About organizations and groups

Organizations and groups are used to manage your Zendesk users and the ticket handling workflow.

Each collection of users is defined as follows:

  • Organizations

    Organizations are collections of your users (both end-users and agents). On Starter and Regular plans, users can belong to only one organization. On Plus and Enterpise, users can belong to multiple organizations, up to 300. The use of organizations is optional, but by arranging your end-users into organizations you can keep track of what those organizations are requesting. You can also enable users within an organization to see each other’s tickets. This expands visibility of the organization's support issues and should reduce the number of duplicate tickets.

  • Groups

    Groups can only contain agents. Agents must be assigned to at least one group, but they can be members of more than one. Groups can be used to support organizations.

End-users and organizations

Although you don't have to add your end-users to organizations, it can be extremely helpful in managing the workflow. First, let's define that we mean by end-user. These are the people that generate support requests. They are your customers in a retail setting and the employees that are supported by an internal help desk in a corporate setting (to name two common types of end-users). How you organize your end-users is entirely up to you; however, here are a few examples of how organizations can be used:

  • To support service level agreements

    You can create organizations that mirror the service level agreements that you've established with your customers. For example, your paying customers are guaranteed a faster response than those who use your free services and you want to distinguish between the two. Or, perhaps you've set up levels of support based on which version of your products and service levels your customers have purchased (for example: basic, professional, enterprise or silver, gold, platinum). You can create organizations for each set of customers and route them through the support workflow accordingly. You can then create business rules and reports to escalate tickets as needed and to track performance against your service level agreements.

  • To track and manage tickets by company

    Perhaps you sell your products to other businesses. You can create organizations for each of those companies to manage and track their ticket activity.

  • To manage requests based on email domains

    You can automatically add end-users to organizations based on their email domain. For example, you might have both internal and external end-users. You can create an organization for your internal end-users and automatically add them to the organization, based on their email domain, the first time they submit a request. The new request is then picked up in the workflow rules you've set up for that organization.

  • To support customers by location and language

    If you support organizations or individual customers across the globe, you can create organizations for locations and languages and then route those requests to agents that are co-located and speak the same languages.

  • To define access to Help Center

    You can use organizations to define who can see what in your Help Center. You might want most of your Help Center to be viewable by all your end-users but also create several just for certain groups of users (customers with premium service plans, perhaps). Organizations enable you to do this. For information, see Restricting access to knowledge base content and Restricting access to community content.

You can create organizations and add end-users to them manually, one at a time, or automate the process by adding users and their organizations in a bulk import operation.

Agents can also be added to an organization. You might do this as part of organizing the users in your Zendesk or to restrict an agent's access to only the organization they belong to (this is an option when setting the agent's privileges).

Once you've gotten organizations set up, they can be used in many ways in your Zendesk to manage your workflow. See How to use your organizations and groups below.

Agents and groups

Groups are only for agents and every agent must belong to at least one group. Like organizations, how you set up groups depends on your business needs and the support workflow you prefer. Here are some of the common ways that groups are used:

  • To escalate tickets based on complexity

    You can manage escalation by setting up a tiered support group structure. For example, you can create groups for levels of support based on factors such as urgency and complexity. By default, you could assign all tickets to the Level 1 group and then escalate them to Level 2 manually based on the technical complexity of the issue. The Level 2 agents (who may also be members of the Level 1 group) have the advanced technical skills needed to resolve the issue. For an example of this, see Escalating your tickets with groups

  • To support service level agreements

    As in the example for organizations above, you can set up corresponding groups to support organizations defined by service levels.

  • To provide support by expertise

    You can create groups based on expertise. For example, a company that develops both software and hardware might place the agents who support the software into one group and those agents who support the hardware in another. A custom field could be added to the support request form prompting end-users to specify the product they're seeking support for and this could be used to route the ticket to the appropriate group.

  • To support customers by location and language

    As noted above, you can set up organizations by location and language and then assign agents (or groups) to their tickets. Even if you didn't set up organizations for this, you can route to tickets to these groups based on the end-user's email domain (somecompany.fr, for example) or their language preference.

