How to reduce email overload with JIRA Service Desk


Posted by
Abdulrazaq OMAR

February 21, 2017

A long list of emails, waiting in the inbox, is one of the major killers of productivity. This is an especially dreaded task after a few days – or weeks – out of the office. Many people may be tempted to simply delete their emails in mass and hope for reminders to be sent again for important details, but that’s a drastic measure if you have customers waiting for assistance. How can we reduce noise and organise emails in a customer support environment? Using JIRA Service Desk for this task not only boosts efficiency, but can be a huge sanity saver.

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Reduce emails using JIRA Service Desk

Whenever someone requests assistance, the most common way is to send a ‘quick email’ to the IT department, HR, etc. Usually that ‘quick email’ turns into a long chain of messages, resulting in delays and eventually losing track of what the requester wanted in the first place.

If only we had a better way to structure these requests….

Atlassian’s JIRA Service Desk (JSD) is very efficient and easy to use, making the logging of requests and interacting with users very simple and intuitive. By just following a few steps, you’ll have less emails – and more time for everything else!

Configure JIRA Service Desk to receive your emails

Instead of flooding your inbox with requests – or even worse, a shared email inbox and unleashing chaos there – you can setup JIRA Service Desk to translate requests from emails into JSD tickets. You and your team can then simply interact with the JSD ticket and have a follow-up email be sent to the reporter. It’s very easy to configure, just follow Atlassian’s guide here.

Steer your team away from sending email requests

We need to recognise that the dilemma is not really about emails alone; if you have an email overload problem in your team, then the underlying issue is that you lack clear processes for how users can get help and what channels of communication they should use. Here is where the power of Service Desk truly comes in handy, with request types, groups, and portals. It encourages users to submit requests through a very clear and easy to use customer portal. This allows you to gather all the information you need and avoids the constant emails asking for various information.

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Provide self service tools

The ability for users to find solutions and answers to their questions in a fast and easy way will dramatically reduce not only your communications via email, but also your overall requests as well. We discussed self service in my previous article here.

Reduce notifications from JIRA Service Desk

JIRA can send multiple email notifications for actions that happens within JIRA tickets, but sometimes these emails can be too much to handle – to the point where some users will setup an email filter directing JIRA emails to trash! To avoid being labelled as “spam”, how can we ensure only relevant email notifications are sent to users?

Thankfully JIRA Service Desk allows for customers to opt-in or out of certain notifications, which significantly reduces emails received from JIRA. However team members might receive too many emails which are counterproductive. Take a look at the default notification scheme for a JIRA project:

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That’s a lot of notifications! Everyone gets emailed for all events, some of which they might not be interested in. Here’s how to reduce the noise:

  • Check all events. If an issue is updated, is it necessary for all three parties to get a notification? Examine all these notifications and only keep the important ones. It might be more productive for team members to look directly at JIRA’s queues and dashboards, which can help provide context on what they need to work on next.
  • Use automation to replace email notifications. Here’s a helpful use case: when a customer comments on a ticket, how should you notify your team without sending them an email? You can use automation rules.

Also, with proper labelling and reporting, JIRA Service Desk can help you and your team analyse support trends and take proactive measures to improve your services and products. When you notice certain components requiring more assistance, the answer could be as simple as improving your knowledge base.

The goal is not to eliminate the use of emails entirely, but to reduce them to the absolute minimum. Less is more.