IT

Tag-tics: A superuser’s guide to creative and effective tagging

I’ve always hated tagging (hashtag sorrynotsorry). Getting consistent tag adoption is sticky; triage moves fast and they become an afterthought, they require contextual knowledge for proper use, and there are sometimes too many to bother. It turns out I’m not alone in this struggle–on average askSpoke teams adopt 6 tag types that demonstrate comprehensive utilization is a challenge. They are the first thing forgotten and the last thing to revisit.

Tags are an incredibly powerful resource. They are a tool for report categorization, trend mapping, search improvements, and at-a-glance triage. I want to use them to visualize the health and focus of my team without having to interrupt for check-ins and scrutinize the content of tickets themselves (because that’s not where my head should be, anyway).

I gutted our tag structure, dear reader, and you can too. We were able to shift tagging from a housekeeping task to a continuously beneficial part of our ticketing ecosystem. Our auto-resolution rate doubled, my team provided feedback that they felt better educated on process, and we shaved an average of 10 minutes off our initial request responses…and I could report on it. Yes, from using tags. Let me share with you what I learned and the tags that got us there.

The trick with 🏷s:

1. Don’t create a tag for everything

Use categorization to establish what your tags are for and create specific tag “sets” that reflect the category purpose. Don’t limit your tags only to in-the-moment prioritization. (Don’t worry, we have suggestions.) 

2. Make them translatable

Who doesn’t love a good emoji? They’re a consistent part of our lexicon, great for multi-language support, and save visual space. Anyone who joins your team should be able to interpret your tags, so they’re consistently applied and with the right context.

3. Make them for you

Tags in askSpoke are visible only to admins and team members and should drive your priorities. Develop a list that is useful for you and your admins and agents that represent processes, actions, and metrics you want to see. 

4. Create them as you grow

Don’t try to preempt all the tags you need–you don’t know what you don’t know. Create ones you are sure you want to track, then build persistent categories as trends arise. Conversely, don’t be afraid to retire a tag. If it doesn’t work or is no longer relevant, you don’t need it.

💡Pro-tip: Want to keep your retired tags? Pick a retirement color or emoji (we chose orange and 🚫) to preface the tag.

The Obvious Ones

1. Prioritization (🔥P1 to 🤷‍♀️Never Gonna Happen, My Dude)

No one needs to debate the relativity of the word “urgent.” Instead, applying priority to requests as they come in allows for batching and minimizes the help desk instinct to triage the list top-down. It’s also a great at-a-glance visual of your team’s busyness.

💡Pro-tip: Add a Project tag to for priority beyond a P3 or 4 tickets, evaluate if it requires immediate resolution and if no, use askSpoke’s Asana or JIRA integration to get it out of your Inbox.

2. Onboarding & Offboarding

A new hire’s first-day technology experience informs their relationship with IT and their last 😢informs IT’s participation in a thorough goodbye. Group oversight of these two critical processes reduces deadline misses and improves experience consistency.

3. Batching your access requests

Access requests are easy, access requests are not time-consuming…until there’s a list of them. Tag ‘em and take action on all of them at once. You now have control of urgency and can create a standard time to complete around access requests.

💡Pro-tip: Make a kbase that states your bulk-task schedule so it’s an up-front SLA (and save your admins precious typing time).

The Educational Ones

1. 🤔 The Thinker

We’re all conscious of interruptions. The worst feeling is when you break your teammate’s flow because you’re stumped. For any non-priority requests that have you flummoxed, add a “help!” tag and go over them in your team meeting or drop the filtered tag link in Slack or Teams for some crowdsourcing. 

3. ❌🦵🏈 The Bad Punt

It sounds serious, but it’s all in the service of a better internal assessment of escalation. No one wins when a ticket gets bounced between different tiers of support. We called them “half time shows” (removing the negative connotation of handoff)—any time a ticket was triaged or escalated incorrectly and kicked back to the original agent or admin, we tagged it and went over why. This created consistency in hand-off, but more importantly, opened the door to solution sharing, education, and maybe…

3. ✍️ KB This!

Ahhh, the perpetual tag. Don’t have time to write the full knowledge article now? Need to flush out some details or grab some screenshots? Noticed that someone is responding with the same answer over and over? Time for the KB tag.

Adding the KB tag releases an admin from rushing detail when there may be a backlog of tickets to address. It can also serve as a marker to create a process document and can be applied to any ticket by any admin, creating continuity in place of contextual or siloed knowledge.

🚨Be careful that this tag doesn’t become its own backlog. Pro tip: create an SLA or assign weekly rotations for KB completion.

The Unexpected Ones:

1. 👀 I’m on it

Not quite ready to institute Round Robin, but want to reduce accidental ticket swipes? Let your teammates know. Alternatively, if you’re triaging before accepting, each teammate can choose their 🐶🌈🍎representative emoji and stamp a request as theirs before assigning.

2. 👯‍♂️Duplicates

You don’t always want to close your duplicate requests, but consolidating them isn’t always a top priority (especially when it’s a 🔥P1). Dynamically add or remove the dupes tag so the assigned admin knows the request is related to an in-progress issue and helpful teammates don’t reassign related tickets.

3. ⭐Superstars

Tickets aren’t glamorous without the work of the admin to make it shine. Highlight great support, hard work, and unique solutions with a tag and share what you love about it in your team meeting or sync.

Tag, you’re IT.

Your team is awesome (after all, you use askSpoke) and your tags should be as dynamic as your team. Use them as an integral part of understanding where you should focus priority, create space for development, and generate triage efficiencies (if you can’t automate). Shape them with the same approach you take to ticketing and you too will share the reward that is a streamlined and spotlighted team.

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