Announcing: Skills-Based Routing (updated June 2018) Follow

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30 comments

  • Avatar
    Jeff Hanlon

    I like this idea.  We will test it out soon.  Thanks.

    It would also be helpful to be able to set schedules for agents so that only agents who are available (not out sick or on vacation) could be considered for ticket routing.

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    Dan Ross (Edited )

    Will skills be assignable to users in bulk?

    Are plans to extend searching for agents by data in their custom user fields?

    I'm playing with creating language skills but the current need to manually select each user to assign them a skill doesn't scale. We have over 200 agents and they'll all likely need multiple skills.

    For English, for example, this skill needs to be applied to ALL agents.

    We then take other languages such as French or Dutch and would like to apply them based on the agent office, which is a custom drop down field on our agent profiles.

     

    Example use case:

    All Agents in our Amsterdam office speak English & Dutch.

    Instead of having to find each agent and assign the skill individually, I would like to be able to filter my agents based on their custom user fields. Being able to view a list of agents with 'Amsterdam' as the Agent office and then be able to bulk select and apply the skill would greatly reduce the overhead for managing this feature for a large team!

     

    Thanks for considering!

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    Matthew Burke

    It would also be nice if our agents could have weighted skill levels. This would be beneficial for how our company uses the inflow of tickets and disperse to agents accordingly. It's currently how our CISCO ACD system was used based on call volume. Now we are moving over to Talk with Support and call volume would sometime require agents of normally assigned groups could take the overflow it a group they are not normally assigned. 

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    Kristen Mirenda

    Hi @jeff, @dan, and @matthew -- thank you for your feedback and ideas! Hearing your use cases or the problem you're solving for is especially helpful. All the scenarios you've brought up are part of the bigger vision for routing. I can't say yet what we'll build or when -- that'll be informed by ongoing research (while we build each iteration we'll be doing research and design for the next one). Part of why we wanted to release this early version is that it will provide real-world data to inform our roadmap, and the flexibility to respond to what we learn as we go.

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    Will Ginsberg

    Moving conversation over here. Thanks @kristen mirenda for responding!

     

    Today we use views as our "Queues". In each queue we want to use skill matching for specific agents to identify specific tickets that match their skill set. This enables agents w specific skills to quickly "pluck" tickets from our queue views. 

    Above in mind, because only specific agents have these skills we only want the skill match column to appear as checked for those agents on the tickets that match their skills. All other tickets we want to remain unchecked. 

    LMK if that makes sense! Thanks for being open to feedback.

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    Brendan Farrar-Foley

    @kristen mirenda This is a great feature!  

    Hoping you do some additions quickly.  For instance, ticket creation only doesn't let you run other triggers or Targets to get additional information onto the ticket. 

    As an example, we are building a small app that does sentiment analysis to identify whether a customer is angry in their last response.  This is a great use of Skills if we can update the skills on the ticket to include "Handles Angry Customers."  That assessment is NEVER on the incoming ticket though; it is added via a Target that looks at the ticket at creation and updates fields on the ticket.  

    I can see similar needs for tickets that are miscategorized coming in.  In many cases Zendesk allows customer to choose a ticket category, but they are incorrect about 10% of the time.  In those cases the agent would have to manually not only change the ticket category or apply a macro but also add and remove Skills on the ticket as well.  

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    Justin

    @will While I appreciate your use case, how it functions now actually makes the most sense for us. IF I understand your explanation correctly, tickets that have no skill would be left in the view without any agent selecting them simply because they don't match, and nobody matches them. Essentially increasing the resolution time for these cases indefinitely unless there is a process for someone to do tickets they are unskilled for.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding? 

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    Will Ginsberg

    @justin Yeah probably an inverse use case for you -- in our case skill match would be a useful tool to enable agents to "cherry pick" tickets from view queues. In your case it sounds like you want every ticket to have a skill otherwise it will "never" be answered. 

    Both cases would be solved if there was more flexibility in the product such that the end-user could determine if all cases without skills at all "matched" or not. 

  • Avatar
    Kristen Mirenda

    Availability update! As promised, we're rolling this out to more and more accounts as we monitor performance.

    So far so good, so we've added an additional 560+ subdomains in the past week. 95% of Enterprise subdomains now have the feature.

    If you didn't have access when the feature was announced on March 30, there's a good chance you do now. And if you still don't, hang tight -- we'll post an update when the next big batch is added.

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    Amanda Wagner

    I would anticipate us being able to use this in place of a number of triggers that we currently have in place to assign tickets. We have agents who are the primary agents for certain types of tickets, but all agents are able to work on all tickets. Would we be able to automatically assign tickets to one specific agent, but reassign it to another agent if necessary? Would all agents then need to have all skills? For example, Agent A is the primary person for Regional accounts so we want all tickets for those accounts to be assigned to him automatically. But if he does not have capacity, we want to be able to reassign to Agent B. Does Agent B have to have the Regional account skill set?

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    Amber Barnes (Edited )

    I was playing around with the Skill configuration and do not see the ability to build conditions based on tags. Am I just overlooking this or is there a reason we are not able to do this?

    Also, I know you had answered the question above about bulk assign - which is not currently available. This is 100% necessary for us though, especially with the large number of agents we manage. One thing though - is the Skills assigned visible on the user profile?

    I want to second the skill routing on tickets that have already been created as well. 

    Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Kristen Mirenda

    Hi @Amanda -- right now this isn't about assignment, rather about visibility of a tickets to the pool of agents who have all the necessary skills.

    The next phase (which we're researching now) would introduce an additional option to route a ticket to a specific agent, with availability and capacity taken into account. We're also looking into partial-match logic, which could be useful as you described (when there's no available agent with all the right skills).

    Hi @Amber -- right now you can't build conditions based on tags because routing rules are running on creation only, and before triggers run (and tags typically need a trigger to set them). One approach, however, would be to configure the skill to use the same conditions as the tag. We're looking at ways to have routing rules run at other times as well, which would open the door to routing based on tags.

    Finally -- yes, we plan to have Skills visible and editable on the User Profile. Like many parts of Routing it's scheduled for a future iteration/release, as is bulk assignment.

    By releasing Routing before all the pieces are in place, we can get the core functionality into customers' hands right away, and gather data from you to inform how we prioritize all the other things that come after. So please keep telling us what you need for this to work best for you!

     

  • Avatar
    DJ Jimenez (Edited )

    Are these as designed or currently bugs?

    • If a ticket is updated so that it no longer meets a skill's conditions, the ticket will still require that skill until you manually remove it from the ticket.
    • If a ticket is updated so that it meets the conditions for a new skill, the ticket will not start to require that new skill until you manually add it to the ticket.

    I agree with @brendan. In our use case, the field determining each of our skills is not filled upon ticket creation. This makes the skill blank for each ticket, which makes the ticket look like a skill match for everyone. When the field is filled out, the skill still doesn't get added, so it still looks like a skill match for everyone.

    We won't be able to use this feature if the skill on a ticket doesn't update according to the ticket's current values.

  • Avatar
    Amber Barnes (Edited )

    @Kristen - Thanks for response. In regards to tag condition not being available for skilling:

    Our company actually uses a ticketing service that creates tickets automatically with tags already appended, which is how we do a majority of our routing. With the complexity of our customer support, it would be difficult to configure skills to match tagging conditions given a lot of those conditions live outside of Zendesk and are fed in from outside platforms. 

    Until the option to configure skills based off tags is available, we will not be able to adopt. 

  • Avatar
    Massimo DiDio

    if the ticket does not get automatically assigned to agents yet, how do agents know which skills we have set for them unless we specifically tell them? 

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    Kristen Mirenda (Edited )

    @DJ -- these are as designed, and we understand that the current implementation is limited and won't work for everyone.

    We're releasing Routing iteratively, and each release will meet additional use cases. It's not only expected that this doesn't work for everyone yet -- that's the reason we're sharing the feature with you so early. Your feedback will directly impact the prioritization of our backlog of enhancements. So please keep it coming!

    @Amber -- the use case of tags being applied at creation is on our radar and being prioritized according to feedback like yours. It's good to know how the current gaps impact your choice to adopt. Thank you for explaining why you are using tags!

    @Massimo -- thanks for taking your question over here! Right now, in this early release, you would need to specifically tell them. 

    However, we are adding functionality all the time, and we have a few things in the backlog that would address this. Can you tell us why you want your agents to skills you have set for them? In what context would this be useful to them? Knowing that will help us prioritize what to do first. 

     

  • Avatar
    Justin

    Some more feedback as I continue to make use of this feature.

    Ticket

    • Allow non-admins to see and/or modify the skills on a ticket

    Views

    • Add a "skills list" column to views so that we can see which skills the tickets have
    • Add a "Group by" and "Order by" skills option to views
    • Make views "Available for" agents with a type or set of skills

    Users

    • A way to add/remove skills from a user profile
    • A way to edit skills from the Admin > manage > people > groups/role section

    Reporting

    • A way to see CSAT and other ticket attributes by skill - per user, group, role, etc

     

    Looking forward to the routing portion of this feature.

    Justin

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    Graeme Carmichael

    I agree with Amber on the use of tags for routing. A tag is a strong indicator of a required skill. There is no logical reason for excluding them from ticket routing.