When you create groups, you can add existing agents to them. You can add new agents to one or more groups when you're adding them to your Zendesk. You can also bulk import new users and define their role as agent; you then manually add them to groups.

How groups support organizations

So how do groups support organizations? In the broadest sense, simply by becoming hubs of support for the tickets that are received from the end-users in your organizations. What group is assigned to an organization's tickets can be based on the many considerations outlined above (support escalation processes, security, co-location and language, and so on).

You can take a loose approach to this and just allow agents to triage and assign requests to groups based on their reading of the support request or you can create business rules to handle that automatically. See How to use your organizations and groups below.

You can also more tightly manage the workflow and create security boundaries by funneling tickets directly to agents who have restricted access. This means that they can only see the tickets that they are allowed to see. You can do this in two ways. The first is to add the agents to groups and then restrict their access to only those groups. You can also add an agent to an organization, which restricts their access to only those tickets that are submitted by end-users in that organization.

Note: In Zendesk, you'll see references to non-restricted agents. These are agents who have not been restricted in these ways and can access all tickets.

How to use your organizations and groups

Once you've got an organization and group structure in place, you can use it to manage the ticket workflow and monitor your Zendesk activity.

Here are some of the ways you can use organizations and groups in your workflow [this section will contain links to more detail]:
  • Automatically assign tickets received from users in an organization to a specific group (referred to as group mapping)
  • Map incoming new users to an organization based on their email domain (referred to as user mapping)
  • Allow users within an organization to see all the tickets in their organization (referred to as a shared organization)
  • Assign agents to support only one organization
  • Use organization as a condition in a trigger to automatically assign requests to a group or agent
  • Use a trigger condition to test for tags and then automatically assign requests to a group or agent based on those tags
  • Create macros that assign new requests to a group or agent
  • Create automations that escalate tickets to a group or agent
  • Create views by organizations or groups
  • Create reports by organizations or groups

Administrator and agent roles for users, groups, and organizations

Here's a quick overview of who can do what in your Zendesk to manage users, groups, and organizations.

Administrators
  • Add end-users manually (one at a time) or add many end-users at a time in a bulk import
  • Create and edit organizations and groups
  • Add end-users to organizations
  • Create new agents and add them to one or more groups and one organization
  • Limit an agent's access to one or more groups
  • Limit an agent's access to requests received from the organization that an agent belongs to
  • Set up email mapping (automatically map end-users from specific email domains to an organization)
  • Set up group mapping (assigning incoming requests from users in an organization to a specific agent group)
  • Set up a shared organization (allow all end-users in an organization to view tickets from all users in the same organization)
  • Create both shared and personal views by users, groups, and organizations
  • Create business rules (automations, macros, and triggers) that include groups
  • Create business rules (automations and triggers) that include organizations
  • Create reports that include groups and organizations
Agents
  • Add end-users
  • Add end-users to organizations
  • Allow end-users to view all the tickets in their organization (if the user belongs to a shared organization, then the user always has access to tickets in the organization)
  • Add themselves to an organization
  • Create personal views by users, groups, and organizations
  • Create macros to assign tickets to a group
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Comments

  • Avatar
    Francois Dechery

    Hi Anton,

    You propose 5 ways to use organizations in this article. This is fine but if, for instance, you decide to use Orgs to manage SLA, then you need to group your end-users in as many Orgs as service levels you have defined, for instance three orgs such as Silver, Gold and Platinum. Great, but once you have grouped end-users in three groups, you cannot use Org anymore to group end-users by company, although you would like, also, to let end-users of a same company share tickets withing their colleagues. In other words, each type of usage of Org is exclusive from each other in Zendesk today, because there is just one dimension (Org) which can only be used by definition for one type of usage.

    It would be really nice to have Zendesk, once for all, accept the idea that support is complicated and requires a more sophisticated data model. Zendesk is very good tool and it would be really great if it would go to the next step and consider these elements (location, SLA) as additional data objects.

    Thanks,

    Francois

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Thanks for the comments Francois. Excellent points. Since there a lot of ways to use orgs and groups I was just presenting some common use cases. I'll revise this to convey what you have pointed out. I'll also pass your suggestions along to product management. 

