Using skills-based routing (Enterprise)

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45 Comments

  • Wouter van Gessel
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    I'm missing some explanation in the articles, what will happen if a ticket matches a Skill. The article doesn't say if the ticket is then assigned to an agent, a group of agents, or what business rules can be attached. 

    What if we create a business rule that all French tickets should go to our two French colleagues: How will this show up in their Zendesk views? What happens if both colleagues are on leave, can other agents still see tickets? I'm missing an example of a business rule in the explanation. Hope you can help! :)

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  • Matt Savage
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    Piggybacking on Wouter's comment ^ as it seems we're going in a similar direction.  I also don't understand the specifics of where/how the routing occurs here and how it meshes with existing triggers/automations.  

    I'd also like to see (either manually or via machine learning) some way of estimating capacity in the routing, via some method similar to agile story points.  In the above scenario, if there are 2 French agents, it'd be incredibly helpful if the system could attempt to route a ticket to whichever one is a) available, b) has the most free capacity, and/or c) failover to some other location (i.e. a group) if neither agent can presently handle it.

    Can you provide more info on why skills aren't reevaluated on update like trigger conditions?  The scenario I foresee is: customer fills out a contact form, selecting the wrong product/value --> Skill A is set.  Agent w/ Skill A updates the ticket w/ correct product/value, which would then match Skill B instead (which they may not have).  What's the utility of keeping Skill A set when the ticket has now been identified as needing Skill B?  I understand this may be a limitation set for the early version of this feature to keep it simple but it seems like it'll be problematic in more complex routing scenarios, especially for internal transfers between teams (e.g. Support <--> Billing).

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  • Tom
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    If we're more and more going to use Views for agents to see what they need to be working on, rather than the home 'Tickets requiring your attention', it would be useful if we could replace 'Tickets requiring your attention' with a (custom) View, that is shown to the Agent in place of the default 'Tickets requiring your attention'.

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Hi @justin -- a ticket can absolutely have multiple skills assigned to it! That's what makes skills-based routing especially powerful. An agent will be considered a match for a ticket if they have all the skills that ticket requires. So in the example you gave, an agent that only has "Mandarin" and not "Refund" would not be considered a match (in the future we will be looking at partial match logic). 

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  • Sean Starwind
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    It seems as though, at the moment, we can only set 1 view for skills match on the routing settings page?

    Are there any plans to allow this to be set on more than one view?

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  • Alex Aguilar
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    Can agent skills be updated/changed via api?

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Hi @andrew and @will -- I could not agree more! Both direct routing (assigning) to agents and partial skill match are part of the vision for the future. We're building this out one layer at a time. We know this version isn't optimal for all use cases, but we wanted to release it as soon as we had an end-to-end solution, rather than hold back completely until the feature is "done" (there's no such thing anyway). This approach allows us to provide something useful and lets us gather real usage data to inform our next iteration.

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    It's all good @will -- this is part of the learning.

    We conceived of a "skill match" as answering the question, "does the agent have all the skills needed to take this ticket?" -- that's why a ticket with no skills will match everyone.

    If you want to disqualify tickets from skills matching, could you work with the conditions on the view where you put the column? Would you also mind talking a little about the use case for disqualifying tickets to help us understand what you’re trying to do?

    --

    @tom -- That's similar to the direction we're heading. We found that not a lot of customers made use of 'Tickets requiring your attention' however -- how are you using it?

    --

    @paul -- We envision this as a replacement for some (actually, a lot of) triggers. We also envision it as a replacement for some groups that exist solely to segregate the tickets a particular agent can work on. We are working towards direct agent assignment as part of automated routing, but you will always be able to use triggers in concert with routing rules if you so choose.

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Hi @Wes! Good spot -- I think perhaps you saw a premature update that was briefly/mistakenly live. So I might as well tell you what's coming!

    As mentioned in the announcement a few weeks ago, we're working on a setting to configure whether the skills box does or doesn't show up on the ticket form for admins. The use case here is when the admin has tried out SBR but decided not to roll it out. This will provide a way to make that box go away if you're not using it.

    In the course of implementing that, we realized that we could probably use this setting to cover view/update options for both admins and agents. So we went for it, even though it's solving a different problem. We will test it out in beta first.

    However, we've decided to hold back just for now on the update option for agents. Because we're also working on the ability to re-run routing rules on a ticket, and we want to think about automatic and manual updates together. 

