Skills-based routing is a new Enterprise plan feature in Support. It allows admins set up "skills" -- attributes associated with individual agents and sets of ticket conditions. A view can be configured to show different matching tickets depending on who’s looking at it.
We’re releasing the feature in multiple phases, so you can get started as soon as possible.
The next release will be optimized for rolling it out broadly to agents.
The following recommendations can help you get started and get the most out of this first phase:
- Work out your skills in advance. It’ll be easier to make revisions.
- Check your skills coverage. Do you have enough agents for common skills and combinations?
- Organize skills into categories. You’ll bundle similar skills together when you set them up in Zendesk.
- Define your ticket conditions based on information present at creation. But don’t save them until they’re ready to run.
- Start with a small end-to-end test. This release gives you the tools you need.
Work out your skills in advance
A lot of setting up skills-based routing is going to be investigating, strategizing, and planning. Figuring out what skills you need, who has them, and how they can replace existing rules. We recommend you do a lot of that work offline, before you start setting things up in Zendesk. The Zendesk skills interface is pretty straightforward, but it’s always going to be easier to rearrange things in a spreadsheet or other document.
A skill can be any attribute that determines an agent’s suitability to work on a given ticket. You’re probably already thinking about these on some level, as reflected in your workflow and organizational structure.
Look at your existing configuration:
- Review your triggers, groups, and views. Which ones exist to segregate tickets to certain agents? Many of those can be replaced with skills-based routing.
- If you’re using Zendesk’s localization feature, it’ll be easy to set up Language skills. The same language detection condition used for other rules can be used for routing, too.
Look at your organization:
- Figure out what sets your agents apart from each other. Seniority? Training? Consider if you’d like to set up skills and route tickets based on those variables.
- Figure out what sets your tickets apart from each other. Is there a lot of variation?
- Talk to your team or team lead. Are there generally understood to be “go-to” or “no-go” people for certain topics?
Check your skills coverage
If there’s only one agent who has a certain popular skill or combination of skills, that agent could get overloaded pretty quick.
Work with your team lead or talk to your agents. Of the skills you determined you need, who can do what?
Did you use groups to identify skills previously? Who was in those groups? Was their workload well balanced?
Identify common skill combinations, and how many agents would have all of them. You might discover that you need to train or even hire agents to get the coverage you need.
Organize skills into categories
When you set up skills in Zendesk, you’ll be creating “skill types” first, then the specific skills. For example, “Language” is a skill type. “Spanish” is a skill.
Working this out ahead of time will make setting up skills in Zendesk a breeze. Thinking about skills at a category level could also help you identify ones that you hadn’t thought of.
Define your ticket conditions based on information present at creation
For each skill, how will Zendesk know that a ticket requires it?
In the skill setup screen, you’ll see a drop-down listing all the conditions you can use. You can choose from conditions that are typically available at ticket creation.
What is your customer declaring when they fill out a request? How do they map to skills? Custom fields and forms can be used, and are really useful for routing.
You can set up skills as placeholders, but we don’t recommend setting up conditions until you’re sure they’re right. Otherwise you risk having the wrong skills applied to tickets, and you’ll have to update them by hand.
Start with one skill type and a couple of skills that you’ve had the chance to think
Start with a small end-to-end test
Once you have a couple of skills configured and running, add yourself to them. Set up a view for yourself with a skill match column. Are you seeing checkmarks where you expect them to be? Look at the tickets. Once you’ve set up at least one skill, you’ll see a Skills box on each ticket. (Only admins can see this for now.) Are you seeing the right skills in it? If not, you can fix it right in the ticket, and then tweak your conditions to get a better result next time.
Consider asking one or two agents to do a pilot using the skills match column. Pick a view they use often, and clone it so other agents aren’t distracted by the checkmarks. How does it go?
If it works great, you can start rolling this out to more agents right away! If not, wait for our next release, which will be better optimized for how agents pull tickets from views.