We are all adjusting to doing business and supporting our customers during COVID-19. To help you, we’ve compiled some recommendations to help you get the most out of your Zendesk products during this pandemic. This article includes tips for Support, Guide, Chat, Talk, and Explore.
Be sure to see all our resources for doing remote support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please share your own recommendations and tips in the comments, so we can all help one another during this time.
Alert customers during high volume
If you're dealing with an increased volume of tickets, it's a good idea to keep your customers informed. Add alert banners or send messages to let users know that you're dealing with a high volume and there might be a delay, but you're doing your best.
- Update your notification triggers for received requests to let customers know you're experiencing high volume. Be sure to point them self-service resources in the meantime, if you have any. See How do I edit the automatic response sent to someone who submits a ticket.
- Edit your pre-chat form to customize the greeting during high chat periods. See Enabling the pre-chat form.
- Add a notification banner to your help center to let users know you are experiencing high volume. You might also use a banner to highlight important resources or FAQs related to the ticket spike. See Adding a notification banner to your help center. (Zendesk Suite Growth and above, Zendesk Support Professional and Enterprise only)
- Adjust your business hours or operating hours to set customer expectations if you have limited agent availability. See Setting your schedule with business hours and holidays and Creating a schedule with operating hours for Chat. (Zendesk Suite Growth and above, Zendesk Support Professional and Enterprise only)
- Improve your customer communication in tickets by striking a balance of brevity, thoroughness, and personality. See Enhance your customer communication with media.
Improve collaboration for remote teams
You might be used to working with distributed teams, but even the most experienced virtual teams are probably facing added challenges if your workforce is 100% working from home now. It's important to make sure they have the tools to collaborate and communicate effectively.
- Use CCs, followers, and @mentions to add internal and external users to your ticket conversations. See Using CCs, followers and @mentions and CCs and followers resources.
- Use side conversations to get more people involved in a ticket. This enables agents to pull in other people, or even a specific group or department, for an issue or process and centralize communications within the ticket. See About side conversations. This feature requires the Collaboration features for Support.
- Install the Slack for Zendesk Support integration if your company uses Slack for internal communication. The integration enables you to interact with Zendesk Support tickets in your Slack channels. See Installing the Slack for Zendesk Support integration.
Surface high-priority tickets
While you're experiencing spikes in ticket volume, you want to make sure your team stays focused on the high-priority ticket and that nothing slips through the cracks.
Try these things:
- Create a view to surface high-volume ticket topics. A targeted view can help you quickly clear the queue of high-volume tickets when you experience a sudden spike in tickets. You can create a view focused on one kind of ticket so your agents can quickly power through. See Creating views to manage ticket workflow.
- Use SLAs to prioritize your tickets and alert your team when tickets are about to breach an SLA. See Defining and using SLA policies and How to alert your team when tickets are nearing an SLA breach. (Zendesk Suite Growth and above, Zendesk Support Professional and Enterprise)
Implement and improve self-service options
If you aren't currently offering self-service for your customers, now is good time to get started to offset any ticket spikes you're dealing with. It'll enable customers to quickly get important information and answers relevant to this unusual time, without filing a ticket with you. And if you already have a help center for self-service, and you're looking to optimize your self-service, there are some tools that might help you with that.
- Set up a help center so that customers can get answers without filing a ticket, if you don't already have one. You can set up a lightweight self-service offering with important articles, announcements, and FAQs for this peak time period. Don't worry if you don't have a beautifully customized help center or a robust selection of articles. You can do that later. See Getting started with Guide.
- Create a COVID-19-specific announcement article or community topic in an existing help center to answer customer questions. Customers might need a place to ask general questions or read what your business and others are doing. Be sure to promote the link on your help center home page, company website, ticket notifications, social media, and so on.
- Embed a Web Widget in your website so that your customers can self-serve, if possible, or reach out to you using any of your supported channels, all from one place. You can quickly enable Web Widget (Classic) with a basic configuration and add it to your website or help center for now, then customize it later when you have time. See Using Web Widget (Classic) to embed customer support in your website.
- (Answer Bot) Enable Answer Bot to answer customer questions with articles and reduce the ticket volume for your agents. Answer Bot uses machine learning to answer tickets with articles from your knowledge base. If you don't already have Answer Bot, you can easily start a trial and set it up to help with your ticket volume. See Quickstart guide for Answer Bot.
- Use Content Cues to analyze support ticket trends and determine which articles to create or update to improve self-service and address ticket volume. See Reviewing suggested support topics in Content Cues. (Zendesk Suite Enterprise and Enterprise Plus, Zendesk Support Enterprise only)
Optimize your Chat and Web Widget (Classic) setup
During periods of high visitor traffic, you might want to update your widget configuration to optimize performance for high chat visitor traffic.
- (API) Use the connectOnPageLoad Web Widget API setting to optimize chat for better performance. This setting defers the chat connection until a visitor interacts with the Web Widget (Classic) By deferring the connection, the volume of concurrent chat connections across your website is reduced. This helps ensure a better experience during periods of high traffic.
There are some trade-offs and potential impacts to consider when deferring the chat connection so be sure you understand the best configuration for your use case. See Optimizing chat and Web Widget (Classic) performance and ConnectOnPageLoad configuration best practices for common chat use cases.
Monitor your metrics and high-priority tickets
While you're experiencing spikes in ticket volume and working with a remote team, it's more important than ever to keep an eye on your daily metrics to see how things are going and make adjustments as needed.
Try these things:
- Review the Explore pre-built reporting dashboards daily to monitor critical data for all your channels and your team. See Understanding dashboards.
- Analyze key Support data and make adjustments to improve your metrics. Keep an eye on areas where you are exceeding expectations or areas that might need some work. Understand how to interpret the important metrics and know what to do based on what you're seeing. See Using the metrics that matter to improve customer support.
- Create a custom report compare ticket volume from one day to the next. A common request we've been receiving, as things continue to change rapidly during this pandemic, is how to compare the volume of tickets between two date ranges. You can create an Explore report to do that, and you can modify the query for other data to suit your own business needs. See Comparing today's ticket volume to yesterday's.
Ensure agents have what they need
Your agents are on the front lines, and a lot of them are adjusting to dealing with customers all day while being in a new environment. We have a few agent tips to help them adjust. We're sure there are more—so please share agent tips in the comments.
Try these things:
- Use the Support and Chat mobile apps to work from anywhere. You might not have the perfect work setup right now or you might not always be able to get to your laptop, so agents can use the mobile apps for Support or Chat, wherever they are. See About the Zendesk Support mobile app and How does the Chat mobile app work.
- Set your chat status when you're available or away. If you're a chat agent, be sure to set your status to indicate when you're available, away, or invisible. See Setting your chat availability status.
- Set up your home work environment. A key ingredient in your home setup is your headset. We have some recommendations, based on our experience. While you're at home, you might also want to forward calls to a personal phone instead of using your browsers. See Preparing to use Zendesk Talk: Choosing the right headset and How do I take calls on a personal or desk phone.