Article | 4 min read

How to be human while collecting customer data

By Brian Reuter

Last updated September 21, 2021

You’re a busy support leader with a team to manage and KPIs to meet. Up and to the right is a series that focuses on simple, actionable tips you can use right now to meet your goals.

Your team likely serves requests about many different issues and products, perhaps even across multiple locations or brands. But are you tracking that information on your tickets? Without categorizing the types of requests landing on your desk, collecting customer data needed to make informed decisions is almost impossible. This limits your ability to address the issues that can cause friction between your customers and your agents. This means constantly fighting an uphill battle when advocating for a change with your team or another department.

This post will explain how custom ticket fields in Zendesk Support make it possible to collect customer data in an organized way without limiting their ability to express themselves, which will lead to significant improvements in the long-run.

A quick primer on custom ticket fields
Customers have different ways of asking questions. Support teams want to accommodate their customers as individuals while still organizing tickets in a way that can be used to collect data. By combining a freeform description box with structured custom fields on your ticket form, you can accomplish both.

Custom fields are simple to setup and can take on many forms to gather different information (e.g. drop-down, checkbox, dates, etc.). In the end, they’ll lead to a more organized account.

Where do I start?
A simple whiteboarding session with your agents is the easiest way to start categorizing the types of requests you serve.

Your support agents are the subject matter experts at your company when it comes to customer experience, and they’ll highlight both overarching trends and specific requests. This will help you organize their feedback into actionable ticket fields.

And don’t worry—it’s easy to add, remove, and edit fields as you go. The issues that stand out as the most common today will likely change from year to year, and you can change course as needed.

From ticket field to business solution
As your customer submits a ticket, they can fill out whichever fields you’ve made available on the form. It’ll only take them a second but will save you precious time without detracting from their ability express themselves in the ticket.

As a support leader, you’re able to adjust your triggers in Zendesk to automatically assign different types of tickets to the appropriate agent or group based on what’s entered into the ticket fields—bypassing any wasted time in the idle triage stage altogether.

For example, if a customer selects “technical question about Product A” in a custom field, you can have a trigger automatically assign that ticket to an agent that specializes in that product. You could even send an automatic message back to the customer that includes an article with frequently asked questions and answers about Product A.

And if gathering detailed information about your customer requests is step one, then analyzing that information is step two. With analytics, you’re able to see how different request types are trending from week to week, which are taking the most time to solve, how the type of request impacts customer satisfaction scores, and more.

More insight today means a better tomorrow
Last but not least, the data you’re gathering should be turned around into actionable steps towards improvement.

If we can see that most tickets are being created about Product A, then it might make sense to revise our documentation about that product’s features. And if it takes the longest to resolve issues with Product B, then you could consider building out a better library of macros to speed up the process.

However you remedy the situation, the goal is to leverage the data you’re gathering in an effort to become a smarter, more effective support team.

The master’s course in ticket organization
Already have ticket fields set up in your account and looking for more? Well there are quite a few options: