Forums/Community/Support tips & notes

Use Automations to Send Alerts When a Ticket Needs a Reply

Matthew Latkiewicz
posted this on April 22, 2010 09:53

The keys to outstanding customer support are simple to understand, but as anyone who's handled customer issues can tell you, they can be difficult to execute.

Answering one customer email in a timely and thorough manner might be easy; but replying to five, 10, 20 emails in an hour? For that, it helps to have tools and a strategy.

For instance, let's say you've made the commitment to reply to each support ticket within one day. Wouldn't it be great if you could be notified when one of your tickets had gone unassigned for 24 hours? Yes!

Enter Zendesk Automations. Automations are actions that you set up to take place within your help desk when specific time intervals have passed. So, in our case, we want Zendesk to email us when a new ticket hasn't been assigned to anybody within 24 hours of its creation.

To set this up, go into Automations under your Manage tab. There you'll see existing automations (investigate them by clicking edit); to add a new one, click Add Automation. This is where you define the condition that will prompt the automation. In our case, it's when a new ticket goes without reply for over 24 hours. The configuration looks like this:

Automation-Conditions

Note that you can preview the results of your automation and see if any of your current tickets meet its rules.

Next, we'll define what we want to happen when a ticket meets the conditions. In this case, send an email notifying us that a ticket needs to be addressed. The condition might look something like this:

Automation Actions

Note that in order for your automation to work, one of the actions must nullify one of the conditions (above, we changed the status of the ticket from New to Open). This is so your automation doesn't keep firing in a constant loop. Also, you can string multiple actions together, such as send out a notification and escalate the ticket to a different support group or send a notification back to the customer letting them know that you haven't forgotten them.

If time is a factor in your support strategy, you'll definitely want to explore Automations.

Update (4/19/10): I updated the automation example to correct the setup as explained above: in an automation one of your actions must nullify one of the conditions that causes the automation to fire.

 

Comments

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Pierre Chevalier

I use thos automations exactly for that, to send reminders to agents and customers. But my problem is that when an automation is done on one ticket, it changes its modification date. And thus in my Views that are sorted by modification date, they show on top even if they haven't been updated my an agent or a customer since a while.

Any chance that these automations don't change  the modification date? Because in fact they don't even really modify the ticket.

Thanks!

November 22, 2012 04:35
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Justin Seymour
Zendesk

Hey Pierre: 

While the automation isn't directly acting on the ticket, or modifying it, it is performing an action on behalf of that specific ticket. As such, we log that as a ticket event. Unfortunately, there's no way around it! 

November 24, 2012 11:01
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Pierre Chevalier

Thank you Justin. I perfectly understand that, but any way we could have a "Latest update by requester or Assignee" or something like  "Latest human update" ;-)) in the "order by" choice? Now I can only choose the generic update (which includes the automation updates), OR the udpate by Assignee, or the update by requester. None of this suits our use unfortunately. Thanks!!

November 26, 2012 01:39
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Justin Seymour
Zendesk

I see how this would be helpful! You can modify the view to display things like: 

  • Latest update by requester
  • Latest update by assignee
  • Latest updater type
  • Latest update 
November 26, 2012 07:04
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Pierre Chevalier

Indeed, we have in our view the "updater type", but this can only show "Agent" or "Requester". It does not show anything else. This is a basic "table" view which shows:

  • Requester
  • Subject
  • Application (our application as we are software developers)
  • Latest update
  • Latest updater type
All that sorted by "Latest update", so the tickets that hasn't been replied since a while are at the bottom, so we know when an agent or requester has updated.

When an automation occurs on a ticket to send an email warning that some ticket may need attention, in the above view, this ticket will go on top and will not show any difference in the update type, so one can think that for example an Agent has updated the ticket recently.

But I just found one feature request about that, and will add my +1, I hope that you guys will implement it soon.
November 26, 2012 07:20
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Justin Seymour
Zendesk

Thanks for the continued feedback! Please do add your comments to the feature request -- any traction helps. 

November 26, 2012 07:33