  • Avatar
    Francois Dechery

    Hi Anton,

    Thank you for passing this to Product Mgmt. I know I am not the only one bothering Zendesk with this type of feature requests. If I did not think Zendesk was so close to deliver this, I would not spend time on this topic. But the bottom line is that, with the ability to add custom fields to Org on one hand, and the ability to use them in triggers and automation on the other hand, Zendesk would be addressing a whole new range of Enterprise support use cases. As I just said to Katie (Customer's Advocate), that's all we need. It's up to us (customers) to use the Zendesk API to fill these fields with data coming from other systems, be they our own web systems or CRMs like SF or Sugar, or Zuora for billing, etc. So Zendesk does not have to code all kinds of UI to manage this data. We just need the ability to add more columns in the Org table and be able to use them in triggers and automations. Then, as said to Katie, Zendesk will become NirvanaDesk. You're so close...

    Thanks

    Francois

  • Avatar
    ross utting

    I would like to see the one user - one organisation restriction lifted.  Support emails could be distinguished through the use of a key in the subject header (for users in multiple organisations) and where not resolved the user receives a reply requesting that they resubmit with the appropriate key included.  I am using single sign-on and always pushing back an organisation so I'm not sure of the wider implications of this request.

  • Avatar
    Ivaylo Kalatchev

    The ability to associate a single user with multiple organizations will help us a lot too.

  • Avatar
    zeskns

    thanks,very detail....

    that [url=http://www.wowgoldeuro.fr]wow gold[/url] perfumes everything [url=http://www.wowgoldeuro.fr]wow po[/url] with its hope.[url]http://www.wowgoldeuro.fr[/url]

  • Avatar
    Terje Moglestue

    Anton,

    Thank you for some good advice. I think I am in the same situation as Francois.

    On the organisation / company dimension if you like I would like to set some parameters. You could call them triggers if you like. It could be contract type, time zone, account code and more. When a new user is identified with that organisation the organisation parameters will then apply for that user. These parameters is then used by workflow. Assigned the ticket to the right group, apply the right set of SLA's and the never ending reporting.

    Thanks,

    Terje

  • Avatar
    Spike

    We also need the ability to add one user to multiple organizations.  We have client users who work for multiple clients of ours.  We use automatic login being passed from our software system so zendesk can recognize and login the user AND associate them to the organization they are with.  The organization then is linked to a group and we use automation to then assign the ticket to the appropriate agent.  

    Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Kelly Hoffer

    Hi Spike, might our User tagging feature be helpful in some of the above cases? 

    https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20201222-adding-tags-to-users-and-organizations

  • Avatar
    Spike

    Hmmm... That might be something for us to consider Kelly, thanks.  I'm not quire sure on a first read how we'd set it all up.  Right now we have the API all programmed to work based on user and organization being sent over from our software system during auto-login...  I'll think about it and maybe submit a support ticket for help.  

  • Avatar
    Bill Davis

    We have an identical scenario where we have end-users that work for multiple organizations (Legal / Brokerages and Financial Institutions) and they create support tickets on behalf of their clients at each of these organizations.

     

    So when they submit a ticket  we are not sure what organization to route this ticket to as their email domain is the only item used to route it to an organization, so these fall to the suspended ticket area for manual routing or gets routed to the one organization that has that domain.

    If there was a way to identify an end user and have that one end user mapped differently than other end users with identical domains.  For Example - If bill@solium.com is a lawyer working for Company A and Company B and Company A has the domain mapping of solium.com could we get that individual end user to not map to Company A, but into Company B instead?  But all other emails coming from solium.com would map into Company A.

  • Avatar
    Max McCal

    Hey, Bill -

    You can't automate what you're describing, since there would be no way for us to know which organization to route the user to, but you can definitely change the bill@solium.com user profile so that it's a part of the Company B organization after it's been automatically assigned. You can always change a user's org manually, even when they've been automatically assigned to one based on email domain. This won't break the automatic routing, either.

  • Avatar
    Bill Davis

    Thanks Max, so if User A is automatically assigned to Company A, then I manually update their Organization to be Company B, all future tickets will route to User A and Company B?

