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Newsletter 35: Breaking the support by email habit with the Web+Center Help Desk.


Email is still probably the “killer app” for the Internet and the world is certainly a different place because of this method of world-wide instant communications. It is certainly tempting for support organizations to offer emailing as a method of support and most organizations do offer some support options via email. Although this works well for small organizations with a single person, support by email quickly creates problems for a trouble ticket system including:

  • Syncing new emails about an existing case/issue can be difficult.
  • Support emails are a “blank palette”, and the support organization can not force or require users to answer specific questions such as their location, call back numbers, operating system or software environments, severity of problem and so on.
  • Sharing of support emails among other technicians and assignment and dispatching is difficult, especially as the size of the support organization grows.
  • Valuable problem solving information is now stored in various support personell users email accounts with limited options to search and find existing support issues and solutions.
  • Difficult to track and create performance matrix reports showing issues solved by tech by date or cases solved by group, or cases open, closed, pending, etc
  • It is difficult to accurately define a case as closed, opening, pending, or waiting with an email support options
  • Support Emails (customer or techs version) are often deleted eventually and all of the important knowledge accumulated through the customer – tech exchange is lost when those emails are deleted.
  • Users often configure their system to get and save emails on certain machines (at home or work) so getting and reviewing and updating support emails is difficult. On the other hand, a web-based approach allows users to create, update and get notifications on any networked computer that has a browser.

For a few years we have looked at various approaches to creating a Web+Center trouble ticket from an incoming email message but have made a design decision not to implement it. Although email trouble ticket creation is desirable in some ways, it creates a host of issues as outlined above that surpasses the benefits of implementing an email to case ticket option.

A simple problem exists that requires users to change their habits from sending off an email for support to instead clicking on a web-based support link. It’s that simple but often that email to web approach is a difficult habit to change.

For those support organizations that still want to offer email support for their customers or staff members, an alternative exists that solves this simple problem of always using email to create a trouble ticket.
Step 1: Create a support email account like
Step 2: Add an AUTO-REPLY email message that provides a message along the following lines:
Thank you for contacting our support operations.
Please click on the web-link below to:

      (1) Register and create a trouble ticket
      (2) Update an existing ticket
      (3) Review Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
      (4) Search knowledge base for existing known issues and solutions.

Click to
(NOTE: Replace the web-link above with your own
Your Web+Center – Customer+Center support portal address)
Please bookmark this link for future support options.


Most of today’s email clients are HTML compatible and highly integrated with a web-browser or many users are already on the web getting their mail with web-based email client applications. Most users will click on that link quickly and easily and they often forget whether they are inside of a email application or a web-based application. That auto-reply email could be HTML based to make the transition even more transparent.

Once a user creates a trouble ticket with the Web+Center application, they will receive a confirming email with a link that allows them to directly log back into the application to update it or review updates from the support staff. Updating their trouble ticket is seamless but still web-based. All of the problems that would stem from a pure email-based support approach are eliminated by the combination of a simple auto-reply email and the Web+Center web-based support system.