    So when we do release this configurable setting in the coming month(ish), initially the options will be:

    1. Admins see an editable skills box, agents see a view-only version. 
    2. Admins see an editable skills box, agents see nothing.
    3. Nobody sees anything.

    We didn't want to pile too many use cases on this one enhancement. But soon we'll take the next step and test a solution to the additional need that you described.

    At this stage in our evolution, Zendesk workflow has reached a level of complexity where we want to be careful introducing changes, especially to agents. Doing it incrementally gives us room to test use cases separately and more easily unwind if we need to.

    TL;DR: we well are on our way to allowing agents to update skills on tickets, via incremental steps to allow us to get it right.

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  • Melysa Cheatham
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    Has there been any development on Zendesk pushing tickets to the agents instead of the agents pulling tickets to themselves?

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Thank you so much for the feedback! We're working on augmenting this documentation with some additional info. In the meantime, hopefully this will help.

    This is the first iteration of this feature, and it doesn't yet cover all the use cases we plan to support over the coming months.

    For now, we retain the "pull" paradigm of agents taking tickets from views. To show agents which tickets match their skills, add a "Skill match" column to the view. If the agent looking at the view has all the skills required by a ticket, that ticket will have a checkmark next to it.

    The next release will offer a filtered experience that will work with Play mode. Therefore, for many customers, this version of Skills-based routing is best suited to the time-consuming task of setting up and testing new routing flows. We've published some best practices to guide you.

    In addition to seeing how tickets are matched to an agent, you can see which skills were applied to a specific ticket, and update them if needed. Only admins can do this right now. This will help you QA and troubleshoot your new routing rules.

    Routing rules run before triggers, and for now on ticket creation only. Manually updating skills on the ticket is the only way to change them. We do not currently re-run routing rules on ticket update to ensure ticket update performance isn't compromised, but that use case (essentially, "re-routing") is one of the things we're working on for a future release.

    Additionally, we're working on a "push" paradigm of routing tickets directly to agents, which would likely entail a way to ensure that they're going to agents who are available and not overloaded. 

    There's some more information about our plans for Routing in the launch announcement. This is just the first step in a long journey!

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Just a note that @Massimo's question has been answered in the comments of the release announcement, where we're currently funneling the discussion.

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  • Will Ginsberg
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    @kristen mirenda -- there needs to be an ability to show the skill match column as checked if the agent has ANY of the skills on the ticket (not ALL) of the skills. It's also really frustrating that if a given ticket doesn't have any skills applied that the ticket is shown as checked in the skill match column. 

    As of right now I don't see a clear way to:

    a) Assign a specific skill to an agent for a specific ticket topic

    b) Without assigning skills to all tickets (so that all tickets don't appear as checked, because ticket MUST have a skill in order to appear unchecked in "Skill match" otherwise they're shown as checked)

    Because of (b) I need to assign a skill to all tickets we receive that has no agents assigned, BUT because agents must have ALL skills assigned and I can't assign agents to the "mass skill" that I applied that means that the "Skill match" column never appears checked. 

    Just to simplify in case it helps...

    Let's assume you have two skills. Skill one applies to every ticket received (so that they don't all appear as skill matched because they lack a skill), skill two applies to tickets with specific criteria. Skill one has no agents assigned and skill two has one agent assigned. 

    Because of the fact that agents must have ALL of the skills and the agent assigned skill two but isn't assigned skill one, they never see skill match. 

    Super frustrating! If every ticket without a skill wasn't checked as skill matched you'd solve a lot of headache and this product would work. 

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  • Antonio Naddeo
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    We have different departments and we use ticket groups to reassign a ticket to a different department: a group for each department (Support, Billing, Tech). I thought that Skills Routing would be a great way to get rid of the several groups and using the simpler set of skills to assign a ticket to a different department (support , billing, tech support etc). After playing a bit with the tool I think that skills routing cannot be used for escalating tickets. 

    I understand that skill routing only works on ticket creation, so if a new ticket comes in and agent need to assign manually to a different department using skills routing, this is just not possible because:

    1. Agents cannot manually edit the skills, only admin can change the skills on the ticket, what is the point of this?

    2. Skills do not work when the ticket is simply updated, so even if we were to create a field called "escalate to billing" to be manually selected by the agent who wants to assign the ticket to a different supporting group it would not work because skills to do not work on tickets updates. 

    Am I missing anything?

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  • Justin
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    I have a use case that may not have been considered. 

    Can a ticket have multiple skills assigned to it?

    For example lets say that I have the "Mandarin" language skill, and the "Refund" skill. Both are different skill types but may be present on a ticket.

