This DIY Ticketing System Will Make You a Helpdesk Hero in Minutes

Ticket tracking is one of the most important factors in running a strong helpdesk, but small or one-person IT teams don’t have the luxury of a robust ticketing system—they’re over-complicated, and often too pricey for small scale use. What’s the next best solution? Try this guide to build your own ticketing system, with Google Forms and Trello!

Lately, we’ve shared a series of posts suggesting easy ways to streamline your workflow with integration tools like Zapier. Here, we’re combining Google Forms and Trello to create your own ticketing system, allowing individuals to easily submit tickets or requests, and creating a central place to view the progress of ticket resolution.

Google Forms and Trello are both free to use, and easy to master, and by linking them with Zapier, you’ll be able to do two things with this ticketing system.

  • Give your team a robust portal for ticket submission
  • Visualize your helpdesk workflow from submission to completion of each ticket

Creating a Ticketing System with Google Forms and Trello

Step 1: Form Setup

Even without this guide, Google Forms is a great tool for polling a group for feedback. It collects all your responses in one place (which is key for this guide to work), and it’s highly customizable with features like:

  • Choose color themes and backgrounds
  • Name your Form
  • Set the destination of your responses

The most important step however, is to choose “Create New Spreadsheet” as your response destination. This creates a unique Google Sheet, which automatically collects new responses, every time the Form is filled out and submitted. The Sheet will name each column after the questions you add to your Form, as well as a timestamp for each submission.

Step 2: Ask Valuable Questions

In a previous guide, Supercharge Your Helpdesk (and More) with This Google Forms Trick, you’ll find some great tips on creating valuable questions, using features such as

  • Required Questions
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Checkboxes
  • Paragraph Fields
  • “Go to Section” Responses

If you’re new to Forms, I highly encourage you to take a minute to read through the benefits of different question types before finishing up your Form.

Step 3: Create a Trello Board

After creating a free account with Trello, follow the steps below to create a Board where all your tickets will wind up, in the form of Trello Cards.

  1. In the upper right hand corner, click the “+” beside your profile picture, choose “Create New Board”.
  2. Name the Board appropriately. You can also explore settings to modify who can view or edit the content on that Board.
  3. In your new Board, you’ll see the option to “Add a list.” Here, you should add a List representing each step of the ticket resolution process. Here, we created a simple 4-step Board, creating three lists in this order:
    1. New Tickets
    2. In Progress
    3. Complete
  4. At the top of your “New Tickets” list, click the options symbol, and choose “Subscribe”. By subscribing to the list, you’ll receive an email notification every time a new Card is added.

    to the List (in other words, every time a new ticket is submitted through the form). When finished, your Board should look something like this:

Trello Board Sample Helpdesk

Once you’re done, you can move on to configuring the Zap with Zapier, but as you become familiar with Trello and Zapier you may choose to explore other features, adding more Lists, users and checklists to the your Trello Board.

Step 4: Integrating your Form with your new Trello Board

Our integration tool of choice is Zapier, but you can reference this post to find a tool that appeals to you. In Zapier, the next steps are easy:

Select a Trigger

  1. Choose “Make a Zap”.
  2. When asked to choose a trigger app, select Google Sheets.
  3. When asked to select a trigger, select “New Spreadsheet Row”.
  4. When asked to select a Google Sheets Account, select the account which owns your Google Form Responses Sheet (and authorize Zapier to connect that account, if necessary).
  5. When asked to Set Up Google Sheets Spreadsheet Row, you’ll be asked to select the Sheet you’re connecting (your Form Responses Sheet), and the Worksheet (which should be “Form Responses 1, if you haven’t modified anything).
  6. Once Zapier automatically tests your trigger, it will prompt you to connect your “Action App”—in this case, that will be Trello.
  7.  

    Select an Action

  8. Once you’ve selected Trello from the available apps, you’ll be asked to choose your action. Choose “Create Card”.
  9. When asked to select a Trello account, select the account with the new Board you just created, which you’re setting up to receive tickets (and authorize Zapier to connect that account, if necessary).
  10.  

    Populate the Card

  11. Once you’ve confirmed your Trello account, you’ll be asked how you’d like to populate Cards using the Google Form responses. There are a ton of options on this page, but these are the most critical ones:
    • Board: Select your new Board’s name
    • List: Select “New Tickets”
    • Name: This will be the title of each new Card. In this example, we’re choosing Cards to be titled with the name submitted in the Google Form, but you can also choose Cards to be titled with other details from the Form, like the timestamp.
    • Description: Select “Content”. By selecting content, you’re telling Zapier to take all of the specific Form responses from a single submission, and paste them in as text in the description of the corresponding Trello Card. Once you’re more familiar with your process, this can be narrowed down to a specific field in your Form.
  12. When you’re happy with how the Cards are set up, you can click “Continue”, and Zapier will show a preview of how a Form response will appear when it gets transformed into a Trello Card, and then ask if you’d like to send a test Card to the Trello immediately, to see how it works.
  13. Zapier will then ask you if you’d like to add another step to your zap (you can chain multiple actions together to create complex workflows, but that’s better saved for another post). Once you’re done fine tuning, you can click “Finish” and the Zap will be active and functioning!

Here’s how our sample Form translates into a Trello Card:

Trello Card Sample Helpdesk

Step 5: Distribute Your Form

If this is going to be the main channel to field help requests, make sure everyone who will need to fill out the Form has easy access to it, either by bookmarking a link to it, or by embedding the Form on a company page that can be reached by your team (but not available to the public).

From the Form editor page, you can click the “Send” button in the upper right hand corner. From this menu, you can choose to either copy a link to the Form, or copy HTML code for embedding it on a page of your own.

Send Form Sample Helpdesk

Before sending the Form out, be sure to take it for a spin yourself, and ask yourself if it’s intuitive enough for your team.

So what’s the final result?

A team of delighted users, getting their tickets solved in a more orderly manner, and an in-sync IT team that can visualize tasks from the moment they come in, to the moment they’re finished.

Both Forms and Trello have tons more depth worth exploring, so I encourage you to take this basic system and make it your own! Zapier is also compatible with dozens of apps being used by your other teammates too—Hubspot, Base CRM, Slack, Gmail, to name a few.

As you use Zapier to “hack” more D.I.Y. tools and shortcuts, the value you can bring to work will skyrocket. We’d love to take a look at your team’s day-to-day and help you find ways streamline the little things. Give us a call.

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About

Garrett Wenger is a storyteller and marketer at Newmind Group, and a native to Kalamazoo, MI. He received his BFA in English Literature from Western Michigan University, and has heritage in Southwest Michigan’s creative writing community. He published his first book of poetry in late 2013, and he has been featured in numerous literary journals.