Forums/Documentation/Getting Started Guide (Zendesk Classic)

Lesson 4: Organizing your support tickets with Views (Classic)

Matthew Latkiewicz
posted this on April 19, 2011 16:47

This lesson is for Zendesk Classic. If you are using the new version of Zendesk, see Working with views.

Once support requests start coming into your system, you need to organize them into groups that make working with them easier. If you had one support request a day, organization is not that important; but once you start getting tens or hundreds a day, you need to be able to view them in groupings which are meaningful to your business and your support team. Otherwise, you risk becoming overwhelmed with a lot of tickets and unable to decide which ones require your attention. Just think if you never filed anything away in your life and you just put everything in one big pile. You’d lose control of what was in it pretty quick.

In this lesson, we’re going to look at Zendesk Views. Views are customizable inboxesfor your support requests or tickets. To see your current views, click on the Views menu in the upper right of the menu bar.

Views organize your tickets into groupings which should help you stay on top of them. Perhaps you want to know which tickets need your attention; or to be reminded of tickets which haven’t been addressed in a while; or see all the high priority tickets in your system. Views let you see your tickets in these and many more ways.

While Zendesk provides you with some default views, it’s important that you set up your own views which will help your support team focus on the tickets they need to address when they need to address them.

We’ll be changing one of Zendesk’s default views to highlight which of our unsolved tickets are open (require our attention) and which are pending (waiting for more information from the customer). You’ll recall from lesson one that Open and Pending are different ticket Statuses. This will help us focus in on which support issues we should be working on at the moment.

We’ll also deactivate some of the default views we aren’t using at the moment.

What’s Open and What’s Pending?

Before we actually change any of the views, let’s check our main view -- My Unsolved Tickets. Click the View tab in the upper right of the top menu.

If you haven’t already, you should see a ticket in there from Kelly H. titled “Welcome to Zendesk, You’ve Got a Ticket!” Kelly is a real-life Zendesk support agent. Click into the ticket and read what it says.

She submitted this by sending an email to your default Zendesk support address (support@youraccount.zendesk.com). Because it will actually be helpful to what we are doing in this lesson, we are going to follow her directions: reply to the ticket and set it to pending.

Recalling what we did in the first lesson:

  1. Reply to Kelly as she suggests: How am I doing?
  2. Change the status to pending
  3. Update the ticket

TIP: If you want to check what happened when you hit submit, remember that you can always see the ticket log by clicking the All Events and Notifications link.

Now we are back in our view. Depending on how much testing you’ve been doing on your own, you might only see the one pending ticket. Let’s add another one for testing purposes -- since we are setting up our view to show us which tickets are pending and which are open, it would be better if we had an open ticket in there. It’s a good practice to create test tickets as you work with your Zendesk. Every time you add something new or want to change something, you can use your test tickets to make sure it works as you expect. Better to test on yourself than on your customers.

To create a new ticket click the New button in the top right of the menu bar. This brings you to a new ticket form. While many tickets come in to your Zendesk via email, you might use the New Ticket button to create a ticket in response to a phone call, for example. The new ticket form looks like the tickets we’ve been working with, except nothing has been filled in yet.

Let’s say your boss has called you with an urgent request from a VIP customer. To keep track of that request, you create a new support ticket. Fill it out with the customer’s information and the request.

Because we have not communicated with this customer through Zendesk before, we need to add them to the system first. Click the add new user link under the Requester text field.

NOTE: Zendesk requires an email for all customer tickets. This is why a customer account is automatically created when they email a question in; but why you need to add their email manually when filling out a new ticket. Put in the user’s name and phone number if you have it.

Click create and then fill out the rest of the ticket with an urgent request. So even though you are the one filling out the ticket, you can ascribe it to the user. They will receive any further communication just like a normal ticket; and you will be able to reference this issue later when looking at their user account.

Change the Type to Problem and the Priority to High. Your form should look something like this:

Note that the customer data you just added is on display in the right column.

Click the submit button to create the ticket.

List vs. Table Layout

Now we have at least two tickets in our Unsolved Ticket view: the one from Kelly and the one we just created. They are currently displayed in List layout, which shows the subject of both tickets as well as the most recent comment. There is also a small label indicating whether the ticket is open -- and thus requires attention -- or whether it is pending -- meaning that you are waiting on further information.