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  • Ola Timpson
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    Will we be able to apply a Skills filter to multiple views at some stage? This feature could work really well for us, as we have agents within teams covering different products, but I really need to filter 3 different views on skills match.

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Thank you for all your questions -- it's great to see so much interest in the feature! Obviously we can't do everything at once, and some of your asks are complex or have a lot of interdepedencies. But we do take them into account on balance against the many other product requests we receive.

    As of today,

    @Pauli -- using skills in triggers is not currently planned. Having one rule kick off another gets pretty complicated. We hope that routing rules can replace many triggers, however. We are also looking at ways that routing rules can be re-run after ticket creation so the rule may be applied later in the ticket lifecycle as triggers are.

    @Ola -- we hear you and it's on the backlog, but it's highly cross-dependent with work on the Views feature that would be needed in order to accommodate it. I don't have a timeline for you right now.

    @Melysa -- we are moving in that direction and it also involves a lot of cross-product coordination and prioritization. I don't have a timeline for you either, but it is part of the ultimate vision as of now.

    In the meantime, I hope the newly launched ability to have agents update skills on a ticket is helpful to your desired workflows! https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360025120514

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  • Oliver Tietze
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    Masha Patrakova as far as I learned "no conditions" is not possible for SBR. You have to set at least one condition to assign that skill to the ticket. 

    Skill rules are, as far as I know, ALL processed, because multiple skills could be set. But not sure on that. Contact your Zendesk Customer Success Manager to know for sure and roll out the rules you need ;)

    Oliver

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  • Krysta Privoznik
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    Hi! We set up a language skills based trigger based on website URL, but are not seeing that it is being applied in Zendesk for offline and maybe online chats too. Is someone able to assist us to ensure we set this up correctly?

    Thank you!

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  • Aimee Spanier
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    Hi, all. The article has been updated to (hopefully) clarify some key points, and better reflect the current functionality. Leave comments if you have any other questions or clarifications. Thanks!

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  • Andrew Checkley
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    Same as others above, I have tried playing with it in sandbox and although setup as described no routing occurs ?

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Hi @amber, it depends on which ticket field you're looking for. Not all of them were included -- generally we included ones that were available or relevant on ticket creation. Custom fields should be supported as well. If you're looking for a newish custom field you might try a hard refresh on the admin UI. 

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  • Massimo DiDio
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    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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  • Stassa Miller
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    This setup means I need to turn off the triggers set to route tickets in order for skills-based routing to route the tickets?

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    Hi @Martjun -- ideally, but we don't have a delivery plan yet as it's still just in the backlog.

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  • Davide Spiezio
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    @kristen, is there any news about the feature to let also Agents can modify Skills on the ticket? 

    It would be really useful for us in our organization. It is also either good to have the Skills to be dynamic. 
    Example we have 2 fields that will be implemented in Skills route (Product Area and Category). In my tests in Sandbox, once a skill is assigned at ticket opening (Based on Product and Category), skill will not change if an Agent manually modify Product Area and/or Category. 

    So our needs as of now are:

    1. Agents can modify manually Skills on opened tickets.

    OR

    2. Skills are modified dynamically if the Fields set in the Skills route are changed. 

    Option 1 would be good as well, if you can have also option 2 is even better (And still having view-only permission for Agents).

    Do you think we can also set Custom triggers for option 2?

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  • Andrew Checkley
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    Looks good, but needs automatic intelligent routing. i.e. assigning to the appropriate person at point of raise. if multiple matches then assign to the agent with the least amount requests taking into account current state of assigned tickets and SLA 

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  • Au Finh Saechao
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    Oliver Tietze great points!

    We had the same problem with that last bullet point. There is a check mark for all tickets that don’t have a skill. This is by design, but I still don’t quite understand the rationale.

    Great to know about the other use cases you just listed out.

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  • Kristen Mirenda
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    There's been such great feedback in the comments sections of a few different articles relating to the current release of Skills-Based Routing. 

    We'd love to have most of that happening in one place, and we think the release announcement makes the most sense.

    So if you'd like to provide input, please do it there! It'll be easier for us to respond, and you'll be able to see and engage with others' ideas as well. 

    Thank you -- we're so grateful for your feedback. It's one of the main reasons we're taking an iterative approach, which gives us the chance to take it into consideration while we're still designing and planning. Keep it coming! (Just, over there.) 

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  • Amber Barnes
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    When configuring skill conditions, we are missing ticket fields in the drop down options. Why is this? Are some excluded for a reason?

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