Planning agent staffing for Zendesk Suite

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  • Oscar Tobar

    Any suggestions on what reports to look at in Explore to evaluate staffing? 😀

  • Dave Dyson

    Hey Oscar, what a great question!

    Staffing of course isn't just numbers – how many agents you need can depend on many factors, including whether they have the training, tools, and information they need, if your internal policies and processes are conducive to a good agent and customer experience (while meeting the needs of the business), the quality and ease of use of your product, the quality of your documentation and self-help experience, not to mention the expectations you set for the quality of your customer service. But I think a good starting point can be to ask: "Do I have enough staff at the right times?" Here's a way to investigate that:

    First, take a look at a heatmap of median first reply time – this will show you generally at what times of the week customers are having to wait the longest: Explore recipe: First reply time heatmap

    This will show you right away if customers are having to wait longer at certain times than others (the examples shows much longer wait times on the weekend). The example in that article shows much longer wait times on weekends, so it would suggest that adding additional weekend staff could help get that wait time down – which should lead to those weekend customers being happier with the service they receive, unless of course they don't have an expectation of fast weekend service. But let's assume they're not happy with the weekend wait. How much additional staff do you need to add?

    For that you'll want to know how many tickets you're actually receiving at any given hour, so you'll want to look at another heatmap: Explore recipe: Ticket creation heatmap

    Between that and a general idea of how many tickets your agents can handle in a given hour, you should be able to make an estimate of how many additional staff you might need during the times when customers are waiting the longest.

    Hopefully this helps as a starting point. Anyone else in the community have any other ideas?

  • Hillary Latham
    Community Moderator

    Hey Oscar - we have a staffing model that pairs customers directly with assigned agents, so the things I look at and apply to a staffing model that we have are:

    • # of tickets per agent (by day/week/quarter/year)
    • # of tickets per customer (by day/week/quarter/year) - this is later mapped to the agent assignee outside of Zendesk
    • # of tickets agents take above/beyond their assigned customers
    • trends by product (which products have increasing needs/decreasing needs)
    • # tickets sent to tier 2 support
    • # of tickets that are larger projects

    Hope this helps!

  • Rob Stack
    Zendesk Documentation Team

    Hi Oscar Tobar, in addition to the great answers above, you'll find some good tips to help you plan for staffing in this article: Using the metrics that matter to improve customer support

  • Whitney Votaw


    Those are awesome metrics! Thank you so much for sharing. Looking at different staffing models to help ensure we're more properly staffed for Talk during busy times, but also increasing the length of time agents have to actually get to Support tickets so there is more of a balanced feel every day.

    I have a lot to learn with Explore, so I apologize if this is juvenile, but would you mind specifically sharing how you're calculating these two metrics? These would help me a ton!

    • # of tickets per agent (day/week/quarter/year) 
    • # of tickets sent to Tier 2 support
  • Gab Guinto
    Zendesk Customer Care

    Hi Whitney,

    You create a query with the native Tickets metric and then slice your data by the attribute Assignee name. You can then add the default date attributes under Rows/Columns such as Ticket created - Day of week, - Week of Year, - Quarter, and Ticket created - Year.

    About tracking escalations – you can create a report using the Ticket updates dataset. Here is an Explore recipe that you can use as guide: Tracking ticket assigns across groups.

  • Pablo Payet


    Closed ticket is not a good metrics to assess agent performance on Zendesk at all.

    Note that a ticket can only counted as solved 1 time. This means that no matter how often it reopens, it will only be counted as solved 1 time. Secondly, if agent A solve a ticket on day 1 on that agent B solves it again on day 2, it will count as solved only for agent B.
    So basically, anytime you will look at the past on how many tickets were solved by X agent, you will get a different number as it depends on how often and when it will reopen, and who will then solve it for the last time.

    This is also a problem when you want to define your staffing need. Usually I would see how long it take to close a ticket ( AHT), and apply to the number of tickets expected. But then you also need to know how often a ticket will reopen and require to be solved (additional AHT). This is very complicated.

    Anyone can comment here or support please?

  • Gab Guinto
    Zendesk Customer Care
    Hi Pablo,
    Under the Updates history dataset, you can build reports to count the number of times a ticket was placed in solved status (Resolutions), and depending on your workflows, you can you slice the metric by Updater name (the user who submitted the status change) or Update ticket assignee (the assignee during that update).

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