The Life of a Maintainn Support Ticket

Golden-Ticket

It’s a new day, and you’ve been planning a set of changes to your website all week, and you’re ready to implement. You grab your morning coffee, you sit down at your computer, and pull up your website…

OH NO! ALL THAT’S SHOWING IS A WHITE SCREEN!

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As luck would have it, you are still able to log into your WordPress admin. Immediately you visit the admin Dashboard, and start typing up a message via the Maintainn Dashboard widget and hit send. A new support ticket is born.

Meanwhile…in eastern South Dakota, I get a notification:

New HelpScout ticket has been received

Time to get down to business.

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This is a regular routine for me with Maintainn. It is part of my job to be responsible for our support and ticketing system, and I hope that all of our Maintainn customers agree that I do the best I can, and do what I can to respond in a timely manner. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when you submit a Maintainn support ticket with us, here’s a glimpse into the process:

The initial response

You are experiencing a white screen when visiting your website, and you’ve submitted a support ticket (with as much info as possible, just like we covered last week).

Next, I look over your submitted ticket, and shoot you a response verifying that we received it and that we’re looking into the issue. Then, my investigation begins.

At this point, I log into your website and review any error logs available, and, if necessary, enable error reporting at a higher level. After a few minutes of review, I can locate what has gone wrong and where, and fix the issue.

Informing the client of discoveries

If everything is in good condition again and working as expected, I provide a follow-up response to the ticket with more information and an explanation of what occurred and why (to the best of my knowledge). Frequently, I will ask for confirmation from you, the original reporter, that everything is up and running smoothly. If you confirm that things are indeed back in working order, we celebrate together.

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With everything back to normal, I then close the ticket, which you are also notified about.

What if the issue reporter does not respond right away?

We are busy people! We are not always able to respond to everything right away, and that is not a problem. I understand. In those instances, I will mark the ticket as “pending,” which puts it below all other active tickets, but not fully closed. Thirty minutes later when you are back at your computer and finally able to respond and confirm things are fixed, that ticket automatically becomes “active” again and I know there is a new reply to read!

What does “closed” really mean?

What you see is going to be different than what I see, when responding to the same ticket. For your end, it is more akin to an email thread, while I’m actually in a ticketing system that offers a fair amount of flexibility. Some may think that “closed” means never able to be accessed again or deleted. Quite the contrary for us. When we close a ticket on our end, it more accurately means “archived,” and not shown in our in-progress lists of tickets. If necessary, I can pull up previous tickets to refresh my memory on an issue or see what a fix was for something a previous time.

You can even re-open a ticket if necessary! Say a fix I provide only ends up working temporarily, and you return to a white screen later that afternoon. Responding to my last contact will push it back to the top of my ticket stack and again notify me of a new response.

Anything else I should know about the system you interact with?

The main thing I would like everyone to know is that you should not feel bad about accidentally sending multiple tickets that say the same thing, at least if you didn’t realize you did. I will either merge the two separate tickets into one, and continue from there or close one of them and continue from the other. It’s not a big deal!

The other thing I would like to note is that when responding to the emails you receive, despite the temptation, it is best to not respond inline to what I have responded with. It is best to put all of your responses at the top of the email. Inline comments will not be sent as part of the reply that I see, due to how the ticketing system parses responses. If you need to reply in context to something I have said, please copy that part and put it at the top with your comment. That way both parts come through.

Final thoughts

While the example I used in this article is not always the case presented in my inbox daily, the process is the pretty much the same. Whether I’m waiting for confirmation of a completed task, or waiting for more information, I’ll mark tickets as pending, and re-mark as active, if not automatically done, once there’s more I can do to get the issue or request completed. At which point, I scamper off to take care of things until that new notification comes in from another customer.

Have any question about the process of submitting a ticket or having website fixes? Leave ’em in the comments!

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