Incident Vs. Service Request: What Is the Difference Between Them?

Incident Vs. Service Request: What Is the Difference Between Them?

IT teams receive lots of tickets from their customers who are facing various issues. Some are about general inquiries, some need assistance, and some can be sorted by the customers themselves if they know how. Many people think that a service request is just a fancy term used for an incident. But actually, there are several differences between them!

Let us explore what incident management is and what service requests are, and most importantly, incident vs. service requests!

What Is an Incident? What Is Incident Management?

An incident can be an error or some event due to which a service is not working properly. The incident is unplanned and it impacts the productivity of employees, departments, or whole organizations. It also impacts the quality of service.

Incident management is done to restore services in the minimum possible time. So that the loss of business does not occur and the productivity of the organization does not suffer. It ensures that quality service is delivered and the customer satisfaction level is maintained.

Incidents can cost a lot to businesses, especially to huge organizations. According to Statista, “The statistic reveals the results of a survey of businesses worldwide regarding the cost of information security incidents they had detected in the 12 months before the survey. As of mid-2017, the average loss caused by an IT security incident stood at 578 U.S. dollars.”

What Is a Service Request?

A service request is regarding the problem the user is facing and it is a formal request from the user to provide the solution or information regarding the issue. For instance, installing a new workstation, helping in the password reset process, etc. The purpose of the service request is to provide quality support to the user in a user-friendly way.

Described Scenarios That Help in Understanding the Difference Between Incident & Service Requests?

Below we have mentioned a few scenarios that help in comparing incident vs. service request:

Scenario #1 - One of the most common examples of an incident is the internet is not working. For this, a user cannot do anything only try to troubleshoot those problems which are system-specific but if it is not system-specific then agents need to take action and their field workers inform what is the issue or how much time will be consumed to resolve issues.

This is an example of an incident. When the user generates a ticket for the same then technicians reply to them informing them about issues. Some other examples that fall under the category of incidents are a down server, slow network.

Scenario #2 - When a user is new and wants to set up a SaaS account, so this type of service will fall under the service request category. This type of scenario has low risk and the agent can take time to resolve the issue.

Scenario #3 - Upgrading to a higher version of the software falls under the category of the service request category.

What Is the Difference Between Incident and Service Requests?

In simple terms, incident vs. service request are discussed below:

  1. The service request is a request raised by the user or client & he needs to provide some information whereas an incident is a more risky or serious matter compared to the service request.
  2. For service requests, the user can also take the assistance of knowledge base and frequently asked questions and it can be solved by the user itself also. However, the incident cannot be solved by the user itself & the user will need the help of an agent.
  3. In service, request agents are not in a pressure situation whereas in incident scenarios agents can feel a lot of pressure.
  4. Service requests are predictable whereas incidents can be unpredictable.
  5. IT can be time-consuming but incidents can be more time-consuming.
  6. Service requests are less critical & risky and incidents are more critical and riskier.


Understanding the difference between an incident and a service request is important to save time and resolve risky scenarios more quickly. When you know the difference between these two terms then only you can do better. Categorization of the ticket can help you identify the nature of the ticket. The technicians are in a better position to take further actions quickly.

To avoid confusion between incident vs. service requests, you can use Incident Management software. With automated incident management, you can get great insight into ticket resolving time. Furthermore, the priority of the ticket is decided in an automated way. When a technician forgets to take action on a ticket then the system notifies about the ticket.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the benefits of Incident management software?

The benefits of Incident management software are given below:

1. Ticket tracking

2. Higher productivity

3. Detailed reports

4. Better decision making

5. Quality service assurance

Why are major incidents more harmful?

An Incident can impact the quality of service; a major incident can cause huge problems. It can affect the reputation of the organization, data security, regulatory compliance, and so on. Regular incidents can be solved quickly but major incidents are time-consuming and technicians are under tremendous pressure to solve incidents as soon as possible.

What is service request fulfillment?

Request fulfillment is the method of addressing a customer's request for service and is related to handling all service requests for the entire lifecycle of each service request.

The IT team is committed to answering and meeting requests while providing quality support service to customers at every level. Request fulfillment is about getting workers access to IT services as it makes them more efficient.

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