One of the best ways to increase agent efficiency and simplify support tasks is to automate your ticket workflow with Zendesk tools.
Zendesk enables you to develop multiple automated workflows based on your business goals. To automate ticket workflow, you can:
- Use standardized field types such as drop-down menus, checkboxes, and date fields instead of text fields to control value entry and make entry more dynamic in your workflow.
- Define SLA policies to help you keep tickets moving and meet customer expectations.
- Use triggers and automation on standardized fields to simplify routing and free agents from tedious, repetitive tasks.
- Use views to monitor progress and measure results.
- Leverage macros to provide consistent responses and keep proxy overhead to a minimum.
This article consists of the following sections:
- Automation Planning and Considerations
- Workflow Automation Options
- Step 1: Start the process
- Step 2: Execute automation
- Step 3: Monitor and keep things on track
- Recipes for Automating Ticket Workflows
Automation Planning and Considerations
Before you automate your ticket workflow, put together a list of key goals you want to achieve through automation. Before setting anything up in Zendesk, let's draw our desired result. E.g:
- Do you have a service level agreement that must be met?
- Do you want to manage workflow by channel (email, chat, phone)?
- Does your workflow vary by business hours or location?
- Do you want to manage and measure the time each agent takes to process a ticket?
- Do you want to track common issues and prepare consistent automated responses, or monitor issues for potential escalation?
Automation Planning and Considerations
Workflow Automation Options Consider these options to help you automate your ticket workflow. These options come together like cogs in a machine to come full circle. Some options start the process (e.g. ticket fields, tags or SLAs), some perform the automation part (triggers and automations), while others (views and macros) enable agents to see what is happening and keep the work in progress.
- Use custom ticket fields
- Using Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Use ticket tags
- use trigger
- use automation
- use view
- use macros
Step 1: Initiate the process in this step
Consider which automation options to use to initiate workflow automation. This might include data provided by customers in custom ticket fields or Service Level Agreement (SLA) policies that your company wants to support.
Use custom ticket fields
Add custom ticket fields to your tickets to pinpoint critical issues, or provide important information to your workflow. Custom ticket fields are often used to gather more information about support issues or products or services. You can add custom fields to your support tickets, and if you want end users to see custom fields, you can also add them to your help center submission form.
For example, you can add a language field so tickets can be automatically routed to agents in that language. Alternatively, you can add custom fields for order numbers, refund requests, or product types so that tickets can be automatically routed to the agent best able to manage these issues. For more information, see Adding Custom Fields to Your Ticket or Support Request Form.
Using Service Level Agreement (SLA) Policies
You can define SLA policies to help you manage automated workflows for tickets. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is like a contract between you and your customer where you commit to responding and resolving trouble tickets within a certain amount of time. Also, even if you don't have an SLA contract with a customer, you can still use an SLA to help achieve your company's internal goals.
For example, you can set an SLA policy that enforces the time it takes to reply to tickets from high-priority customers, or an SLA policy that enforces a network outage window of up to one hour.
Use ticket tags
Tags are words or combinations of words that you can use to add more context to tickets. Adding tags to your tickets gives you more flexibility to track, manage and interact with your tickets. You can use triggers and automation to add or remove tags. Ticket tags are also useful for running ticket searches and setting up ticket views.
Step 2: Perform automation In this step
Consider which automation options to use for workflow automation. This can include event-based activities (called triggers) or time-based activities (called automations).
Triggers are event-based business rules that you define to run as soon as a ticket is created or updated. At the heart of triggers are causal statements. Actions are performed if a ticket satisfies a set of conditions. You can create an unlimited number of triggers according to your ticket workflow needs.
For example, you might have a trigger that automatically replies to customers when they create a new ticket, or you might have a trigger that automatically assigns high priority to tickets from VIP customers.
Triggers are event-based business rules that can fire every time a ticket is created or updated, while automations are time-based business rules that perform actions in your account based on the elapsed time. Like triggers, automations are causal statements. Actions are performed if a ticket satisfies a set of conditions. For example, automation can elevate the priority and notify a manager if a ticket is not answered in a timely manner, or automation can find "abandoned" tickets that haven't been updated within a certain number of days.
Step 3: Monitor and keep things going during this step
Consider which automation options to use to monitor workflow progress and keep work on track. This can include views into ticket status and macros to help agents provide standard, consistent ticket updates.
Use shared views to monitor ticket workflow and increase agent productivity. Views dynamically organize tickets based on specific criteria that you define. Using views can help you identify which tickets require your or your team's attention and plan accordingly. Admins can create views to share among agents, and agents can create their own personal views.
For example, by default Zendesk provides each agent with a view of their open tickets. You can also create views based on ticket priority, product type, customer name, or time elapsed since the ticket was updated.
Embed macros in tickets to help agents save time, automatically fill in ticket fields, and provide consistent responses. A macro is a set of predefined actions that an agent can apply to a ticket with just one click. Create macros for support requests that can be answered with a single standard response. This saves your agents time and effort crafting an individual response for each customer experiencing the same issue.