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    Kristen Mirenda

    Hi @Justin -- thank you! Most of those requests are already in the backlog. Our backlog is extensive so we're counting on customers to help us prioritize. Which of those is most critical for you? Can you talk about how it would help your organization?

    @Graeme -- I agree there is no logical reason, unfortunately there are technical and usability reasons for which we decided to defer that functionality. Hearing from you and Amber definitely helps us decide how to prioritize future development. If we fulfill this need, of course we'll have to defer fulfilling other ones, so we'll be weighing that tradeoff.

  • Avatar
    DJ Jimenez

    @Kristen Thanks for the explanation. Can this use case be added as an improvement? Right now we can implement a trigger-tag set that would make skills-based routing unnecessary in its current form:

    Current

    1. Skills conditions => set skill for the ticket upon creation
    2. If agent has [skill], show a check in a view under "Skill Match"

    workaround

    1. Trigger conditions => add a tag to the ticket upon creation and/or update
    2. If ticket has [tag], fill a drop-down menu called "Skill"
    3. Filter view by skills

     

  • Avatar
    Massimo DiDio

    Workaround to autoassign tickets based on skills? Set up a view might help notice which tickets require skills but i am failing to understand the purpose. It might be me but how does skill differ from groups?

  • Avatar
    Justin

    @Kristen The most critical would be,

    • Add a "skills list" column to views so that we can see which skills the tickets have.

    We currently have other non-support teams logging in to Zendesk to see out "Investigations" view. These are tickets in which are beyond the scope of support.

    In order for our team members to identify which tickets they should be selecting for investigation it would help to see these skills. 

    Some of our agents are multi-skilled, so it would also help to be able to focus on a common skill, or even filter out (or drill into) a skill so they can ignore certain skills when needed. 

     

  • Avatar
    Kristen Mirenda

    Hi @everyone -- thank you so much, all of these are being added to the backlog for investigation. Next step is to prioritize which ones to tackle first. We will probably seek to cover an additional use case completely rather than a scattershot approach to enhancement.

    @massimo -- the vision is for this to augment groups or even replace them in many cases. The benefit here is when you want to consider multiple skills in combination. For example, Tier 1 + French.

    Right now, in order to identify matching tickets, each combination of skills would require a separate group and logic to identify the match. With Skills-based routing, it's like having dynamic groups that form based on the tickets that come in.

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    Holly Zaragoza

    Just to clarify, once the routing is turned on it will take the place of what Triggers are currently doing for my company? We have triggers set to route ticket to specific agents and I have had to purchase the Round Robin app to evenly distribute. I know I am last to the party it has taken me some time to set up the skills and assign agents to each. 

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    Amber Barnes

    Sorry if this was asked already - but do we have the ability to change skills? For example, if an agent needs to do a lateral transfer to another agent - can macro or trigger unassign a skill from a ticket? If not, how does that work when transferring?

  • Avatar
    Amber Barnes

    Another question - should this work well in conjunction with Guided Mode?

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    Kristen Mirenda (Edited )

    Hi @Holly -- routing in its current state can potentially replace some triggers, particularly ones that route tickets to specific groups, who then use a group-restricted view to see their matching tickets. Instead, with Skills-Based Routing, you can have a bunch of agents working out of the same view. That view will dynamically reflect the skillsets of each agent who looks at it.  

    We don't yet offer routing to specific agents. That's in the works for the next phase, which would also address workload balancing through something like round robin.  

    @Amber -- Right now, admins can update the skills on a ticket manually. We plan to extend that ability to agents soon. We're also looking at ways to re-run the routing rules so the skill can be automatically reset. Making skills-related actions available to macros or triggers is also something we plan to do, but a bit further out. 

    This doesn't work with Guided Mode just yet, but that's the first enhancement we will release (along with a way to filter a view by skill matches). We're working on it right now. In the meantime, you can use the checkmarks to make sure your routing rules are set up correctly and doing what you expect.

  • Avatar
    Amanda Wagner

    We would like to have the option to turn off skills visibility (ie. we don't want our agents to see skills now, but would possibly like the option in the future, so it would be helpful to be able to enable/disable this feature).

  • Avatar
    Brian Green (Edited )

    Hi Amanda,

    By default, skills aren't visible to agents until you explicitly add the Skill Match column in the View's settings. Sounds like we've got your question covered, but if not let me here and I'll send over an invite to a screenshare.

  • Avatar
    Kristen Mirenda

    @Amanda -- additionally, if you're concerned about agents seeing (or editing) skills on the ticket, right now they can't. 

    Only admins can see that ticket field -- we made it available so that if you test out a routing rule and find that it's not working as expected, you can correct the skills on the ticket.

    In the near future, we will make it possible for agents to see and update skills on the ticket. But we would build in a permissions scheme first, to give you control over which agents have read-only, read/write, or no access to skills on the ticket.

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