This week, the development team rolled out some behind-the-scenes support functionality that I think a lot of our customers will want to take advantage of, so I put together this quick blog post to spread the word about it. With the new release, the support department is able to create "Ticket Email Subscriptions" for different ticket groups on every customer account. As a customer, you might not be jumping up and down with joy after reading that one-sentence description, but after you hear a little more about the functionality, if you're not clapping, I hope you'll at least give us a thumbs-up.
To understand the utility of the new ticket email subscription functionality, let's look at how normal tickets work in the SoftLayer portal without email subscriptions:
User Creates Ticket
- User A creates a ticket.
- User A becomes the owner of that ticket.
- When SoftLayer responds to the ticket, an email notification is sent to User A to let him/her know that the ticket has been updated.
SoftLayer Creates Ticket
- SoftLayer team creates a ticket on a customer's account.
- The primary customer contact on the account is notified of the new ticket.
- Customer logs into the portal and responds to ticket.
- Customer gets notifications of updates (as described above).
There's nothing wrong with the existing support notification process, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to make the process better. What if User A creates an urgent ticket on his/her way out the door to go on vacation? User B and User C aren't notified when an update is posted on User A's ticket, so the other users aren't able to get to the ticket and respond as quickly as they would have if they received the notification. What if the primary customer contact on the account isn't the best person to receive a monitoring alert? The administrator who will investigate the monitoring alert has to see the new ticket on the account or hear about it from the primary contact (who got the notification).
Ticket email subscriptions allow for customers to set contact addresses to be notified when a ticket is created, edited or moved in a particular ticket group. Here are the ticket groups differentiated in our initial release:
- Billing - Any ticket in our Billing department
- Maintenance - Scheduled maintenance notifications for specific servers
- Network Protection - DDoS mitigation and Null Routes
- Monitoring - Host Down Alerts
- CST, SysAdmin and Hardware - Any ticket in our support and data center departments
- Managed Services - Tickets that relate to any managed services
- Network Maintenance - Scheduled network maintenance
You'll notice that Abuse isn't included in this list, and the only reason it's omitted is because you've always been able to designate a contact on your account for abuse-related tickets ... Ticket subscriptions extend that functionality to other ticket groups.
Because only one email address can be "subscribed" to notifications in each ticket group, we recommend that customers use their own distribution lists as the email contacts. With a DL as the contact, you can enable multiple users in your organization to receive notifications, and you can add and remove users from each distribution list on your end quickly and easily.
When User A creates a ticket with the data center and goes on vacation, as soon as SoftLayer responds to the ticket, User A will be notified (as usual), and the firstname.lastname@example.org distribution will get notified as well. When a network maintenance is ticket is created by SoftLayer, the email@example.com distribution will be notified.
Ticket email subscriptions are additive to the current update notification structure, and they are optional. If you want to set up ticket email subscriptions on your account, create a ticket for the support department and provide us with the email addresses you'd like to subscribe to each of the ticket groups.
We hope this tool helps provide an even better customer experience for you ... If you don't mind, I'm going to head back to the lab to work with the dev team to cook up more ways to add flexibility and improvements into the customer experience.