Omnichannel routing enables you to prioritize and route work items, including calls, to the best agent based on their availability and capacity. You can also use triggers, tags, and ticket fields to make changes to the destination groups and priorities. Agents can also set a single unified status across multiple Zendesk channels (Support, Talk, and Messaging).
If you’re new to omnichannel routing, start by reading About omnichannel routing with unified agent status.
Benefits to using omnichannel routing for calls
Examples of popular use cases that can be addressed include:
- Prioritize calls for VIP or Gold customers
- Route calls based on the country code of callers to specific groups
- Certain calls should be answered by a specified group of agents
Additional benefits include:
Ability to view tickets for calls still waiting in the queue within Support views: Currently, a call ticket gets created when an agent has picked up the call. With omnichannel routing, call tickets are created when a call goes into the queue, giving an opportunity to view details about the waiting call. This allows you to set up a view in Support to show only call tickets.
Ability to prioritize calls: Instead of first-in-first-out, calls can be routed based on priority (Professional and Enterprise plans only).
Ability to run triggers on incoming calls: Since tickets are created when a call goes into the queue, triggers can be run on them at that time, for example to change the priority or destination group.
- Route calls to agents more than once: Currently, if an agent misses a call once, the same call is not offered to the agent again, leading to missed calls or calls going to voicemail even if agents are available. With omnichannel routing, the call will keep being offered to available agents in a round-robin fashion until the maximum queue waiting time expires.
Zendesk Suite: Available for all plans (prioritization of calls is available only for Professional and Enterprise plans)
Talk plans: Available for Team, Professional, and Enterprise plans (prioritization of calls is available only for Professional and Enterprise plans)
Limitations of Talk with omnichannel routing
- Since omnichannel routing can only route calls to a single group, you cannot have multiple fallback groups. The primary group selected during Talk setup is the only group for call routing. You can still configure different groups for different lines. And if you’re using IVR, you can still configure different groups for different keypresses. But the ability to configure multiple fallback groups on a single keypress or phone line is not available. The following screenshot shows the change:
- Omnichannel routing does not support focus mode.
- Because tickets are created for all calls, the setting “Create tickets for abandoned calls” is no longer available, and tickets are always created for abandoned calls.
Tip: You can create a workflow to automatically close tickets created for abandoned calls.
- When using priority phone numbers in Talk, call tickets are given High priority instead of calls going straight to the top of the queue.
- If call forwarding is enabled and the status of an agent is automatically set to offline because the agent has been disconnected, calls to that agent will no longer be forwarded to the agent’s phone.
- The ability to change a Talk agent’s status from the Talk dashboard, mobile apps, or by using the Talk APIs isn't supported. Integrations that use Talk APIs to change agent statuses might also be impacted.
Understanding the call flow for Talk in omnichannel routing
This section contains an example of a call using triggers, tags, and ticket fields to prioritize calls for VIP customers and transfer them to the billing group.
Before you proceed, it's important to understand the changes to the ticket creation process.
Currently, a support ticket for a call gets created when the agent picks up the call. With omnichannel routing, the support ticket for the call is created at the point it goes into the queue, meaning you can run triggers on the call ticket before the call is answered.
Using the triggers, you can prioritize and assign a group to the ticket and route the call as shown in the following example.
- For each VIP customer you want, go to their end user profile and add the VIP tag as shown in the following screenshot. You can use any tag name you want instead of VIP:
Now, any ticket that gets created by the end user you configured will always contain the VIP tag. For more help with tags, see Adding tags to users and organizations.
- Set up a trigger to automatically assign a priority of Urgent and add the Billing group to any Talk tickets opened by a VIP customer. Assigning the ticket to a group enables you to route the call to the correct place. Create your trigger with the conditions and actions shown in the following screenshot:
Now, any tickets created by end users from a call and containing the VIP tag will automatically be added to the Billing group and given Urgent priority.
For help creating triggers, see Creating triggers for automatic ticket updates and notifications.
