The ultimate Support Tagging Taxonomy Guide

Every support ticket leaves a trail of insight. Whilst most support teams tag tickets to track contact reasons and customer issues, very few have a solid taxonomy which leads to inaccurate reporting.

This guide will help you build a rock-solid tag taxonomy so you can get deeper and more actionable customer insights than ever before.

In this guide you'll find:

The Guide

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Why you need a strong tag taxonomy

Whether you are tagging your customer feedback manually or use an automated tagging tool, you will need to build a robust tag taxonomy to act as an overarching framework and help you organize and understand your tagged data.

Tagging without a tag taxonomy will have you end up with a long list of overlapping and redundant tags that are hard to apply, difficult to synthesize and draw insight from consistently. 

A bit of upfront planning can go a long way in ensuring that your tagging efforts pay off in the form of more accurate reporting that you can rely on when making decisions around your customer experience.

Strong taxonomy

Weak Taxonomy

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A brief introduction to taxonomies

Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization based on discrete sets and finds its roots in the Greek language τάξις, taxis (meaning ‘order’, ‘arrangement’) and νόμος, nomos (‘law’ or ‘science’). In general, it refers to a categorization of things or concepts such as species of animals, food groups and plants.

In this guide, we are going to talk specifically about building a tag taxonomy to help you break down and organize customer feedback into logical concepts to help people in your organization understand what matters to your customers the most.

There are two popular types of tag taxonomies used for feedback analysis – flat and hierarchical

Option one

Flat Taxonomy

flat taxonomy, also known as an unlayered taxonomy, is simply a list of items. A flat taxonomy has only high-level categories.

Tools such as Intercom and Survicate allow users to build flat tag taxonomies by applying one or more labels to a piece of feedback (message, survey, etc.).



Option Two

Hierachical Taxonomy

A hierarchical taxonomy allows a hierarchical arrangement of tags. Individual tags within the hierarchy are arranged in order of abstraction. Moving up the hierarchy means expanding the tag or concept. Moving down the hierarchy means refining the tag or concept.



Your choice

Which tag taxonomy is right for my company?

Your choice of tag taxonomy will mainly come down to your support ticket volume.

  • If your volume is low (hundreds of tickets per month), you might be better off sticking to a flat taxonomy and keeping your tag list short;
  • If your volume is high (thousands of tickets per month), then your best bet is to go with a hierarchical tag taxonomy and expand your list of tags for more detailed reporting.

How to build your own tag taxonomy

Now that we got the theory out of the way, let's dive in and start building your taxonomy.

Free Tag Taxonomy Template

Download our free tag taxonomy template

We have created a free tag taxonomy template for you to plan and build your new taxonomy.


Define the high level tag categories

When building a tag taxonomy, it’s best to start by mapping out the high-level categories first. For your first level tags, think about the broad areas your customer feedback tends to fall into.

If your data volume is low and you are only limited to a flat single-level tag taxonomy by your tool, I would recommend sticking with only the top-level tags. 

On the other hand, if you have a high volume, read on to learn how to build the second and third tier of your hierarchical tag taxonomy.

eCommerce example:

SaaS example:


Define specific tags for each category

Now that we have defined our first level of the tag hierarchy, the next step is to break down each first level tag into more specific tags.

Taking the SaaS example again, a typical breakdown might look like an example on the right.


Break down your tags for more granular insight

The first two tagging levels will already provide you with a lot of detail about the various topics discussed in your customer feedback. However, to get even more in-depth insights, you can then break-down each second level tag into more specific third level tags.

Continuing from the previous SaaS company example, here is an illustration of how the third level tag breakdown might look like.


Decide between manual and automated tagging

In the early stages, when the customer feedback volume is relatively low, it can be relatively straightforward to manually tag incoming customer feedback based on a tight flat tag taxonomy.

However, as you scale, add more customer support agents and expand teams that need to learn from and act based on customer insights, the manual tagging process often breaks down. That’s when you might want to consider investing in an automated ticket tagging tool like Prodsight.

Manual Tagging

Automated tagging

These brands have already automated ticket tagging

"Prodsight increased our understanding of customer pain points through analysis of support data without any manual effort from our busy support team. Our product team can easily see what the main pain points for customers are and we can make recommendations for changes quickly with minimal effort."
Gemma Johnson
Head of Customer Success
"Prodsight automatically analyzes and tags feedback from different channels and centralizes it into one place. This is very helpful for sharing insights with my product team, making improvements, and keeping our finger on the pulse with our customers. It has saved so much time compared to doing it manually."
Daniella Latham
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Prodsight reviews

It's time to put tagging on auto-pilot