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Category Direction - Service Desk

Service Desk

Stage Plan
Maturity Viable
Content Last Reviewed 2020-10-20



Great products need to offer a great support experience. The GitLab Service Desk aims to be the primary medium which connects customers to product support staff.

Service desk allows your organization the opportunity to provide an email address to your customers. These customers can send issues, feature requests, comments, and suggestions via email, with no external tools needed. These emails become issues right inside GitLab, potentially even in the same project where you are developing your product or service, pulling your customers directly into your DevOps process.


In an effort to clearly define a concrete and inspirational intent, it is important to answer this single question – "If Service Desk can be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?" This is the intent of the Service Desk:

To provide a conduit through which customers and support staff can effectively collaborate using familiar process flows to achieve prompt problem resolution.

At GitLab, we don't really have a concept of done, but instead believe we should continue to iterate toward a more mature product as defined by our maturity framework. To better clarify our strategy, we must first understand what it will mean to have achieved Lovable Maturity. This is how we will know:

It is important to clearly define the desired user experience for a feature like the Service Desk. Not only do we desire to make providing support and issue resolution fluid and collaborative, but this feature can be exposed to the end-user. Ensuring that end-users receive exceptionally high quality communication is imperative to both us and our customers.

Intuitive: When users find issue or need support, communication should be as simple as possible – ideally utilizing existing collaboration mechanisms. Currently, we support email integration in an effort to make requests as simple as sending an email. We're also exploring ways to integrate other communication channels such as Slack, to provide additional ways of reaching out to support teams. Since the Service Desk creates issues, the entire host of issue tracking and management tools can be utilized.

Collaborative: Sometimes it takes a team to resolve an end-user's problem. We're attempting to break down the silo surrounding help-desk requests and bring those issues into the existing issue tracking paradigm. Support Engineers can easily tag software developers, security analysts, or any other team members who can all share a single issue and therefore a single source of truth.

Efficient: Support is requested when features are missing or problems arise. This can be a stressful time, so it's important to ensure fast and accurate support interactions. Notes, comments, and any other internal / customer interactions should be easily available for all necessary parties. We are also looking for ways to provide support metrics, to track time to resolution as well as repeat issues.

Intelligent: We are looking to leverage autonomation to decrease human intervention and improve the accuracy of support interactions. We want to strive for a few manual steps as possible for categorization, triage, and other administrative tasks to allow the support team to spend more time providing valuable customer interactions and resolving issues. Moreover, we want to automate the routing of support tickets to the right team when they are created.

Top Strategy Item(s)

Earlier this year, we made the decision to move Service Desk to our Core product. This has been completed, allowing users of all tiers to enjoy the benefits of Service Desk.

One of our one year goals is to improve communication flow between the end-user and the support team. To accomplish this, we are undertaking the following:

Another goal is to make the Service Desk an integral part of the GitLab support workflow.

We also intend to make use of on-call schedule management which is being built by the Monitor:Health group. Once completed, that feature set will allow managers to put support teams on-call and to automate the routing of support tickets to the right team member.

Target Audience

The target audience for the Service Desk is as follows:

What's next & why

Over the next few releases, we will be focusing on the following issues & epics:

The Certify group level issue board provides insight into everything currently in flight.

What is Not Planned in Next Six Months

Given the amount of amazing ideas we receive, it's not always possible to implement everything in the near future. This section shows ideas that we haven't forgotten about, but simply cannot schedule in the near term.

Maturity Plan

This category is currently at the viable level, and our next maturity target is complete by 2021-04-30.

We are tracking progress against this target via this epic.

We are also tracking our progress toward lovable via this epic.

User success metrics

We are currently using the loose Stage Monthly Active Users (SMAU) definition and intend on migrating to the strict definition as soon as we've implemented the necessary telemetry to measure the defined events.

We are also hoping to collect AMAU statistics for the following actions once the necessary product analytics data is available.

Why is this important?

Traditionally, product managers and developers work out of separate tools from the support staff. This severely limits the amount of customer feedback visible to the product managers and developers and leaves the support staff struggling to effectively collaborate with technical and product resources. By bringing customer support into the DevOps Platform, we are enabling customer feedback to flow directly into bugs, feature requests, and regression reports. We are also making product and technical support easily available to support staff, decreasing time to resolution for support issues!

Competitive landscape

Zendesk and Freshdesk are popular tools to do customer support management, and we can learn from these tools used by many organizations. Jira Service Desk leverages the existing Jira issue tracker to get customer tickets into Jira.

GitLab Service Desk takes inspiration from Jira Service Desk to also get customer tickets into GitLab. In GitLab, the benefits are even more pronounced since a single customer ticket is turned into a GitLab issue which can be incorporated into both broader portfolio management features of GitLab, and also downstream with product-development team sprints.

Analyst landscape

We are working to engage more closely with analysts in this area. As this product category is prioritized for improvements as our Plan product and engineering headcount grows, we expect to engage more with analysts.

Top user issue(s)

Issue 👍
Service Desk should add CC'ed users to the issue 17
Configuratble email address for service desk 15
Asdd issue participants via email address 13
Customer Database for Service Desk 12

Top dogfooding issues

Slack Integration for Service Desk
Imporove Markdown support within Service Desk
Initiate an issue from Service Desk to include the customer
Allow threaded responses for Service Desk
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