Forums/Documentation/Getting Started Guide

Getting started with the Zendesk Enterprise plan

Matthew Latkiewicz
posted this on August 01, 2011 16:18

In this guide, you will learn how to setup Zendesk in an enterprise environment. Large companies typically need their Zendesk to handle situations where many departments must work together to serve and support their customers. Because of all these moving parts, processes can get complicated. By the end of this brief set-up guide, you will know how to use Zendesk to keep a large support team in sync, fine-tune the different support roles you have, and achieve a high-level understanding of your support workflow.

Create custom agent roles

During your trial, you will be using the Zendesk Plus+ plan. In this plan, all of your agents have essentially the same role in your system. (For more on user roles see, Assigning tickets to agents in the Getting Started Guide. You can limit their access to certain support tickets and allow them to make only private comments on tickets.

Some teams need more fine-grain control, however. With the Enterprise plan you can custom build agent roles – picking and choosing what parts of Zendesk each agent type can use, access, and control.

For instance, our example company MondoCam is an international manufacturer with hundreds of support agents across the world. To manage a team of that size, the support manager divides their team into agents who handle tickets and those who moderate forums. By defining two custom roles, the support manager can ensure that agents in each category are limited to those areas when they log in to Zendesk.

To create a custom agent role
  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Manage > People and click Add Role.

  2. As the title of custom agent role, enter Forum Moderator.
  3. Choose and modify the permissions and access for the agent role you're configuring.

    This page gives you access to all the potential responsibilities your agents could access, change, and create. In this case, we want to create a Forum Moderator role. We will disable the agents ability to assign tickets, and give them access and full permissions to all our forums, and restrict access to other areas of our Zendesk, including business rules and user management. The configuration looks like this:

  4. Click Create Role at the bottom of the page.

For more information about creating custom roles, see Custom agent roles in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Assign your agents to custom roles

Now we will assign one of our agents to the Forum Moderator role.

To change a single agent's role
  1. If you are not already there, return to the People page and click Browse Agents.
  2. This will show you a list of all your agents. To make one a Forum Moderator, click Edit next to their name.
  3. In the agent's user profile, click Role and select the Forum Moderator role.

  4. The agent's role is immediately changed.
To change more than one agent's role
  1. When viewing your list of agents on the People page, you can also bulk update agent roles by selecting the check box next to the names of the agents you wish to update and clicking the Change Role link at the top of the list. This will reveal a box where you can choose a new role.

  2. Select the role, then click Submit.

You'll notice a few other roles available to you – these are default Zendesk roles which you can use or delete as you see fit. To view, edit, or delete these go to the People page and click the Browse Roles link underneath the search box.

Note that you can also assign roles when you add a new agent.

For more information, see Custom agent roles in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Extend support to all parts of your company using light agents

The larger and more varied your company is, the more likely a customer's question will require a particular piece of expertise or knowledge to resolve. It is also likely that that knowledge and expertise resides in departments that aren't your traditional support roles. With the Zendesk Enterprise plan, you can tap into that knowledge easily. For example, you may require occasional assistance from legal or finance on billing issues; or technical input from your engineering department.

All Enterprise plans include unlimited internal usage with Light Agents. You might add light agents from legal, finance, or engineering who may occasionally need to comment on a ticket or approve a decision. It's a way to intimately connect your support team to the rest of your company without making everyone in your company a support agent.

To add a light agent, follow the steps below. Light agents work just like other roles in Zendesk, and you'll assign them the same way as we did in the previous exercise.

To add a new user as a light agent
  1. Add a light agent just as you would any other user in your Zendesk. Go to the People and choose Add User in the upper right. You can also just click the Add tab and then select User.

  2. Fill out the user details for the light agent you want to add. In our case this is one of the MondoCam engineers.
  3. In the Role section choose Agent (as opposed to end-user) and then select Light Agent.

  4. Click the create button at the bottom of the page.

Now, when a question comes in that would benefit from the engineer, our support agent can CC them on the ticket, and ask for their help privately. The engineer responds just as if it were email, but their comment is included on the ticket, keeping the whole conversation in one place with input from the right people.

Just as in the previous exercise, you can also change existing users into Light Agents if you wish.

The permissions light agents have are described in detail in What is a Light Agent? in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Support multiple request types with ticket forms

Many companies provide and support a variety of products and services. Each product or service may require specific types of information from the customer so that your support organization knows how to route and solve tickets. Using ticket forms, you can create customer-selected variations of the support request form. For example, you might create a ticket form for refund requests and others for specific products. Ticket forms can be visible to end-users and agents or to agents only.

Here's the agent's view of a ticket form for requesting support for a software issue.

Ticket forms use custom fields that you define to capture the data you want to gather in the support request form. You can then use the data in those custom fields to route requests to specific groups, create views and reports, and so on.

Ticket forms are described in Creating ticket forms to support multiple request types (Enterprise) in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Support multiple brands

If your company maintains several products, services, or brands, you may wish to use several support portals, support emails and knowledge bases which reflect these brands. Behind the scenes, however, you may have just one team that responds to all tickets, regardless of where they came from. Centralizing as much of the workflow as you can helps maintain your various portals efficiently; as well as makes it easier for the support manager to better understand the enterprise's total support load across brands.

For example, take our example company MondoCam. They are a global camera corporation, with a number of subsidiary brands: including a consumer level camcorder brand called Mondo Lenses. They want the customer support experience of that brand to be distinct and reflect the branding, but internally, they have a single unified support team for all the brands.

The Zendesk Enterprise plan gives your company the ability to link all of its support environments together. It's called Multi-Brand Management; you create a master Zendesk to which all your support environments automatically route their tickets, even when they come in through different portals or email addresses.

Once Multi-Brand Management is set up for our example company MondoCam, any ticket created within the Mondo Lenses support environment will automatically be routed to the central MondoCam account. It will be tagged as a Mondo Lenses issue, and the agents will address it as they do any other ticket.

When the agent replies, it will be routed through the Mondo Lenses site so the customer's experience remains rooted in that brand's identity.

Note: This assumes that your company has multiple Zendesk environments. If you have multiple brands, create a separate Zendesk for each brand or environment you need. They only need the one admin account, however. All your agents will be in your central account.

To setup Multi-Brand Management, take a look at the detailed instructions in Setting up to manage multiple brand Zendesk accounts in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

After setup

Now anytime a ticket is sent to or created within our branded account Mondo Lenses, it is automatically sent to our central account at MondoCam. Our agents receive it alongside all of the other MondoCam tickets. When they respond to the customer it will be sent from the subsidiary email address; every brand the customer originally communicated with will be the brand they continue to communicate with.

Because we tagged the ticket, however, we can also handle it differently in our central account:

  • You might want to create a view (or ticket queue) specifically for all the subsidiary tickets. For more about views, seeWorking with views in the Zendesk Agent Guide.

  • Create a custom role (using the steps from earlier in this guide) for your subsidiary brand experts, and automatically assign tickets from your branded Zendesk to them. (For more on automatic ticket assignment, see Assigning tickets to agents in the Getting Started Guide.

  • Optimize your workflow, but create a separate set of predefined responses (or macros) specifically for tickets from this subsidiary (for more on predefined responses, see Using macros to update and add comments to tickets in the Zendesk Agent Guide.

Boost articles in your forums and knowledge base

In the Enterprise plan, you can also optimize the content in your knowledge base to ensure that the article you want your customers to find is listed at the top of the search results. This is referred to as topic boosting and with it you can add relevant search phrases to your articles. Using search phrases is a good way to account for variations in search queries and ensure that your users are finding the correct answers in their searches.

You've that you've created a password FAQ that describes how to recover or reset passwords and you want that topic to be listed first in search results. You'd probably add tags likepasswordandresetand so on to the topic. Your users of course may be using different and perhaps more specific search query phrases such as: "lost password", "reset password", "change password", "password reset", "password new", "password recover", etc. By adding these search query phrases to the topic itself, you dramatically boost its search relevance for users who enter the exact phrase in their search.

For more information about topic boosting, see Boosting a topic's search relevance with phrases.

Advanced workflow analysis

Large companies deal with a lot of complexity. In this guide we have discussed building custom support agent roles, leveraging non-support departments within your support strategy, and integrating multiple brands or support environments into one central Zendesk. With all that and more, there will be times when the wires get tangled so to speak. Managing complex systems requires a regular audit of those systems as well as a troubleshooting tool when the system is operating sub-optimally.