  • Avatar
    Max McCal

    In that situation, all tickets for User A would be identified as Company B's organization. They wouldn't have any connection to Company A any longer.

  • Avatar
    Bill Davis

    Perfect, exactly what I am looking for, thanks Max!

  • Avatar
    Gail Flynn

    Single user belonging to multiple Orgs would be extremely useful for our purposes, too... Any idea when this might be accomodated by zendesk?

  • Avatar
    Max McCal

    Hi, Gail -

    I'm certain that our User Tagging feature ( https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20201222 ) can accomodate most if not all of the advantages you might get from having a user belong to multiple organizations. If you have a specific concern, please let us know and we can try to work out the right settings. Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Gail Flynn

    Thanks, Max.

    I'll open a ticket for assistance...

  • Avatar
    Kim Dray

    I have what I think is a simple question...we are a small company and only have two agents.  One is an admin and one is an agent in Zendesk.  The agent cannot see the organizations - only the end users.  Is there a way around this?

    thanks!

  • Avatar
    Jill Kaselitz

    Hi Kim,

    While agents won't be able to see the organizations listed under Manage > People, they should be able to see what organization an end-user belongs to within the 'End User' widget in tickets. If your agent is not seeing this information, please send us an email to support@zendesk.com.

  • Avatar
    Aaron Pewtherer

    @Kim After your Zendesk URL, add "/organizations" and your agents can see a list of all the organizations. (ex: youraccount.zendesk.com//organizations)

  • Avatar
    Kim Dray

    @Jill - Thanks.  He can see them that way.  It's not what I was looking for, but it's a work around.

    @Aaron - Thank you!!!  That worked!!!  I have a question though, it seems like he's not able to search for a specific organization using the search function.  Is this normal?

    Thanks again,

    Kim

  • Avatar
    Aaron Pewtherer

    @Kim You're welcome. Agents are setup to specifically administer the endusers. Typically, Admins are setup to administer organizations, and the helpdesk. This is by design, as organization creation has the advanced ability to add map domains to organizations, and allow access to other enduser's tickets in a shared organization. Because of this, you would want this ability only for select people.

    In your case, you may want to make trusted agents as Admins, if this feature is essential for their workflow.

  • Avatar
    Kim Dray

    @Aaron, I'm sorry, I meant he can't search for an organization using the link you suggested - is that normal?  (last response I promise...I don't want to beat a dead horse!!)  I understand the setup as is and why it functions that way.  Thank you for the info!

  • Avatar
    Aaron Pewtherer

    @Kim Although you cannot search for an organization, you can search for tickets, forums and endusers associated with an organization with the search reference "organization:###" More search ideas here: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20239737-zendesk-search-reference

  • Avatar
    Kate A.

    I want to have new users from my site automatically added to specific organizations, but NOT based on domains.  All of our users will have different domains.  Is there anyway to use the API to pull information from our database to create more robust organization mapping?

  • Avatar
    Max McCal

    Hi, Kate -

    It's certainly possible to set a user's Organization through the API, or even through SSO if the database you mention is one that users are currently authenticating through. You might take a look at our documentation for these two subjects here and here.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Dunn

    We'll have end-users submitting requests via email from many domains, and I'd like to have a default Organization for those people as we'll also have employees submitting requests. I've set up an Organization for employees that will automatically add people in our domain to the correct Organization, but I can't figure out a way to add the end-users with other domains to that Organization. Is there a way to do this? Can we use wildcards in the domain mapping field?

  • Avatar
    Jill Kaselitz

    HI Michelle,

    While there is currently no option to automatically add miscellaneous end-users to 1 organization, please don't hesitate to let us know if you need assistance with setting up a workflow to manage these end-users in question. It is possible to set up a trigger that says if the end-user is not a part of this organization, then perform these actions. Feel free to email us at support@zendesk.com if you have any questions. 

  • Avatar
    Michelle Dunn

    Thanks for the reply Jill! :) I have figured out how to route the incoming tickets appropriately, but it doesn't seem like I can change the end-users' organization in a trigger. It's not a huge problem, but all of those end-users with no organization feel like loose ends. Please let me know if there's something I'm not seeing though! Thanks again for everything.

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