Tip of the Week: Use Problem and Incidents to Organize and Speed Up Your Support

June 11, 2010

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.