Customer Support Ticketing

Hey folks….

We need a new customer ticketing system and I’m looking for input. I am
still working on a scope document on everything we want to do with the new

The most common problem I run across is that a system is either built for
enterprise internal IT helpdesk or it is built like a CRM sales tracking
system. We are an ISP among other things and are looking for a powerful and
yet reasonable cost system to answer email inquiries, allow customers to
open tickets via portal, mobile support, escalation/SLA support, and several
other things. Solarwinds NPM integration would be a huge bonus but not a
deal breaker. If anyone has a system that they have integrated with Ivue
from NISC (our billing platform) I would be really interested in hearing
more as well.

So my question is meant high level. For those folks that are ISP’s
supporting business customers (including managed customers) along with
residential eyeball traffic what system(s) do you use and what do you

I’ve looked so far at WHD (Solarwinds product), OTRS, RT, RemedyForce,
ZenDesk, HappyFox, Kayako and several others. All of them so far would
require a fair amount of configuration or modifications based on our still
developing wish list. Also worth noting is that we have no full time
development staff so hoping to find something that has a lot of promise and
then work with the vendor to evolve it into what we feel we need.

**This is not an invitation for sales folks to call on me**



Kayako is the way to go. IIRC they have a trial up on their website, may be worth checking out.


Kayako is what we use. We're happy with it.

The advice I will share with you is as follows:-

Take your wish list and divide it into Core Functions (need to have), Functions (want to have) and Functions (nice to have).

Be prepared to compromise, the most troublesome area is going to be the Functions (want to have).. Many of us want to fit new software to existing processes, while forgetting that the existing processes were designed to deal with current systems/limitations. Most of this can be resolved by some other form of external process or procedure change , be it manual or some sort of external reference...

I am not a big fan of software customization, creates challenge with updates & upgrades, ( don't confuse software customization with software integration).

Having said that, for us (we are an entity that is very much similar to what you have described in your email), we have been using Kayako. We found it to be very flexible for handling support tickets, email inquires and also a central repository for Alerts etc.

We are now in the process of implementing a new Customer Billing package, (Freeside), which has RT integration, so we are most likely going to move a few of the mail queues to Freeside/RT, while leaving kayako to handle the other email queues.

My point is, while it is nice to have a 'fully integrated' system, such a system starts to have it's shortcomings from day one... (e.g. if you tie it to your billing system, then what do you do with sales inquires ? you don't want to overload the system with junk.. or even system alert trouble tickets)....

Over the years we have found it more practical to develop some process to tie the info together in billing and ticketing system (we record ticket # in the billing system, as a ref. for related tickets), than try to do some sort of automation / customization.

Of Course your mileage may vary.

Faisal Imtiaz
Snappy Internet & Telecom
7266 SW 48 Street
Miami, FL 33155
Tel: 305 663 5518 x 232

Help-desk: (305)663-5518 Option 2 or Email:

Hi Paul,

I formerly worked at Topdesk I use it at my current employer. It has a nice webbased GUI. It is not a simplistic IT helpdesk type of software (and therefore not ultra cheap). I don't know much about integration options (used to be fairly ok). If you get crazy prices then nag a little longer (and mention competitors). They have all the features you want: Create tickets from email, SLA, change management, escalation, ... I am a real complainer but I am quite happy with it.

Another thing I noticed in the past is ManageEngine. I liked it but know not much about it.

David Hofstee

Deliverability Management
MailPlus B.V. Netherlands (ESP)

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----

Hey paul

We use Netsuite with OpenNms ~ as an ISP i think you will always be stuck
with alot of customization ~ unless you build your own

Good luck


My past two job, I used Kayako. I like it so much I bought a copy for my side project. I feel work flow with kayako is will thought out for tech minded people. Having easy access to staff notes while still able to see the ticket is a big deal for me. Its someway easy to customize allowing you to pull extra info about the customer into the ticket.

At my current day job. We use OTRS and are working to replace it. I think its worthless support system with a painful work flow. with poorly labeled options call Zoom and other stuff.
For our replacement, we are looking at Kana, Parature, eGain and Oracle. Oracle is over price($300K). eGain was cut for some reason. Right now Kana and Parature are the two front runners but im not sold.

When looking at a support system. Get you front end support team involved from the start. In some cases manager dont know the true work flow of there support staff.

Anyway, Go with Kayako. You will love it.

Nick Poulakos

Kayako is pretty reasonable with a few caveats. If you self host it,
which I recommend from a security/supportability/customization
standpoint, then you are also taking the trade off of dealing with
upgrading it yourself, which is not always easy. Make use of their
LoginShare functionality to offload authentication duties since their
internal method is not particularly secure (unsalted SHA1). If you let
it parse emails, with large attachments, you'll have to fine tune its
memory allowance and how many emails it retrieves per attempt as well as
how frequently it grabs them; it can use a lot of memory and it's not
the fastest thing, so you don't want to have it happen to frequently
where the prior job may still be running. The search functionality is
absolutely horrible and has been for at least eight years now; it will
turn up completely irrelevant tickets and rarely turns up the correct
ones. If what you want to search for is in the ticket body rather than
the private ticket notes, you do at least have the option of entering
raw SQL LIKE arguments, so you can search for something like %parameter%
and let MySQL do the work instead of Kayako, assuming your term is
unique enough to find what you needed. If you need a better search of
all fields, you'd have to write your own.

I haven't personally used the Solarwinds product, but if it's like their
others, the license fees will be outrageous, either now or they'll get
you later, and their sales staff will bother you incessently with better
and better short term promotions.


For what it's worth, I've actually heard the Intuit guys that sell Quickbase will build and customize your ticketing system for you. I haven't looked that heavily into other options since I've run a few RT instances I'm most comfortable there but I'm sure you know it doesn't integrate with other applications well unless you're a perl dev

Another +1/like/upvote for Kayako.

Senior Systems Engineer

I saw mention of Quckbase and wanted to chime in…I spent some time consulting inside Intuit a few years ago, and my oh my they sure eat their dog food on QuickBase. It’s crazy flexible - easy learning curve for basic use, and the scripting language allows for some crazy creative tricks to accomplish things you wouldn’t expect. If you wanted to do something really customized, it might do the trick. Otherwise, I suspect you’re rebuilding the wheel.

We (Stratosec) are happily using Zendesk, but I do eye Kayako from time to time...