With skills-based routing, you can set up "skills" and associate each one with individual agents. For each skill, you also define a set of ticket conditions. Then you configure a view that identifies which tickets match the skills of whomever's looking at it.
Before getting started, you may want to check out Best practices: Setting up skills-based routing for suggestions about how to best approach this process.
This article discusses the following topics:
Understanding skills-based routing
This section includes the following topics:
About skills and skill types
There are two elements that skills-based routing is built on: Skill types and skills .
- Skill types are simply categories for skills. For example, "Languages" is a skill type, and "French" is an individual skill. "Country" is a skill type, and "Belgium" is a skill.
- Skills are any attributes of an agent that determine their suitability to work a ticket that requires them. A skill can be something the agent is able to do, like speak French. But a skill can be any other fact about the agent, like being located in the Brussels office.
While a skill can technically exist with just a name, a skill is fully defined by:
- A name
- A set of conditions that determine when a ticket requires the skill (called routing rules)
- A set of agents who have that skill
The skills-based routing workflow
Currently, skills-based routing uses the existing paradigm where agents pull tickets from views. You can configure a view that filters tickets by skill to organize tickets so agents possessing certain skills can quickly find those tickets they are qualified to address.
The following is an overview of the steps you'll take to route tickets into useful views.
- Create skill types, to organize your skills into categories.
- Add skills to the skill types, based on your customers' needs and the skills or qualities your agents have (language, time zones, and the like).
- Identify agents' skills, and assign them to as many skills as you like.
- Build routing rules for each skill, so skills can be applied to the right tickets.
- Create a view to filter tickets based on skills, so the agent can focus on the ones they are best qualified to answer.
Skill metrics in Insights
For Insights users, there’s a pre-configured Skills dashboard that shows how skills are being used, and how they impact the tickets they’re applied to. You can build your own, custom reports using skill metrics as well.
For more information, see Analyzing skills-based reporting activity.
Skill metrics in Explore
While Explore doesn't currently have a pre-configured Skills dashboard, Explore Professional does include metrics and attributes that you can use to build your own reports.
For more information, see Metrics and attributes for Zendesk Support.
Creating skill types
You'll need to create at least one skill type before you can set up specific skills. You can create up to 10 skill types.
To create a skill type
- In Zendesk Support, click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Business Rules > Routing.
- On the Routing admin page, click the New skill type button.
- Enter a unique name for the skill type. Names cannot exceed 96 characters.
- Hit Enter. The skill type is created and added to the Routing page:
Repeat these steps for each skill type you want to create.
Adding skills to skill types
After you've created one or more skill types, you can add your specific skills. Once you've added a skill to a skill type, a new Skills ticket field appears on tickets viewed by administrators. Visibility options can be modified by Configuring the skills field viewing options.
Skills can be viewed, edited, or deleted after they've been created, and skills can be manually added or changed by an administrator on a ticket-by-ticket basis. For information on this, see Working with skills.
Each skill type can include up to 30 skills.
To add a skill to a skill type
- On the Routing admin page, locate the skill type you want to update, and click the New skill button.
- Enter a name for the new skill. Names cannot exceed 96 characters.
Note: Each skill within a skill type must have a unique name. However, skills in separate skill types can use the same name.
- Hit Enter. The skill is added to the skill type.
- Repeat until you've added all your skills to the skill type:
Assigning agents to skills
For each skill, you need to designate agents who have that skill.
There are two ways you can connect agents to skills:
Adding agents to specific skills, via the Routing admin page. This is particularly useful when assigning multiple agents to a skill at once.
Adding skills to specific agents, via the agent’s profile page. This option is good when onboarding new agents who need multiple skills assigned to them.
To assign an agent to a skills via the Routing admin page
- On the Routing admin page, click the skill type you want to open, then click the skill you want to update.
- In the Agents section, click the Manage button to display a list of all agents, and the groups they belong to:
- Locate the agents you want to assign to the skill. You can find agents in a number of ways:
- Scroll through the list of agents
- Enter an agent's name in the search box
- Filter the list of agents by group, by clicking the options icon () and selecting the group name.
- Select agents by clicking the check box to the left of their name. Once selected, agents appear in the Agents with skill list.
Note: You can add or remove up to 50 agents at a time. If you have more that 50 agents to add or remove, you'll need to make multiple updates
- When done, click the Save button.
To remove an agent from a skill via the Routing admin page
- Open the skill.
- In the Agents with skill list, locate the agent you want to remove, then click the x next to their name.
- Click the Save button.
To assign a skill to an agent via the agent's profile
- In Support, open the agent’s profile. You can do this by clicking their profile picture and selecting View profile, or clicking their name on the Manage > People admin page.
- Scroll down the profile to the Skills field in the left sidebar.
- Click in the box to open the skills picker.
- Click the skill type, then the skill, you want to assign to the agent, and repeat as needed. The skill appears in the agent’s skills list, and the agent appears as an assignee on the Skills admin page.
To remove a skill from an agent via the agent’s profile
- On the agent’s profile page, scroll down to the Skills field in the left sidebar.
- Click the x on the skill you want to remove. The skill is removed from the agent’s skills list, and the agent is removed as an assignee on the Skills admin page.
Assigning skills to tickets (building routing rules)
Each skill needs conditions defined to determine which tickets they're applied to. These sets of conditions are called routing rules. When a ticket is created that meets the conditions defined in a skill's routing rule, that skill is attached to the ticket. You can create views based on those skills to direct agents to tickets they are qualified to address.
Routing rules are applied upon ticket creation, which means:
- If a ticket is created before a routing rule is set up, it won't have that skill attached to it.
- 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.