With your Zendesk Enterprise plan, you can use Business Rules Analysis to see under the hood of your Zendesk. As a support manager, you build out automations, triggers and pre-defined responses to streamline your workflow. For example, in our MondoCam support environment, we have built triggers to automatically assign certain tickets to certain agents based on keyword, we have multiple predefined responses to frequently asked questions, and we auto-escalate tickets if they don't receive a response within 24 hours. The larger we grow, the more business rules we add. This ups the efficiency, but also the complexity. We can use Business Rules Analysis to ensure all those rules are as efficient as possible and resolve any unexpected behavior.

For instance, the support manager notices that the Mobile Development group is getting overloaded with support requests that really should have been routed elsewhere. One misrouted support ticket is easy to pass along. But, when each engineer is receiving a couple emails every day which ultimately doesn't pertain to them, it starts to affect their productivity.

It could be the case that an outdated trigger is sending these unnecessary emails. Perhaps the trigger was created a while ago when the support situation was different. We will use Zendesk's business rules analysis to figure out which trigger is firing the unnecessary email so we can fix it.

To do this, click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Triggers. This will list all the triggers which operate on your Zendesk.

If you don't have many triggers, you might be able to search through each one individually. For enterprise companies with complex workflows, you can access the rules analysis by clicking the Property analysis for triggers, automations, views, and macros in the right column.

This brings you to the Rule analysis page. There is nothing to set up here, but it can be helpful to understand what this page is showing you.

The Rule analysis page shows you each element of your Zendesk that is affected by your business rules—the agents and groups who get assigned tickets, the channels on which tickets come in, the tags which get appended to tickets, etc.

For instance, MondoCam has a trigger which automatically assigns tickets to the Sales group when the ticket comes in via a particular email address.

MondoCam have a number of triggers (including the one above), which impact the sales group in some way. On the Rule analysis page, MondoCam can see how many business rules (including triggers) affect the Sales group.

And then click through to see them all in one place.

We are looking for any rule which might be sending emails to our Mobile Development group and so we look under “Group Assignment” and click on the Mobile Development group.

Now we see every business rule which affects our Mobile Development group. From here we can zero in and find the one that is causing all the unnecessary email.

We can go in and edit the trigger right from this page by clicking the edit link on the right.

For more information about rules analysis, see Analyzing your business rules.

Where to Go Next

This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Rule analysis is concerned. This gives you a landscape view of your entire Zendesk workflow. Some ways to use Rules analysis include:

  • Audit your rules when your organization changes. Is a member of your team moving to a different role? See which macros and rules currently affect them.

  • Don't remember if you have any rules set up to run when a ticket comes in via Twitter? Review all the business rules that affect your various support channels.

  • Reduce redundant tags. Make sure that you aren't assigning redundant tags to your tickets through various triggers and macros. By having a streamlined tagging system, you make organization and reporting much easier.

Archive all your support communication

While the life of a support request may be over once the customer's issue is resolved, you may need to keep all your support communication around and accessible for your record-keeping needs. If you are complying with Sarbanes-Oxley, or have a corporate policy about your outbound communication, you know the importance of storing copies away in a separate system.

Zendesk itself gives you access to your whole support history as long as your account is active, but with the Enterprise plan you can set also set up a direct download of all outbound communication into an outside email address. This feature is called Email Archiving. It is easy to setup. Go to the Tickets page under the Settings tab in the top menu bar. Near the bottom of that page is a text field to enter the email address where you want to archive your outbound support communication.

Enter an email address where you will have easy access and long-term storage and click Save tab.

With that done, Zendesk will now import all outbound communication into that account.

For more information, see Archiving email notifications.

Restrict access to your Zendesk using IP restriction

In some support scenarios, you may wish to restrict access to your support web portal. If you provide support internally and don't want people outside your company to see your knowledge base, for instance; or if you want to ensure that no one outside your office building can reach the agent login screen.

With the enterprise plan, you can restrict access to your support portal through IP restriction. IP restriction essentially looks at the address of the computer trying to access your site. If it is within the range you've okay-ed (i.e. all computer's on the company network), they can reach the site; if not, they are turned away.

If you would like to setup IP restriction, work with your network administrator to establish the IP range you would like to allow. Then go to the Security page and click on the Access Restriction tab. Enter the range that describes the users you would like to allow in.

