Help Desk Ticket Categories A Guide

Help Desk Ticket Categories: A Guide

Categorize your help desk queries to ease the job of your customer service agents and ultimately provide excellent customer experiences.


Last updated: January 8, 2023

7 mins read

Have you ever looked for one file on a messy hard drive? You check each image and open each video and PDF to find the correct one. So, how do you make things easy for yourself? You create folders for similar files. You divide them into categories to easily find them. You’ll be able to do the same for your help desk tickets. 

Your customer service agents are constantly bombarded with help desk queries. Their job becomes extra hard when one question differs from the previous one. For instance, a finance-related ticket will have a different solution than a product-related ticket. They must go back and forth from department to department, looking for answers. 

Categorize your help desk queries to ease the job of your customer service agents and ultimately provide excellent customer experiences. This post brings you different help desk queries and talks about how you can categorize them. Let’s begin!

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First, the basics: What are help desk ticket categories?

Let’s understand help desk ticket categories with a simple example. Customer A faces a problem with product functionality and raises a ticket. Another customer, customer B, may have an issue with the delivery. He also raises a ticket. 

These two queries are entirely different from each other and have solutions that are poles apart. I just wanted to let you know that help desk tickets are further divided according to products. For instance, the functionality of a productivity app would be different from a fintech app. 

Your agents would be confused and lost if they did not categorize these tickets based on their type. So putting customer A’s ticket into one category and customer B’s ticket in another is what help desk ticket categories are.

When queries are so diverse, it’s better to categorize them. They become easy to solve. Just like you’d categorize your files in Google drive or even dishes in your pantry, you categorize your help desk tickets. 

The different types of help desk tickets 

Help desk ticket categorization moves in a chain. You need first to have your ticket types sorted, and then you’ll be set to categorize further among these ticket types. So, what are the different help desk ticket types? There could be many, but we’ve boiled it down to the most common ones:

Service request tickets

Service request tickets are the most basic form of help desk tickets. Customers raise them to inquire about your product or service. These tickets are usually low-risk and do not require immediate action. In many cases, responses to these tickets can be automated. They may request new hardware or software, want to reset their password, or renew their software licenses. 

Incident tickets

Customers raise incident tickets to point out a problem with your product. This ticket type is mainly related to disruptions in the delivery of your IT service. It may be some interruption in your product or a decrease in your service/product quality. 

You must quickly solve incident tickets. Incident tickets reflect your customer service – customers take these very seriously. As per Zendesk research, 76% of customers would switch to competitors after one bad customer service experience.

Problem tickets

Problem tickets give birth to incident tickets. They are the root cause behind most incidents that become problems for customers. Technical staff raises problem tickets when they detect an upcoming issue. There are two ways customer service agents approach problem tickets:

  • Solve the problems that caused incidents for the customer
  • Address the problem that may be raise issues later

Change request tickets 

As the name suggests, change request tickets are raised to make changes in the product or service. The requirements for change include data migration when a company changes software or changes permissions due to a security threat. The changes are generally technical, so they need assistance from the IT help desk. Customer service agents guide the customers throughout the process. 

Five types to categorize your help desk tickets

You’ve understood that categories help you organize your help desk tickets. They allow support agents to assign the ticket to the correct department or person, so customers don’t have to wait a lot for solutions. Below are the most commonly used help desk ticket categories. Pick the one that suits your organization!

By Problem Type 

Categorizing your help desk ticket based on the issue is the most common option. Customer support agents can quickly identify the problem and hand it over to the person who deals with them. It also works well for customers, who can put their issue in the designated category. Here are some examples of help desk tickets in different companies:

A SaaS Company

  • Sales Questions
  • Cancellation Requests 
  • Bugs 
  • Technical Queries 
  • Feature Requests 

An Online Store

  • Pre-Sale Queries
  • Availability of Product 
  • Order-related Questions
  • Return Requests 
  • Shipping-related Questions 
  • Vendor-related Questions

Corporate IT

  • Server-related Questions 
  • New employee Questions 
  • Change requests 
  • Hardware 
  • Software
  • Networking

If you’re categorizing your tickets this way, you could assign multiple problem types to one agent. Another efficient way of ticket assignment would be to give all related problems to one agent. 

By Client/Customer 

Categorization based on clients or customers works well for startups and agencies—basically organizations at a small scale. They have a small clientele so that each support agent can focus on one client entirely. It infuses a sense of friendliness between the agent and client as he handles all of the customer’s issues throughout the association with the company. 

Categorization based on clientele could be done by either looking at their spending with your company or the level of organization (small scale or enterprise).

By Department 

Each department can only solve its own set of queries. This category works best if you want to avoid specific categorization. Here, the issue goes straight to the department, and they solve problems amongst themselves. For instance, an issue with the purchase cycle goes to the sales department, while an issue with the software functionality goes to the product department. 

