Triage in Help Scout

Ticket triage involves a few steps: tagging, notes, and assigning.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see when you open Help Scout:

By default, the “Unassigned” box will be displayed. These are tickets that do not currently have an owner, and are awaiting some sort of action.

Tagging Tagging

For more detailed information on tagging, see Help Scout’s documentation.

You’ll notice in the above screenshot that most of the tickets have tags in separate gray boxes next to the subject line. The first thing you’ll want to do is tag tickets/emails that aren’t tagged. There are a few ways to do this:

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Quick Tagging Quick Tagging

If you can tell the context of a ticket by its subject line, you can quickly tag it from this inbox view. Click the checkbox at the far left of the ticket. You’ll notice a menu pop up when you do this.

Click the little “tag icon” (third from the left) and a text field will appear. You can now enter tags by typing them in. You may notice that as you type, that suggestions for your tags will appear. You can select from those suggestions if you’d like, or just type your tags separated by commas. What tags should you use? See the section titled “The Tag System” for more guidance.

If there are multiple tickets that you see that you’d want to assign the same tags to, you can click multiple checkboxes to assign the same tags to them in bulk.

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Tagging Individual Tickets Tagging Individual Tickets

If you can’t tell the context of a ticket from its subject line, you’ll want to use this method. Click on the ticket to open the conversation.

The actions you can take with the ticket are in an icon menu at the top: Reply, Note, Assign, Status, Tag, More (which includes Delete, Follow, Forward).

After you quickly scan the email and have determined its context, add tags by clicking the tag icon and typing them in. What tags should you use? See the section below titled “The Tag System” for more guidance.

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The Tag System The Tag System

Keeping our tags consistent is important for keeping searches accurate.

We use a system similar to the way WordPress Core manages tickets. We tag for Component, Keyword, Location, and Priority.

Best practices: hyphenating multiple-word tags, and using singular forms of nouns.

Component:
meetup
wordcamp
payment

contract (signing/reviewing venue or vendor contracts)
swag (requests or reminders to send swag to a group)
application
budget
sponsor
speaker
venue
insurance
advice (organizer requesting advice on an aspect of the event or group)
GPL
trademark
trouble (organizer is asking for help dealing with conflict or has a big problem that requires the help of someone with experience)
camera
video
contact-form (For use when people fill out the contact form at https://central.wordcamp.org/contact-us/)
meta(for emails related to the Meta team)
QBO(for emails related to QuickBooks, our invoicing software)
wptv(for WordPress.tv related emails)
amazon(for emails from Amazon web services)

Keywords (these relate to an action that needs to be performed by a deputy):
needs-vetting
needs-interview
needs-orientation
needs-agreement

needs-site
needs-budget-review
needs-shipment
needs-advice
second-opinion (if a deputy would like another deputy to weigh in on a ticket)

Location:
Tag with the city name associated with the event. Try to be consistent. 🙂

City names that are multiple words should be hyphenated, e.g., “New Delhi” should be tagged as new-delhi and “St. Louis” should be tagged as st-louis.

Priority:
Urgent: This should only be used for a ticket that requires an immediate response. For example: this payment didn’t show up, we discovered a GPL issue with a speaker/sponsor after announcing them, our lead organizer is stepping down, our registration page is broken.

Deputy:
Unlike SupportPress, we don’t tag/notify for deputies, we assign them. For more information on assigning tickets, see the “Assigning tickets” section.

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Assigning Tickets Assigning Tickets

If a ticket comes in and the sender addresses a certain person (“Hi Josepha!” “Good morning Brandon”, etc.), then use the “Assign” feature so they can find it easily from their “Assigned” inbox view.

With an individual ticket open, you can click on “Assign” (the little person icon):

A small box will open up with a list of deputies that are Help Scout users. You can select a person to assign this ticket to.

Quick-Assigning: You can also assign people in the inbox view when you use the checkboxes next to tickets (just like when you’re quick tagging).

When assigning a ticket to someone, it can also good practice to add a quick note to that person. Read below for more on adding notes to tickets.

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Adding Notes Adding Notes

When you have some background or additional information about a ticket that is not contained in that ticket, use the Notes feature to share your notes or background with the rest of the group.

Open the ticket and click the pencil icon, “Note”.

Type in your note! Good examples of things to put in a note: notes from vetting, an interview, orientation, budget review, links to other related tickets, and/or links to public wordpress.slack.com interactions that are relevant to the ticket.

You can now choose a Status (Active, Pending, or Closed). “Active” status will keep the ticket open. If there is no action required of anyone on a ticket, please remember to close it. The ticket will be reopened when a reply comes in. “Pending” status is currently only recommend when you are going to perform some future action on a ticket, within the next few days.

You can also choose to Assign the ticket at this point. A best practice when closing a ticket is to assign the ticket to “Anyone”, so that if/when a reply comes in, any deputy can respond to it.

Click “Add Note” to finish your note. 🙂

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Translating Tickets in a Language other than English Translating Tickets in a Language other than English

If a ticket is in a different language, you can use a service or app like Google Translate to try to get the context of the ticket, and answer the ticket in English, prefacing it with something like:

We usually provide support in English, so I’ve entered your message into Google Translate and received the following:
——————————————————–

[PASTE TRANSLATED TEXT HERE]

——————————————————–

Note: The above is in Help Scout’s Saved Replies as “Translate Text” if you’d like to use it.

Then underneath the translated text box, answer their query in English.

There are also some Deputies that are fluent in different languages, so you may also want to ping in the #community-team channel in Slack to see if they can help, and/or answer the ticket.

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Dealing with Spam or Junk Emails Dealing with Spam or Junk Emails

It’s good practice to sweep the “Spam” folder for legitimate emails and mark them as active. Some of the most common legitimate emails found in the Spam folder are contact form submissions, meetup applications, or responses to invoices. To move them back to the active mailbox, simply select “Active” from the “Status” (flag) drop-down menu.

Don’t forget to triage tag the email properly once it’s been moved back to the mailbox!

Sometimes we’ll receive Spam messages through the contact or application forms on Make/Community or WordCamp Central. Although the messages are technically Spam, they should not be marked as such in Help Scout, since it trains Help Scout to recognize form submission as Spam (and therefore HS would start flagging more legitimate submissions as Spam).

It’s best to mark these messages as Spam in the “Feedback” section of the Dashboard of Make/Community or WordCamp Central.

If you don’t have your permissions set to do this, assign the ticket to a Super Deputy with a note requesting for them to mark the message as Spam in “Feedback”. Then you can either close or delete the message from Help Scout, without flagging it as Spam.

If all the messages in the Spam folder are truly Spam, you can delete them all permanently by clicking on the little trash icon, as seen below. It’s very satisfying to do! 🙂

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Ticket Best Practices Ticket Best Practices

In an effort to ensure that Help Scout tickets are managed properly, its important to update the status of tickets efficiently. This helps to ensure that tickets are actioned appropriately. Below are some best practices to follow when working with tickets.

  1. Please only assign a ticket to yourself when you are either physically performing some task on the ticket (e.g. application vetting) or you plan to perform some future task within the next few days (e.g. updating a meetup in the meetup list after a meetup orientation).
  2. If you need to perform a follow up task on a ticket, leave it assigned to yourself and mark the status as “Pending”.
  3. Once you have completed whatever you are doing on that ticket, please mark the status as “Closed”. Any future reply on the ticket will re open in.
  4. If a ticket requires some future action that you will not be doing (e.g. a meetup orientation is required after you have vetted the application), assign it back to “Anyone” and mark the status as “Active”.