Announcing a new away state for Zendesk Talk agents

Have more questions? Submit a request


  • LaKell L. (SkySlope Support)

    Great update! It would be great if we could add an auto-away feature as well, a common issue that we ( and I'm sure others) face is agents sometimes forgetting to put themselves offline, and keeping them in the queue. If an agent misses x amount of calls they should automatically be placed away and out of the queue. 

  • Karen Lam

    I second LaKell's comment as well, it's definitely a pain point. Optionally, if there was an easier way to see the Talk Dashboard within Support then this would be useful (i.e. so all agents can easily see status without toggling).

  • Aron Spegon

    I third LaKell L.'s comment. A missed call should instantly push the agent into an Away status. In addition, we absolutely NEED total Online Time and total Away time as a reporting metric in Gooddata to hold agents accountable.

  • Kasper B. Christensen

    Will you please, please consider making it possible to transfer calls to agents that are "Away", so that this can compensate for the fact, that you cannot transfer calls to agents that are "Offline"?

    I know we are not the only company looking for the possibility to transfer calls to agents, who are not active in the queue. This could be the solution. Please, let it be.

  • Stephen Belleau

    +1 to Kasper's point - this is something that would be great to have a checkbox setting for "Allow transfer to Agents with status: Away".

  • Robert McGinn

    Hi all,

    Thank you for the kind feedback and suggestions for feature improvement, it’s much appreciated.

    The discussion regarding an admin configurable auto-away feature capability is something we’ve heard and will take on board.

    The Away state has been designed for agents that are currently not at their desks. It was not designed in mind to be a solution for call transfer. We prioritised the Away state ahead of a Transfer state. For Transfer, the workaround is to set the Agent’s status to Online and exclude them from groups that calls are routed to.

    As you know we do not currently send agent data detail to Insights or Explore. In future we do want to show agent level data in Explore, we are in active discussions as to how we can get there.


    Robert McGinn

    Talk Product Development

  • A.J. Bouchard

    @Robert - Thank you for your transparent response.

    To piggyback on this discussion, I wanted to say that I see this new "Away" state as an opportunity in the future to have the Chat product speak to Talk so that if an agent is "Online" for both phone and live chats and they serve a new chat message, then their Talk status is automatically set to "Away" (rather than having the agent remember to do this manually).

  • Kasper B. Christensen


    Thanks for the response. I hope you know, that the transfer workaround isn't really a viable solution, as it would leave us having to switch agent groups multiple times during the day. Agents can't do this themselves, so we would have to have supervisors on the floor at all times to switch groups when necessary.

    This workaround only functions well if you have a group of team leads / supervisors / 2nd level something, which you need to transfer to every once in a while, but who are not taking calls from the queue. It does not work for transferring to agents, who are taking calls from queue some periods of the day, and other periods not.

  • Chris Tout

    We also desire some kind of auto-away feature, whether that triggers automatically when the account is locked or the computer becomes unresponsive for example - in addition to missing X number of calls.

    Thanks for the updates.

  • Joan Ling

    This is a great additional feature, thank you Zendesk.

    I also, second A.J. Bouchard suggestion, this is a feature that we would love to see introduced.

  • Christine DeVille

    This is a great enhancement.  I've managed call centers for many years and find it extremely challenging to manage staff with only two statuses.

    I also agree with Aron Spegon:  we absolutely NEED total Online Time and total Away time as a reporting metric in Gooddata to hold agents accountable.

  • Chelsea Rae Hayman

    Question around Routing:

    So we have 4 groups/teams and 4 numbers and are 24/7.  Callers select a topic, and it routes to that group.  If no one from that team answers or is online, we have a 5th overflow group that is EVERYONE is in.

    If everyone from a group is Offline, calls currently go to the overflow group.  If everyone is now on Offline OR Away, will they still go over to the overflow group? Or will they stay queued in the original group's queue until the max wait time?

  • Veronica Aponte

    Is it in the works to send agent states for available and away to insights? This is a really great feature and seems a bit odd that we would not be able to pull reports for this.

  • Peter Rifkind

    Second Veronica's request.  It's a bit silly you can't report on how long agents spend out of the queue.

  • Ian Smith

    Just here to echo two requests:

    • Reporting on Total Online Time in Gooddata by agent
    • Auto-offiline/away for agents who have missed a few calls in a row
  • Michael Laughlin

    This is a great step, and definitely one of the pain-points we had. Are there any plans to add custom statuses? With our current system we have statuses of "Working on Project" and "Lunch", so that at a glance we can see WHY an agent is away. Being able to add custom statuses (even if the function is the same as "Away", just with custom text and custom # of statuses) would be great for us, and I'm sure plenty of other companies.

  • Joan Ling

    Agree with Michael's point above, it would be great to be able to add custom statuses.  Hopefully, this is the next step.

  • Kelsey H

    Couple questions about behavior of the new state

    1) Can you make outbound calls while set Away? I assume not, but just to be sure
    2) Can you be transferred calls while set away? Again, assuming not, but want to be sure.

  • Melissa Johnston

    Curious if others would use "Away" for lunches and breaks of if "offline" is what you would still use. 

    I also have reps who are taking only chat and emails so they go "offline" which seems odd because they are still working so perhaps "Away" would be better but for lunches and would be great to have that defined.

    I'm sure I can work it out anyway I want but just curious what others are considering.


    Online = Available Phones

    Away = Not available to take calls but still working

    Lunch/Break = Not working at all but time track-able

    Offline = Clocked out

  • Oliver Tietze

    Adding to Melissa's analysis I'd say that "Not Available" is what most people ask for.

    • Online = ready for Queue
    • Not Available = not ready for Queue, but at the desk, can be transferred to, person could recognize the Queue and go Online to pick up when needed
    • Away = physically away but just temporarily - not ready for Queue AND Queue should see them as "offline" (due to Zendesk logic = they are not at there desk, why now fill the queue if all are "away" (let's say: during a evacuation practice :) ... makes no sense
      Honestly, this status would make the sole difference of telling the team: "it's worth waiting until this agent will be back", so "Do not disturb" could be the real meaning, too.
    • Offline = gone for good, see you tomorrow
  • Diane Chau

    Hi, could we not have the "Total Online Time" metric to include "Away Time" please? I think the whole premise for having a separate "Away Time" status, is so that we could separately extract reports that measure "Away Time" on its own. It would be nice to have a separate column in the Talk Dashboard that simply displays "Away Time". Is this something that Zendesk can easily build into the Talk Dashboard?

  • Jenny Gillett


    Thank you all for taking the time to post your comments, feedback and requests. It’s a Product Manager’s dream to have such engaged customers that want to help drive the direction of where we should take our product next.

    We have begun scoping and designing the next iteration of agent states with focus on agents that need to set and manage their status across multiple channels.

    If this sounds like your use case, we would love to talk to you to get a deeper understanding of the pain points in our current system and what your ideal agent experience would look like.

    Interested in participating?  Just fill out some details in our sign up form and we will email you to arrange a time to talk.



  • Oliver Tietze

    @Jenny the survey asks for a numerical value for the "subdomain" field. This can't work. :)

  • Jenny Gillett

    Ah ha! Good catch Oliver, that should be fixed now. Thanks for letting me know. 

  • Melissa Blanding

    Regarding the reporting options for "Away" time...   until we have a status for breaks/ lunch will it be possible to add the option to report on the away time in Insights?      The total time doesn't do us much good but if we could see, for example, that an agent was away from 12:30-1pm and then another away period from 4:15-4:30 we could at least make some educated guesses on the away time usage.


Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk