A ticket is characterized by its subject, description, status and priority. The priority of the ticket, its urgency basically, and the status can be determined by the subject, description or sender.

All tickets start off with priority “Low” and status “Open” until they are manually changed by an automation mechanism or an agent.

So what do these statuses and priorities mean? And how are they determined?

That is where an SLA comes into play. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is basically a promise to a customer - a promise that the service provider (in this case, you) won’t take more than the time that you specified to solve the customer’s question.

So when a customer submits an issue, he knows exactly how much time it’ll take for the service provider to get back to him.

The due-by time is determined by the priority of the ticket. An “Urgent” priority ticket is due much sooner than a “Low” priority ticket. The SLA tells the helpdesk what the due-by time should be for each ticket based on its priority.

If an agent doesn’t resolve a ticket before the due-by time is up, the ticket gets marked as “overdue” and an alert is sent to the Supervisor. Supervisors can also set SLAs for first response times. If an agent doesn’t respond to a ticket before the due-by time for a first response is up, a “response due” label appears next to the ticket, prodding you to reply to the ticket before an SLA gets violated.

Now, imagine a situation where a customer submits a ticket but the information that they provided isn’t enough to solve the problem so you have to wait for them to reply with the info you asked. Say, the ticket is marked “Urgent” and your Supervisor has set the SLA as two hours for an Urgent ticket. If the customer doesn’t reply before the two hours are up, the ticket gets marked as “overdue” and it becomes a red mark in your report, due to no fault of yours. If only you’d been able to halt the SLA timer until the customer had replied back with the info….

And you can! In Freshdesk, the SLA timers are tied to the ticket’s status. The clock keeps ticking if the status is “Open” but it’s paused if the status is changed to “Pending”.

So, if all a ticket needs is for you (or another agent) to work on it, you can mark the ticket as “Open” but if you’re waiting on a third party vendor or the customer to reply, you can mark the ticket as “Pending” and halt the timer. When the customer does reply, the ticket’s status is automatically moved back to “Open”.

You can also use statuses to illustrate where the ticket is in the pipeline. Agents can mark a ticket as “Resolved” if they think that they’ve provided a satisfactory solution to the problem. If the customer is happy with the solution as well, he can close the ticket from your support portal. Most of the customers don’t bother (or know that they can do this) closing the ticket so your Admin can set up a Supervisor rule that will do this for you. You can also create custom statuses like “Waiting on Customer” and “Waiting on Third Party Vendor” to further breakdown the actual status of a ticket.