To create a routing rule
- On the Routing admin page, click the skill type you want to open, then click the skill you want to create a routing rule for.
- In the Tickets section, click the Add condition button under Meet All of the following conditions and/or Meet Any of the following conditions.
- If you add conditions under Meet All of the following conditions, all of the conditions must be true for the skill to be applied.
- If you add conditions under Meet Any of the following conditions, one or more of the conditions must be true for the skill to be applied.
- Select a condition, a field operator, and a value for each entry.
- When all conditions are added, click the Save button.
When a skill is applied to a ticket, it appears in that ticket's sidebar.
For information on modifying these skills, see Working with skills.
Understanding how skills are applied to follow-up tickets
When a follow-up ticket is created for a closed ticket, you may notice that skills on the follow-up ticket don't always match the skills on the original ticket. Generally, when a follow-up ticket is created, it inherits data from the original ticket (see Creating a follow-up for a closed ticket). Skills are an exception to this rule.
Follow-up tickets don't inherit skills. Instead, skills are applied to the follow-up ticket based on your routing rules when the follow-up ticket is created.
Creating views with skill matches
You can create a view that includes any ticket conditions you want, then add a filter to that view, so agents see only those tickets with skill requirements that match their skills. Tickets without skills are shown to all agents.
First, you need to create the view you want to filter by skill match.
To create a view for skill-match assessment
- Open the Views admin page by clicking the Admin icon, then going to Manage > Views.
- Create a view, or clone an existing view, that covers common support requests (see Using views to manage ticket workflow).
- Optional: On the view's edit page, scroll to the Table columns section, and drag Skill match into the Columns included in table list. All tickets in the view should have a checkmark in this column; if they don’t, go back and check your view conditions. You can also use the column on its own, on any view, in lieu of the filter. This will tell the agent which tickets match their skills without actually hiding the ones that don’t.
- Update the rest of the view as needed, and click Submit.
After you’ve created the view, you can then apply the filter, so agents looking at the view will only see tickets that match their skills.
To apply a skills filter to a view
- Go to the Routing admin page.
- In the Skills match view section, use the drop-down menu to select the view you want to filter by skill.
Note: Only certain views are compatible with filtering. Incompatible views appear in the drop-down menu, but are grayed out and cannot be selected.
- Click Apply skills filter.
When a skills filter is applied to a view:
On the Views admin page, the view appears with a filter icon:
- When an agent opens the view, they’ll only see those tickets for which they match all required skills.
- When an agent uses Play mode with the view, only skills-matched tickets are displayed.
Understanding skills match view limitations
For performance reasons, there are some limitations when using views that include skills matching:
- Number of tickets assessed: If the ticket count in a skills match view includes more than 3,000 tickets, or a processing timeout occurs, all tickets will have the skills correctly applied, but some tickets may not appear in the view.
- Ticket display: Only the first 30 tickets in a skills match view are displayed, based on how your tickets are sorted. You can change the displayed tickets by changing the view’s sorting criteria.
- Skills application: Skills are applied only when tickets are created. This impacts skills-based views in two ways:
- If a ticket is updated so it no longer meets a skill’s conditions, that ticket will continue to appear in the view for the former skill match. To remove a ticket from a view when it no longer meets the skill’s conditions, you need to manually delete the skill from the ticket.
- If a skill is added to an existing ticket, it will not be added to views based on that new skill. To include that ticket in the skill-based view, you would need to re-create the ticket.
- Language skill application: Language skills are applied to a ticket based on the requester’s language, rather than the ticket language.
- No agent with matching skills: If there is no agent with the skills needed to address a ticket, that ticket will not be added to a skills-based view.
- Tickets with no skills: If a ticket has no skills applied to it, it will appear in all skills match views.
Working with skills on tickets
This section discusses the following topics related to skills that have been applied to tickets:
Configuring the skills field viewing options
As soon as you add a skill to a skill type, the Skills field appears on the left side of a ticket, along with other system and custom ticket fields:
By default, only administrators can see and update the skills field. You can configure the visibility and permissions for the skills field, so agents can view or update it as well.
To configure the skills field visibility options
- On the Routing admin page, click the Configuration icon next to the New skill type button.
- On the Manage skills on tickets modal, use the drop-down menu to select the visibility configuration you want to apply to the skills field:
- Administrators only (view and update): Administrators can view and update skills in the ticket UI. Agents cannot view or update skills.
- Administrators (view and update) and agents (view only): Administrators can view and update skills in the ticket UI. Agents can view skills in the ticket UI, but not update them.
- Administrators (view and update) and agents (view and update): Administrators and agents can view and update skills in the ticket UI.
- No one (disabled): The Skills field does not appear in the ticket UI.
- Click Save.
Viewing skills in the ticket UI
If skills are configured to appear on your ticket UI, they are displayed in the Skills field, in the ticket sidebar.
To view the skills applied to a ticket
- Locate the ticket in your ticket views.
- Click the ticket subject to open it in the main window.
- In the ticket's sidebar, locate the Skills field. The skills applied to that ticket appear here.
Adding and removing skills on a ticket
If skills are configured to be editable through your ticket UI, admins (and agents, if allowed) can update the skills applied to a specific ticket from within the ticket UI.
To add a skill to a ticket
- In the ticket's sidebar, locate the Skills field.
- Click the skills drop-down icon () to display the available skill types:
- Click the skill type containing the skill, then click the skill you want to add to the ticket.
- Repeat as needed, then submit the ticket.
To remove a skill from a ticket
- In the ticket's sidebar, locate the Skills field.
- Click the x on the skill you want to delete from the ticket.
- Submit the ticket. The skill is removed from the ticket.
Note: If you remove all skills from a ticket, it can be viewed by agents regardless of their assigned skills.