Customer Service Glossary - Ticket Priority

What is a Ticket Priority?

Support ticket priority levels help you maximize the potential of your customer service and make your customers feel heard and reassured within a reasonable amount of time.


October 10, 2022

6 mins read

With growing business comes a growing volume of customer support tickets. While this may be a good sign of growth, handling a huge volume of tickets can be difficult. If not handled properly, it could lead to bad customer service experiences. And that’s not what you want.

Ticket priorities are what help you manage the growing number of support tickets and deliver exceptional customer service. Today we’ll talk about what ticket priorities are and how you can set up your own. Let’s begin!

What are ticket priorities?

Ticket priority levels are what your customer service reps need to define (and internalize) to understand how quickly a ticket has to be resolved. It also involves deciding whether they must perform additional actions to escalate and deliver a proper response.   

They help your reps by providing accurate information and whether immediacy is imminent in a particular situation. Priority levels also motivate them to act on the faster resolution and improve your customer’s experience with your brand. 

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This way, customers with urgent issues can have their issues resolved quickly, and your customer service reps are not overburdened with chasing multiple problems all at once. Ticket priorities also guide the representative on how to proceed in terms of interaction with the customer.

For example, it is more important to sort a customer issue that outlines an unplanned interruption to them using your product or service than to entertain a feature request that seeks some new feature not present within your current product or service. 

The former can immediately terminate the customer’s usage of your product or service and create a bad customer experience. At the same time, the latter can be uncomfortable to the customer but probably won’t prompt them to look for an alternative immediately.

What are the ticket priority levels?  

Here are the three ticket priority levels widely used by companies worldwide:

Tier 1 (High): 

These are the issues typically crucial to the business. They signify a problem without immediate or temporary fixes or a severe outage across the network. If your company sells a SaaS product, internal system failure could be identified as a problem that deters your customers from using your product or service—becoming a high-priority issue. 

Tier 2 (Medium):

These generally denote problems with degraded service, which could indicate a poorly functioning website or product difficulties resulting in decreasing service quality. You can usually resolve these issues with a workaround or any short-term solution.

Tier 3 (Low):

These issues involve general inquiries that don’t require a prompt response. They are minor issues that you can take your time fixing because they don’t pose serious problems for your consumers and would not immediately lead to them discontinuing your product or service. This can include a feature request, a change request, or a service request. 

This grouping is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Many companies prioritize their customers based on the revenue they bring into the business or whether they are repeat buyers. It is all up to what suits your organization’s business goals.

How can you set your support ticket priority levels?

Since every business is different, their ticket priority levels will differ too. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to setting your ticket priority levels. Here are a few parameters to consider when deciding your ticket priority levels.

Based on the critical nature of the issue

To begin evaluating the critical nature of the problem, you can ask yourself a few questions: How prevalent is the issue? Is it affecting the primary user, all users on the account, or your customer’s customers? Is it affecting just one individual, a small group, or your entire user base? 

Companies can involve more than one department in the problem resolution process if the issue is classified as one of High priority.

Some ways you can approach the issue include:

  • Looping in your support companies who may have something to do with the issue (for instance, your service providers);
  • Keeping your customer updated at short intervals of time; and
  • Consistently updating your status page on your website.

You can automate a considerable part of the process to allow for faster resolution, especially if the issue is widespread and you have many support tickets crowding your inbox.

Based on customer revenue

Nothing hurts more than losing high-quality clients now, does it? For this reason, you may want to prioritize tickets based on the revenue a particular customer is generating for your business. This could also imply that your product is relatively new in the market and you are a growing brand.

You could use integrations to add details about plan tiers and lifetime value to the context of each ticket. In this case, corporate clients may be given priority status, followed by solopreneurs, business customers, and trial users.

If your product or service does not offer time-based subscription packages, this might be based on a customer’s lifetime value or previous purchasing patterns.

Based on the service-level agreements (SLAs)

A service-level agreement or SLA is a contract with stipulated terms that establishes consistency in your support ticket priority levels and judiciously keeps your customers informed about how and when they can expect their issues to be taken care of. SLAs stop lower-priority tickets from getting backlogged indefinitely when your staff is busy responding to all high-priority situations, owing to ticket volume.

Based on the time that has passed after the generation of the ticket

Since ticket priority levels are set to quicken the issue resolution process, this is an important criterion. And no customer would wait indefinitely for you to respond to their query before they move on to your competitors. 

Employing ticket priority levels based on these criteria will ensure that customers receive timely responses. An excellent way to do this is by setting up automated ticket timers to move them up on your priority list. 

Based on specific indicators, subject, and emotion

Conduct thorough research and develop a list of subjects that often arise in your customer support issues. These subjects are repetitive and drive a negative sentiment among customers. 

Prioritizing tickets based on these subjects can prevent any negative brand image from cultivating in the minds of your customer. System failures that repeat themselves or refund requests going overlooked can threaten your business with an overall negative impression.

To help your customers without overwhelming your customer service team, you can create resources like FAQs and knowledge bases that cover common issues so that customers can avail some self-help before contacting one of your representatives.

Based on tiered workflow set-ups

Ticket volume is a big reason you should prioritize your support ticket levels. You or your customer service department can only simultaneously respond to so many queries.

If you are a small company, you can afford to respond to support tickets chronologically. For a large company with an ever-growing database of tickets across multiple channels—a tiered workflow is a way to go.

This means that a particular segment of reps is tasked with handling specific issues. For instance, one group can be the first responders, while more experienced specialists can be saddled with the more complex or repetitive problems or even exasperated customers. You can also form a team of experts to take care of concerns incoming from high-value clients who deserve personal attention.

A helpdesk system can be used by companies that provide omnichannel customer support to assimilate and integrate support inquiries into one central platform for a more streamlined prioritizing process.

Let your customers help themselves

Self-reliance is the anthem of the present generation of customers—and the more you can help your customers help themselves, the more they will stick with your brand and promote your value. 

Your consumers can resolve common problems on their own by using online knowledge bases and targeted customer concern guides, which saves the time they would have spent getting hold of a customer rep. 

By creating a searchable database of common issues and the answers to solve them, you can empower your customers, deliver a better customer experience, and garner more five-star reviews, all while reducing the load of customer queries in your inbox.

By tracking ticket status

An efficient support ticketing system needs to be continuously updated. Each ticket must be individually monitored as they move through the response process, from “new” to “closed.” You can automate directing reminders to your agents if a ticket stays open too long. 

One way you can track tickets is by attaching metrics to the procedure. Metrics such as mean time to resolution, mean time to respond and mean time to acknowledge help identify where your customer service team is lagging or streamline the usage of particular resources. 

Final Thoughts

For a business struggling with managing customer queries—implementing ticket priorities is the way to go. Support ticket priority levels help you maximize the potential of your customer service and make your customers feel heard and reassured within a reasonable amount of time. This breeds trust and an overall positive sentiment amongst your audience and allows you to scale your business without overpowering your customer service department. 

Prioritizing your support tickets must always be done while keeping your business goals in mind—accelerating sales, generating increased revenue, or making repeat sales.

Think about your organization’s business strategy, what implementation stage your customers are in, and what key performance indicators your customer success team should ace. Once you align all this, you can seamlessly assign priority levels to your support tickets and create the success you want your business to achieve.


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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