Tracking Problem and Incident tickets with business rules

The most common type of ticket is a Question. It’s routine for agents to answer the question, solve the ticket, and move on to the next one. But what about those times when the issue is larger and impacts several customers? Some problems are so big it can end up flooding your help desk. This could be anything from a copy machine failure, a network outage, to the entire website going down. It is likely you will receive several tickets from customers reporting such a large-scale event. This is where the ticket types Incident and Problem can keep your Zendesk streamlined and efficient.

In Zendesk, an Incident is any issue that is a symptom of a larger problem. And Problem tickets are larger issues that typically involve several smaller symptoms impacting multiple customers. You can learn more about the basics of Problem and Incident tickets here: Working with Problem and Incident tickets.

You can track and manage your Problem and Incident tickets, create the view, report, and trigger described below. 

Create a view for Problem tickets

  1. Go to Manage > Views > Add View.
  2. Name the view “Problem Tickets”.
  3. Under Meet all of the following conditions, add the conditions Status is Less than Solved and Type is Problem
  4. Set Available For to All Agents.

For more information about views, see Using views to manage ticket workflow.

Create a report for Problem tickets

  1. Go to Manage > Reporting > Reports > Add Report.
  2. Name the report “Problem Tickets Quarterly”.
  3. Set the Reporting Period to Last 3 Months.
  4. Name the First Data Series “Problem Tickets”.
  5. Set it to Created Tickets.
  6. Add the condition Type is Problem.
  7. Next to the Submit button change the menu from Preview Report to Create Report.
  8. Click Submit.

For more information about creating reports, see Using reports to monitor ticket activity and agent performance

Create a trigger to notify your support staff of Problem tickets

  1. Go to Manage > Triggers & mail notifications > Add trigger.
  2. Name the trigger “Notify Support Agents of Problem Ticket”.
  3. Under Meet all of the following conditions, add these:
    • Status is less than Solved
    • Type is Problem
    • Tag Contains none of the following: problem_notify
  4. Under Perform these actions, add these:
    • Email Group “Support”
      Note: Replace Support with the name of your group of agents that need to know about Problem tickets.
    • In the Email comment add text such as “Attention: New Problem Ticket {{}} {{ticket.description}} has been created. Be advised and link any related tickets as Incidents.Thanks!”
    • Add tag: problem_notify
  5. Click Create Trigger.

For more information about triggers, see Streamlining workflow with ticket updates and triggers

Have more questions? Submit a request


  • Avatar
    Eric Hallquist

    Hi -- is there a way to set up a View that shows us all Incident tickets that are not linked to a Problem? We're trying to clean up our use of Incidents > Problems and I can't find a way to quickly get at these kinds of tickets. Creating a View for just Incidents isn't helpful since we have hundreds that are less than Closed.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • Avatar
    Brandon K.

    Hey Eric,

    Unfortunately there is currently no way in our system for detect if an incident is attached to a problem when creating a view and there is no field to display in actual views that filter tickets set to incident. As a workaround, I'd suggest adding a checkbox custom ticket field to your tickets that your agents would be able to self report if they attached to a problem ticket. Now this wouldn't be fool proof as it would require your agents to check when they attach, and it would stay checked if the incident became unattached and no one unchecked the box, but it might be a better way of giving you an idea of which incidents still need your attention. You could definitely create a view that would search for the incident type on tickets that have an unchecked custom field.

    I hope this workaround is sufficient, i'm sorry I don't have a better solution for you though.

  • Avatar
    Michael Craddock

    If you have required fields for tickets, will you receive errors when trying to solve the incident if problem tickets are missing some of these requirements?

  • Avatar
    Brandon K.

    Hey Michael,

    If you do not have the assignee field on an attached incident filled out, it will automatically be assigned to the assignee who solved the main problem ticket. Any other custom required fields, however, will be set to solved unfilled. There will be no error screen telling the person solving the problem ticket that they are unable to do so.

  • Avatar
    Sean Serrels

    Is there any way to automate assigning an incident to a specific problem (via macro, trigger or automation)? I can set the Ticket Type to Incident via all three items but I was wondering if I could then link that incident to a specific problem automatically and I can find a way to do so.

  • Avatar

    Hi Sean, 

    Currently, incidents must be linked to problem tickets manually, and there is no way to reference linking the two in a business rule. Since you can bulk update all incidents when solving a problem ticket, requiring a manual link reduces the chance of updating tickets that shouldn't have been linked to that problem ticket in the first place.

    If you'd still like to get your voice heard on this, the best place to do so is our Product Feedback forum. 

  • Avatar
    Irina Tsitsejeva

    Very useful information for me. Thank you.

  • Avatar

    Hi Maxim, 

    On behalf of Zendesk, you're welcome!

  • Avatar
    Amado Hidalgo

    Hi Guys

    Problems and Incidents are extremely useful. Coupled with our Jira integration app, we are managing our software releases pretty well. When similar tickets come in for a potential bug, a senior tech creates a Problem ticket. A trigger notifies the entire Support dept of the new Problem and the techs then link any new Incidents to the Problem. The senior techs, once they test and repro, they fire a ticket into Jira via the app and use it to dialogue with the Engineering & PM teams. When required, a group update is sent to the related Incidents. All hunky dory here...


    The only thing that seems to be missing or I can't find is Reporting. I can of course list how many Incidents and how many Problems, but I haven't found a way to link them. I am looking for a report (native or via GoodData) that would list each Problem ticket and a count of the incidents associated with it. For Support and also for our Devs, it would be very useful to gauge the impact and extent of a bug by seeing how many times it was reported.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks a lot



  • Avatar

    Hi Amado,

    Currently, you can report on the total number of Problem or Incident tickets in Gooddata, but you cannot correlate them, meaning you cannot report on the number of Incident tickets per Problem ticket. This will be part of Gooddata 2.0, an upgrade to our integration that will be released later this year. While I don't have an ETA for when this update will be released, you can subscribe to our Release Notes forum to get updates on product enhancements throughout the year. 

  • Avatar
    Tonmoy Ghosh

    Hi Emily, is the ability report on incidents linked to problems included in the new "Insights" product?

    I'm looking to see if it will be possible to see a list of all open Problem tickets with all the linked incidents. 

  • Avatar
    Laura D.

    Hi Tonmoy, 

    Yes, more detail about Problems and Incidents will be available in Insights. From what I can tell you should be able to see Problem tickets ordered by the number of incidents attached. 

  • Avatar
    Jen Howell

    Looking for a way to export all customers/emails of incidents linked to a particular problem. Is this possible?

  • Avatar
    Jessie Schutz

    Hi Jen!

    For that specific a data set, your best bet is going to be to use our API to pull the information you're looking for. You can find more information on this here:

    Let us know if you have any other questions!

Please sign in to leave a comment.