List layout is good for seeing the most recent activity on tickets, but we want to focus more on which of our unsolved tickets are pending and which are open. To do that, it is best to view the tickets in Table layout. It’s best practice to create a list that separates all the tickets that currently require your attention from the tickets that don’t. This will make your support agents and you much more focused and effective, especially if you are dealing with a large volume of tickets.

To modify the layout, click the Table link in the upper right of the main column.

Nice! The Table View separates the tickets into two distinct areas, those that are open and those that are pending. So now when we look at our unsolved tickets, we can quickly see which ones require our attention.

Note that by selecting Table view, we’re not establishing a permanent change in how we view these tickets. Next time you go back to the Home Tab and then come back to view your tickets, they will be back in the List layout as it was when we started. So we’ll edit our Unsolved Tickets view so that it always shows our tickets in table layout, and grouping our open and pending tickets.

Editing a View

To change how a view looks (as well as which tickets it shows you), click the edit link in the top right bar (in the same place as the Table link you clicked earlier). Go to your Views > My Unsolved Tickets if you aren’t there already and click that green edit link.

It looks similar to the Triggers screen we looked at in lesson one. Basically, the top section defines what kind of tickets you want to show up in the view (i.e. this could be tickets assigned to you, high priority tickets, tickets that haven’t been responded to in over a month, etc.); while the bottom section sets how the page is organized.

Under Formatting options, you’ll see that you can switch the view from List to Table. Choose Table; this will make Table the default layout of your My Unsolved Tickets View.

This opens up another set of options. While there are a lot of choices, it’s basically a list of ticket data which you can select to include in this view. On the right are items of data you will see for each ticket; and on the left are all the other options you can include. To move items between lists, you just drag and drop the items you want.

For right now, we just need some really basic data, most of which is already there. We want to see:

  1. who sent in the ticket - called the Requester in the table
  2. what the subject line is - called Subject
  3. when it came in - Request date

We don’t really need score at this moment, so drag and drop it from the right column into the left. (Score shows you how important a ticket is in relationship to other tickets; helpful, but right now let’s focus on the basics.) Leave everything else the same for now.

So we now have the types of data we want to see about our tickets. What about grouping them by their status like we set out to do (open or pending)?

You configure this in the Group By section underneath the columns. The drop down should be set to Status already, but if it’s not, open up the drop-down and choose it. You’ll see that there are many options for grouping your tickets in a particular view. This gives you a second level of organization within your views. For instance, you may want to see all your high priority tickets in one View, but then group them by which agent they are assigned to; or perhaps, what date they came in. In our case, we want to see which of our unsolved tickets are open and which are pending.

The next section -- Order By -- reads Score. We removed score from our columns up above, so change that to Request Date. That will mean that within your groupings -- open or pending -- they will be in order of the date they came in, similar to how your email program works probably.

Click the update view. Now any time you look at your Unsolved Tickets, you’ll see them in the table layout, grouped by their status.

Removing Unused Views

Let’s continue setting this up so your agents and you can better focus on what’s important in your help desk right now. Even though you want to view your tickets into meaningful chunks or views (i.e. which tickets are open right now), you don’t want more views than necessary. It’s like going through the closet and saying: “Do I really wear this?” If not, get rid of it.

To that end, we’ll reduce the number of views you see when you click Views tab in the menu bar (see below).

Zendesk’s default views are based on customer service best practices. But when you’re just starting out or if you don’t have very many tickets, some of these default views may not be useful yet. We haven’t gone over groups, for instance -- so let’s disable some of these views.

You can disable views in Zendesk without deleting them. This will allow you add them back to your list later when you feel they might be helpful. For now, let’s disable New tickets in your groups and Unsolved tickets in your group.

Click on the Manage tab in the top menu bar and choose Views from the sub menu. You’ll see that it lists out the same views you see in the Views top menu drop-down. You also see that there are already some Inactive views. Roll your mouse over the New Tickets in your groups row. A menu reveals itself on the right with the option to deactivate. Click deactivate; the page reloads and now New Tickets in your groups is in the Inactive views. Do the same with Unsolved tickets in your groups.

