Some ways to avoid needing a public ticketing system
Suppose that you are in the situation from yesterday's entry, where your support volume is too high to let you use a single support alias that everyone is on but particular support requests are passed from person to person. As it happens, I think that there are still ways to avoid having a public ticketing system as your primary support method.
The problem that a public ticketing system is really solving here is that you need a separate point of contact for each ticket that goes to several people (but not everyone). In a ticketing system, this is your ticket's URL, but there are lots of other ways to create such contact points that are less awkward and user-hostile.
The most obvious one is simply to automatically create mail aliases for
each new ticket (and then route these to whatever internal tracking
system you use). You can then send your email out in such a way that
it directs responses to the ticket's mail alias; the most thorough one
is to give all email about a ticket an appropriate
regardless of who's sending it.
(I think that this is somewhat unfriendly because of its impersonality,
so I suggest sending email as yourself but cc:'ing the ticket alias and
The sophisticated approach is to have a single support alias but have
a smart request routing system sitting behind it. The routing would
usually key off a magic identifier in the
Subject: line, but if your
message didn't have the marker it could do smart things like seeing if
you only had one open issue (hopefully the usual case) and routing
your message to it. If it couldn't route your message at all, well,
that's when people get involved.
(It might be convenient to have a separate email address for 'start a new issue'; for all of the usual reasons I tend to think that this should not be directly wired to the internal ticketing system but go to people.)