Categorize tickets in the following departments:

  • Sales 
  • Software Development 
  • Human Resources
  • Operations 
  • Shipping 
  • Information Technology 
  • Finance 
  • Marketing

By Product 

Companies that have multiple products can categorize their tickets by product. Categorizing your tickets by product works well when you have specific teams for each product. If not, then categorizing by product gets messy because the ticket categories within one product can be pretty diverse. 

For instance, a single product may have issues related to sales, operations, product, finance, etc. You need multiple people with expertise in these many departments. Then, you need numerous such teams for different products. You can try categorizing your ticket by product if you have enough resources

By Priority 

Some customer tickets are too important to delay. Suppose a client of yours in the fintech sector encounters a problem with his invoicing software. You can’t wait for the right person or department to work on it. Each wrong invoice placed will be upon your company. 

If your organization has such clientele—you could try categorization based on priority.

Keep tabs on your tickets based on their priority. Divide them into three parts – high, intermediate, and low priority. This process works well when you have limited customer support. Your agents will solve the most critical tickets first and move ahead with each one. 

Now, help desk ticket categories best practices. 

You know the categories but knowing the categories is not enough. You must understand how to match a ticket with a specific category. Only then can your agents provide customer service that’s quick and accurate. Too many or complex categories make it hard for customers to report an issue. Below are some of the best practices to nail your help desk ticket categorization:

Identify your goals 

While creating categories, define what you want to measure or improve. Several problems can be solved by categorization, but each requires a different approach. Here are some goals for instance:

  • Reducing workload for your support agents 
  • Provide expert advice to customers 
  • Prioritize some clients over others 

Each of these categories requires different solutions and, thus, different types of categorization. If you want to provide expert advice, go for departmental categorization. If you want to prioritize important clients, go for client-based categorization. 

Without a clear goal in mind, you’d waste time creating categories that are not required. Gather your customer support team, find their main problems, and develop types to achieve your goals. 

Create a hierarchy 

Categorizing down a hierarchy is an excellent way to help desk ticket categorization effectively. A hierarchy helps you create categories faster. Start by choosing a broad category, such as sales. Then, figure out what may come up in the sales category. Here are some examples:

  • Return 
  • Shipping
  • Extended delivery time 
  • Payment issue 
  • Discount 
  • Late delivery

Now you can create the above categories in your sales tickets. This way, your sales support agents won’t have to spend time figuring out the issue and the respective solution.

Limit your categories

We’ve talked about ticket categories but remember, too many categories help no one. Your agents may get overwhelmed when too many ticket categories pile up. It is better to keep it simple when it comes to ticket categories. 

Even for your customers, when choosing a category while raising a ticket, chances are that they may select the first relevant option they see and move on. This leaves you with insufficient or wrong information, creating trouble in assigning the ticket to a department. 

Keep the names simple. 

Name your tickets such that your customer agents and customers find them easily. Imagine an ” FTLI ” ticket for a “First Time Login Issue.” You know the short form but agents and customers don’t. That’s why it’s crucial to keep simple yet specific names. 

Examples of support ticket names:

  • Delivery delay 
  • Damaged package 
  • Refund requested 
  • Payment failed 

Each of these ticket names signifies what they mean. Both customers and agents can easily find their issues among these categories and choose the right one. 

You can avoid general catch calls.

Keep your ticket names simple but not generic. Generic ticket names include “packaging issue,” “delivery issue,” or “payment issue.” Here one category can have multiple sub-categories. For example, the category “delivery issue” can mean the following:

  • The package is delayed 
  • Wrong package delivered 
  • The package never reached the customer 

If a customer raises a ticket for a “delivery issue, ” the support agent won’t know the exact problem. So, keep the category names simple yet specific. 

Create a knowledge base

Once you’ve finalized your help desk ticket queries, create a knowledge base for your support agents. A knowledge base contains information about each category. It includes their meaning and significance so they can pick the right category each time. A knowledge base also comes in handy when you hire a new support agent. They can learn about tickets from the knowledge base themselves without the help of any third person. 

Update categories regularly 

Ticket categorization is not a one-time job – especially for a new company. As an organization grows, its customers also increase, and so do tickets. Further issues could emerge, so you must regularly update your help desk ticket categories. So, you must keep analyzing and updating your ticket categories—while also keeping such updates open to suggestions from your team.

Use Keeping to Categorize with Ease

Categorizing your help desk tickets helps your support agents and your customers. So, it’s a win-win, and it’s great to have. But, without adequate help desk software, categorizing tickets would be a hassle. 

Keeping is the perfect help desk solution for you if you use email for customer support. With Keeping, help desk ticket categorization can be simplified. You create your categories by looking at our guide above and then assign them with tags to the related people—all with our assignment, status, and tag features.

And that’s not it, Keeping comes with many more features explicitly designed to help teams deliver excellent customer experiences, all from the good old Gmail. Check Keeping out today!


Sanjana Sankhyan is a freelance writer who specializes in delivering data-driven blog posts for B2B SaaS brands. She helps businesses attract more audience and sales with her writing. If not writing, you’ll find her helping other freelancers improve their work. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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