Looking at our views is a little easier now (see below)

The remaining views in the list address scenarios we have seen and which are useful when you are just starting out with Zendesk:

  1. looking at all the unsolved tickets
  2. looking at tickets which have been recently updated or recently solved
  3. looking at all the tickets are pending (waiting on information from the customer)

There’s one view which contains a piece of Zendesk we haven’t addressed yet: unassigned tickets? All tickets in Zendesk must eventually be assigned to a support agent. Assignment means that the support agent will receive notifications when the ticket is updated; and it establishes a clear responsibility. As you are currently the only agent in your Zendesk, all tickets are automatically assigned to you. We’ll look further at Ticket Assignment in the next lesson when we begin adding additional agents to your Zendesk.

Summary

In this lesson, we looked at how to organize the tickets we have in our help desk by using Zendesk Views. When you log into your Zendesk, you should open up your views and choose the one that best fits what you need to do at that moment -- typically, either dealing with unsolved tickets; or checking in with the backlog of tickets that are waiting on more customer information.

We evaluated the difference between list format and table format, and chose table format for our main “My Unsolved Ticket” view. This allowed us to easily distinguish between unsolved tickets that are open awaiting our action and which were pending on a customer response.

Lastly, because we use views to help us focus on which support requests need our attention, we turned off certain default views that we don’t need yet.

Extra Exercise

Check your My Unsolved Tickets view and see whether Kelly H. has responded to her ticket. If she has, it should now be in the Open section of your view. This means she has replied. Because the ticket is now back in your court, Zendesk automatically moves it from pending to open. Review your ticket from Kelly H. and solve it. It’s not good practice to leave tickets open longer than you have to.

Next Lesson: Working with your whole team →

 

Comments

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Bill Hughes
weehooey

Matthew, how is score calculated? Is there a place admin can change how score is calculated?

 

February 01, 2013 11:40
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Justin Seymour
Zendesk

Hey Bill: 

Here's some information on how the score is calculated. No user-defined options exist for this feature.

Every ticket in your Zendesk help desk is scored between 0 and 100. The score is an objective value for which tickets you need to address first. The higher the score the more urgent/important the ticket is. The score is a relative value. So even though you only have two working tickets in your help desk, and both of them are pretty tedious, they can still score 100.

When calculating the score we consider a number of factors: How old is the ticket, how well has it been qualified and is somebody working on it. A ticket that hasn’t been qualified at all will typically score high, encouraging your agents to inspect and assign tickets as they come in. Ticket that has been lying around for a long time will score high, incidents will score higher than questions, and of course will urgent priority tickets score higher than lower priority tickets.

An important consideration is that a ticket that has been lying around for a while unqualified easily can score higher than an urgent priority incident. Although the urgent incident undoubtedly is important, it has been qualified and somebody has been assigned to it. Whereas the unqualified ticket potentially can be much more important. You don’t know until somebody has qualified it.

We now colorcode the score in ticket views which hopefully will strengthen their value in day-to-day operations.

February 04, 2013 04:44
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Jimmy Poulsen

thanks

June 17, 2013 08:34
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Kimi Tamou
rsvpcomau

When a ticket is placed in 'pending' (as we are waiting for a response from the customer), does it affect the SLA? 

 

December 02, 2013 13:21
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Kimi Tamou
rsvpcomau

Hi Emily.

Firstly thank you for your prompt response.

In regards to my previous query under 'SLA Violations' one ticket has been flagged and unsolved in 24h, however the ticket is Pending.

As I'm waiting for a response from the member and the ticket is pending I would've through it wouldn't appear in under SLA violations. IS that correct?

Thanks again,

Kimi

 

 

 

December 04, 2013 13:42
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Emily
Zendesk

Hi Kimi, 

I apologize for any confusion there may have been previously. While reporting can ignore Pending status (when determining requester wait time, for example), our SLAs under Business Rules > Service Level Agreements do not ignore Pending status. 

You have the "Tickets: Must be assigned to an agent within 24 business hours and must be solved within 24 business hours" SLA activated. This is pretty cut and dry, giving you two views:

  • Tickets: Unassigned in 24h
  • Tickets: Unsolved in 24h

It sounds like you're asking about the second view, which has two Pending tickets in it. As this view is specifically concerned with the time between ticket creation and the Solved status, it does not consider the meaning of New, Open or Pending. It simply wants to know if the ticket was Solved in 24 hours. 

Further, if a ticket was Solved within 24 hours but reopened, it will show up here. 

As mentioned above, if you want to report on requester wait time, this will ignore Pending status. Requester wait time reports can be built in Zendesk reporting or Gooddata. 

I hope this clears everything up!

 

December 05, 2013 09:56