One of the best ways to increase agent efficiency and streamline your support tasks is to use routing options to manage your ticket workflows. Zendesk provides a number of business rules and routing options to make sure your tickets get to the right agent as quickly as possible. You can either configure a "push" routing model, which assigns tickets to agents, or a "pull" model, where agents assign work to themselves. This article explains these options and how they can be combined to meet your unique needs.
This article contains the following topics:
- About the standard Zendesk ticket routing framework
- Understanding the routing models
- Understanding other business rules and configuration options that influence routing behavior
Before choosing which routing solutions or business rules to use, see Best practices: Planning your routing workflow.
About the standard Zendesk ticket routing framework
When you create an account, you can start receiving support requests right away using the default support email address created during the registration process. All support requests sent to your account, via email or another channel, automatically become tickets in your system. Zendesk provides standard views and triggers that work together to create a basic routing framework for tickets.
Without any configuration beyond the initial registration process, the standard triggers and views work together so that every new and updated ticket appears in at least one view and triggers at least one notification.
- Your unsolved tickets
- All unsolved tickets
- Recently updated tickets
- Notify requester and CCs of received request
- Notify all agents of received request
In this basic framework, agents can use the trigger notifications and views to assign tickets to themselves or tickets can be assigned to them manually.
Understanding the routing models
In the simplest workflows, fine-tuning the standard views and triggers might provide sufficient routing. However, even simple workflows can benefit from more advanced routing logic. There are two types of routing models you can configure: "push" models, which assign tickets to agents, or a "pull" models, where agents assign work to themselves.
- Push routing models:
- Omnichannel routing: Route email (including web form, side conversations, and API), messaging conversations, and calls based on agent status and capacity. On Professional and Enterprise plans, you can also route tickets based on priority and skills. On all plans, you can run triggers against new tickets from all channels, and you can use triggers to set and manage skills on tickets. See About omnichannel routing with unified agent status and Using skills with omnichannel routing.
- Round robin: A way to assign tickets by rotating through your agents. Round robin ticket management ensures tickets are distributed evenly among agents, but doesn't consider ticket complexity or expertise requirements. You can use the Round Robin app to build a round robin workflow.
- Manual ticket assignment: Manually triage tickets and assign them to your agents. This works best for small teams with low-volume ticket queues. This routing model is best used in conjunction with other business rules and configuration options.
- Pull routing models
- Play mode: Play mode allows agents to click through a view using the play button and be assigned to the next available ticket automatically. Play mode can be restricted to only display tickets from a specific view and, on Enterprise plans, admins can configure Guided mode so agents are only allowed to access tickets using the Play button. See Using the Play button and Using a Play button-centered workflow.
- Standalone skills-based routing: Skills are agent attributes that determine an agent's suitability to work a ticket that requires them. Skills can be used as a standalone routing method, where agents use filtered views to assign tickets with matching skills to themselves, or as part of omnichannel routing (push method). See About using skills to route tickets.
- Manually self-assigning tickets from views: Allow agents to assign tickets directly to themselves from views. Letting agents choose their own work at their own pace can work well for some small teams, but can quickly become unmanageable.
Deciding whether to use omnichannel routing
Omnichannel routing is Zendesk's most sophisticated and complete routing solution. It provides consistent routing logic across the email (including web form, side conversations, and API), Messaging, and Talk channels. Tickets are assigned to agents based on their availability and capacity. On Professional plans and above, tickets can also be routed based on priority and skills. Using omnichannel routing also means agents can set a single unified status for all channels rather than setting statuses for each channel separately.
When using omnichannel routing, tickets are created as soon as a request enters the queue from any channel. This means triggers can be run on all channels, including Talk. Additionally, omnichannel routing enables you to use triggers to assign skills to tickets. This means skills can be automatically updated when tickets are created or updated, not just upon creation.
- Omnichannel routing has some requirements and limitations to be aware of before choosing this routing solution.
- What Zendesk account plan do you have? See the Summary of features by plan to ensure you'd have access to the functionality you want to use.
- The size of your organization. Omnichannel routing will provide increased efficiency at any scale, but especially for larger and more complex organizations.
- The channels through which you receive tickets. Even if you only use one of the channels supported by omnichannel routing, it can still be a great fit as your routing solution. However, it also means simpler routing solutions could also work well for you.
- The business rules you already have in place to help route tickets. Standard triggers and views provide a simple, but effective routing framework. You may have added new ones or modified the originals. Are those business rules accomplishing what you want? What, specifically, are you looking to address by considering alternative routing solutions?
If, on the other hand, you want to use routing solutions such as standalone skills-based routing, play mode, or some custom solution, revisit the list of tools and configuration options you can use.
Understanding other business rules and configuration options that influence routing behavior
- Support addresses: By default, you have one email address for users to submit tickets to. Using multiple Support email addresses provides a way to route tickets based on the email address the customer used to contact support. See A complete guide to understanding email in Zendesk: How the email channel works and Adding support addresses for users to submit tickets.
- Ticket forms: A predefined set of ticket fields for support requests. Using multiple ticket forms provides a way to collect more specialized information from customers and then route tickets based on the ticket form that the customer used. See Creating multiple ticket forms, Presenting ticket forms to end users, and Adding custom fields to your tickets and support requests forms. (Suite Growth and above or Support Enterprise)
- Views: A way to organize tickets based on certain criteria. You can think of them as containers for your tickets. A single ticket can appear in multiple views or no views at all. When you begin using Support, every ticket appears in at least one standard view. You also define targeted views, which allows agents to self-assign tickets from a pre-filtered set of tickets in their view. See Creating views to manage ticket workflow and Best practices for creating views.
- Triggers: Business rules that perform actions whenever a ticket is created or updated. They can send notifications and modify ticket properties. See About triggers and how they work and About the standard Support triggers.
- Automations: Business rules that perform actions when time events occur after a ticket property was set or updated rather than immediately upon the ticket being created or updated. Similar to triggers, they can send notifications and modify ticket properties. See About automations and how they work and About the standard Support automations.
- Channels: The way you communicate with your customers and can be used as a condition in triggers to route tickets based on the channel through which it was received. See About Zendesk channels.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs): An agreed upon measure of the response and resolution times that your support team delivers to your customer. SLAs can be used as conditions in views and automations to reroute and prioritize tickets based on service promises made to customers. See Defining and using SLA policies and Leveraging SLAs to drive team performance. (Professional and Enterprise)
- Custom ticket fields: You can customize your ticket forms and web forms to require certain information from customers before a ticket is accepted into the queue or you can add custom ticket fields to the tickets themselves. Then you can use that information as conditions in business rules to route tickets.