How to claim, answer, and manage LibAnswers tickets

A ticket represents a conversation between you and your patrons - their question, your answer, and any other replies! Tickets can also contain internal notes - for example, a conversation between you and a colleague, or an internal note containing information that might be useful to others answering similar tickets. 

There are a few primary ways that tickets are created:

Each ticket is assigned to a Queue, which is how tickets are organized in LibAnswers. For example, you could have one queue for general reference questions, another for circulation questions, and even another for tech help questions.


Navigating the Dashboard and claiming tickets

When you first log into LibAnswers, you'll be taken to the Dashboard, which gives you quick access to the new and open tickets in your queues. In order for the patron to receive a reply, a staff member must first claim one of these new tickets. If you spot a ticket on the dashboard without an owner, then that means the ticket has not yet been claimed. You can either click on the ticket to claim it right away, or you can choose to preview the ticket first.

Customizing your dashboard

​By default, the Dashboard will display a list of all new and open tickets (regardless of the owner). But let's say you only want to view new tickets or just open tickets that you own -- that way, you don't have to wade through a long list of open tickets just to find the ones that need your attention. One way to do this is by filtering the list of open tickets. However, you can also apply customized dashboard views, which are essentially saved filters that allow you to easily customize the list of tickets on your dashboard. If you find yourself applying the same filters over and over again, then a dashboard view can save you tons of time.

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Viewing a ticket's details and patron history

After you claim a ticket, you'll be taken to its Answer page where you can view more details about the ticket and the patron. This additional info can include responses to custom question form fields and captured user agent info, as well a history of the patron's tickets and chats (based upon the email address and/or SMS number provided). If needed, you can edit the ticket's details before sending your reply. For example, if you spot a typo in the patron's email address, you could fix it to prevent your replies from bouncing.

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Merging or separating tickets

Sometimes you'll receive a new ticket that's really a continuation of an existing ticket's conversation. When that happens, you can merge that new one into the existing ticket to keep the entire conversation together in the same thread. This is especially helpful if another staff member is already working with the patron, as it will allow them to view the latest response and reply accordingly. When merging tickets, the newly submitted ticket will be closed and its details & question will be added to an internal note in the existing ticket.

Other times, you may receive a reply to a closed or open ticket that turns out to be an entirely different question. In that case, you may find it help to separate it from the old ticket and turn it into a new one. When you turn a reply into a new ticket, that reply will be completely removed from the original ticket's thread, it will instead be used as the initial question of the new ticket, with an internal note added to indicate that the ticket is from a reply from another ticket.

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Replying to or transferring a ticket

Sending a reply

Each reply will be sent using the ticket's original source -- so if a ticket was submitted via your Question Form or email, the reply will be sent to the patron's email address; if a ticket was submitted via SMS, the reply will be sent via SMS; and so on. As a result, you may see slightly different options for drafting your reply depending upon the ticket's source (e.g. SMS tickets will only allow plain text replies, but emails will allow you to send rich text replies).

When sending your reply, you will also be able to update the status of the ticket. This is important, as it indicates which patrons have not yet been contacted, which have been sent a reply, which are awaiting a follow-up, and which require no further follow up.

  • Closed: this status indicates that no further interaction is expected for this ticket.
  • Open: this status indicates that your follow-up may be required for this ticket. If a patron replies to you, the ticket will automatically be updated to this status.
  • Pending: this status indicates that you are expecting a follow-up from the patron. Compared to the Closed status, this can help you keep an eye on the ticket, as it will be listed along with your other open tickets.
  • New: this status indicates that the patron has submitted their question and is awaiting a reply. This is the status automatically assigned to incoming tickets.

You will also have the option to add the ticket's question and your reply to a Reference Analytics dataset. You can even turn the question and reply into a public FAQ, that way it can help other users find the answer when searching your public LibAnswers groups.

After sending your reply, it can be helpful to assign one or more tags to your ticket. Tags allow you to categorize certain types of tickets, which can be useful for finding similar tickets in the future and when generating statistics.

Adding internal notes

Internal notes allow you to leave private notes in your ticket thread. This can be helpful if you need to jot down any personal notes, such as reminders, a list of resources you've searched, a shortlist of possible answers you've found, etc. You can also send internal notes to other LibAnswers users, as well, which is a great way to collaborate on tickets. For example, maybe you'd like a second opinion about an anthropology question from your social sciences librarian.

When you add an internal note to a ticket, they are added to the end of your ticket thread -- just like your replies. But unlike replies to patrons, these are completely private. Internal notes will not display in any of their notification emails. When reviewing your ticket's thread, internal notes will be contained inside gray boxes, making them easy to identify.

Transfer a ticket to another user

If a ticket you claimed is better suited to a particular user or queue, you can reassign and/or transfer it accordingly. For example, this can be helpful if a circulation question was submitted to your reference queue, or if a particular research question would best be answered by a subject specialist.

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Managing tickets, spam, errors, and trash

When you're not answering tickets, here are some additional tasks that can help you keep your queue tidy.

Updating ticket statuses & applying bulk actions

From the Dashboard, you'll find shortcuts for each ticket that will allow you to quickly update the ticket's status -- or even delete it. For example, if someone accidentally sent in duplicate questions, you could delete one of them. Or, if someone simply replied to say thanks or that they no longer need help, you could close those tickets without sending a reply. 

Every so often, though, you may need to make the same change to a whole bunch of tickets. For example, you may need to close out a number of open tickets, add a tag to a group of new tickets that came in during your catalog outage, or send the same message out to several patrons who want to know more about a new service you're offering. Rather than going through every ticket one-by-one-by-one, admin account holders (and regular accounts with queue-level admin permissions) can make bulk updates to tickets right from the dashboard!

Separating the spam from the ham

Any time the LibAnswers spam filter rates an incoming email as potential spam, the ticket will be rerouted to the Spam tab of the dashboard. In addition, whenever a user marks a ticket as spam on the dashboard, that ticket will be listed here, as well. Sometimes, though, a legitimate email (aka "ham") may be considered spam by mistake. By regularly checking spam, you will be able to review these tickets and return them to your queue if needed.

Once you've reviewed your tickets, you can delete any tickets that are legit spam. Regularly clearing out your spam can make it easier to identify when new tickets land in your spam queue. (Tickets left in spam for 30 days will automatically be deleted.)

Managing bounced emails

Ticket replies that don't successfully make it to the intended recipient due to an error are listed in the Errors tab. Errors related to tickets list the email address the ticket reply was sent to as well as the error code returned from the receiving email server. Each email server is set up differently and some will provide more information with the error code than others.

Each error will provide a link to the ticket reply, making it easy to update the ticket's email address and resend the reply, if needed.

  • Managing email errors
    Learn how to find and manage email errors that result from bounced emails.
  • Resending a reply
    Learn how you can resend a ticket reply, changing the recipient address if necessary.

Restoring and purging deleted tickets

When a ticket is deleted from your Dashboard or Knowledge Base Explorer, it will be sent to your system's Trash Can for 30 days. If a ticket was accidentally deleted, this allows Admin users to easily restore it to your queue. After that 30-day window, the ticket will be automatically and permanently deleted from the system. However, you can empty your trash can manually at any time.

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