Note if your agents use any of the native Zendesk mobile apps, you will want to check the Allow agent access via mobile apps box. This will ensure that they will be able to access your Zendesk even if they are outside the approved range – i.e. if they are out of the office and solving tickets from home or while visiting ad client.

For more information, see Restricting access to your Zendesk using IP restrictions.

Audit the administrative changes made to your Zendesk

The Enterprise version provides you with insight into the changes that are being made to your Zendesk configuration, support workflow, and users. For example, if an agent is promoted to the admin role, this action is captured in the audit log.

For more information about the events that are captured in the audit log, see Viewing the Audit log for account, user, and business rule changes in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Enterprise support

Enterprise support can be a complex affair. This guide has gone over a few of the ways the Zendesk Enterprise plan can help you company better manage that complexity:

  • Build out your enterprise-level support team with custom roles that fit your team; as well as granting access to experts and other stakeholders within your company without making them full support agents.

  • Manage the support for multiple brands from within one central Zendesk.

  • Understand your workflow with rules analysis.

Of course should you have any questions or want to talk through some best practices, the Enterprise plan also comes with increased support from the team here at Zendesk. Visit our support site at,, or phone: +1 (415) 418-7506.



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Pia Simeoni
The very first link is broken on this page: setting up the enterprise support team
August 17, 2011 09:49
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Matthew Latkiewicz

Ah, so it is!  Fixed now.  Thanks for the heads up @pia.

August 17, 2011 10:25
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Pia Simeoni
Not like I couldn't just scroll down and see the content, but it just temporarily confused me. :P
August 17, 2011 10:28
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Martin Seibert

Which agents aren't charged for?


I have a question for the enterprise plan. I do understand, that the light agents are for free and unlimited. Is the forum moderator also free? What is the defining differenciator for a paying agent and a non-paying agent. Is it the inability to be assigned to a ticket and internal comments?

Please advise.

December 03, 2011 08:56
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Matthew Latkiewicz

Hi Martin - 

The light agent is described in detail here: - but the basics are that light agents can view tickets and make private comments, but not be assigned to tickets or change any of a ticket's properties.  Light agents can also participate fully in non-restricted (or public) forums.  There are more details, but that gets the basics. Does that answer your question?

December 05, 2011 13:47
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Jason Wood

So what is the benefit of having unlimited Light Agents?

February 20, 2012 22:41
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Rick Harris

Hi, is there a way to centralize the agents (all in the hub) and restrict certain agents to ONLY the tickets generated from a specific spoke.... I would like these agents to not see (or be aware) of any other organizations, brands, users, tickets, etc.

If not possible (other than keeping the agents in the branded spoke) can we have some agents work on tickets from within the spoke and other agents work on "shared" tickets from within the hub? If so, what issues might we face (duplicate tickets, confusion over which agent is assigned the ticket, etc).

Basically I would like to isolate certain agents from most of the helpdesk but give them full access to a particular brand. In addition, I would like some "central" agents to have access to all tickets and brands.

April 08, 2012 08:28
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Tanya Cashorali

You've mentioned that SFDC data is currently read-only from Zendesk. Are there any plans on the road map to change that? We're finding it would be extremely useful for our support team to be able to update lacking or wrong technical information from the account, but would rather not have to dish out SFDC licenses to do so.

May 15, 2012 06:24
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Mike Warren

Jason, great question!  The benefit of unlimited light agents is that you can have as many folks in your company (such as managers) who wouldn't normally interact with tickets, still be able to be involved in your account and do most other things, like view reports, make internal comments on tickets, and interact on internal forums.

May 15, 2012 09:36
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Mike Warren


You can definitely do that by tagging the tickets from a certain spoke as they are created, then crerating a trigger at the hub to assign those tickets (based on tag) to a certain group, and finally restricting the agents access to only see tickets for the groups they are a part of.  

Doing this allows you to have certain agents handling tickets for certain "brands" and other agents handing tickets for other "brands", and at the same time having all of the tickets centrally managed.

May 15, 2012 09:47
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Mike Warren


We don't have plans right now to do that but it's definitely a cool idea.  Right now to update the SFDC data, it needs to be done directly in Salesforce.  However, Zendesk data can be updated by Zendesk Agents directly from within Salesforce, so your Salesforce licensed users don't need to login to Zendesk separately.

May 16, 2012 10:54