your attention but at the same time not forget about it.  This is why the "Pending" status is so useful; it's like saying: "This ticket is not yet solved but I'm waiting on something before I can work on it further."

To see how this state might be useful, let's take a look at how you could set up a View that shows you all your unsolved tickets but groups them according to whether they are Open or Pending.  (Views are collections of tickets that you can customize according to your support workflow.)

To set up a new View, go to the Views section of the Manage tab.  Click on "Add View" in the upper right. We'll keep this simple and just collect all our tickets that are not solved, or in this case "Less than Solved"

Pending2
 

Next, we'll set the Format Options to display by Table, and then choose to Group the tickets by Status

Pending3-1

Now, when we update and return to this view, we'll see our tickets grouped according to whether they are New, Open, or Pending.  This way, we can see those tickets where we've written back to the customer for more information but they are separate from those that require our active attention.

Pending4

When our customer replies to us with the information we requested — the error message or account info — Zendesk will automatically change the status from Pending to Open.  So the next time we look at our "All Unsolved Tickets" view, then, that ticket will appear in our Open list, and hopefully closer on its way to Solved!