Using views to identify callers waiting in the phone queue
Because the ticket is created earlier in the flow of call routing (as soon as the call enters the queue), with omnichannel routing you can set up a view in Support to see tickets from callers still waiting in the queue. Here is an example of view conditions that can help you see the call tickets that were created in the past hour. This will also contain the calls that are still in the queue to be answered.
Routing calls without omnichannel
If you decide not to turn on omnichannel routing, the other methods of routing calls are still available. Details about those methods can be found in these articles:
First, this omnichannel routing has some great features! My company would love to be able to prioritize tickets in the queue, and we miss not being able to control calls when they are in the queue like we could with our old system so we look forward to having tickets created for all calls in the queue. Custom statuses are another thing we have missed having and look forward to activating! Last but not least we are happy calls will route to the same agent more than once if they miss the call. But... There are one big thing and two smaller but still significant problems I want to ask about:
"The ability to set up multiple fallback groups in Talk settings won’t exist. Calls can only be routed to a single group, meaning there can’t be a fallback group. This applies to both group routing and IVR routing. When onboarding, the primary group that is set up in Talk settings will be the only group for call routing. We recognize that this might not suit everyone."
We are one of the many companies this does not suit, we use this for a large portion of our Talk numbers (we have different groups who back up each other, and we have our tier 2 support group back up our tier 1 if they are all on calls, etc, etc.). Any viable workarounds so any company larger than 2 employees with more than 1 group can use omnichannel routing? Is this going to implemented any time soon?
Also, this discusses an "Omni-queue." That (and the screenshot above) leads me to believe that everything we put in the Omni-queue would run through one queue (emails, messages, talk together). So they would come in the order we receive them no matter the channel, with priorities adjusting the order. Reading other articles about omnichannel routing it seems they are actually separate queues, so our agents could end up with emails, messages, and calls at the same time. If this is the case are there plans to implement focus mode?
Last question - Any plans to allow admins to change our agent's status? To make them offline if they forget, etc.
Thank you for the work! I hope these concerns can/will be addressed so we can use these amazing features.
Thanks for holistic feedback!
Addressing some of the points:
The ability to configure different groups for different phone lines (non-IVR) and different groups with different keypresses (with IVR) will still exist. The ability to configure multiple fallback groups on a single IVR keypress or on a single phone line (non IVR) won't be available.
When assigning items to the agents, agent's capacity will be taken into account, capacities are defined per channel. Emails, messages and calls can be assigned at the same time if the agent has capacity to deal with them. If preference has to be given to a particular channel, custom statuses can be created which makes agent Online only for certain channels and offline for others.
With the release, if an agent forgets to set their status to offline, the status of the agent is automatically set to offline when one of the following events is detected:
Here are more details
Let me know if further clarification is needed on any of the above points.
Ability similar to focus mode, multiple fallback groups and changing agent status by admin are in discussion. Feedback like yours helps to prioritise. Keep them flowing thanks!
I wanted to clarify the following:
My understanding was that if an agent's capacity is on a call, then messages will not be assigned. The loss of focus mode when implementing messages was a HUGE loss for our team and I have been looking forward to the omnichannel routing with the understanding that this would address the loss of focus mode for those teams in agent workspace who had lost focus mode.
We haven't implemented email routing as it's not necessary for our use case, but anyone who has ever handled messages and calls or chats and calls is well aware that you cannot simultaneously talk to someone on the phone while replying to someone in a message.
Please clarify whether omnichannel routing will route calls to agents engaged in active chats or messages to agents who are on a call or in wrap-up time. Thank you.
Will the option for fallback groups be added at a later stage? At the moment our lines are configured to go to engineers fully trained in the product first, but fallback to all engineers if none of them are available. We would really miss this fallback on certain lines.
We turned on omnichannel routing but the moment we turned it on all the calls were rejected with the message of "outside of business hours". Is there any additional set up that I need to do for omnichannel routing to work with calls? (I did not add any trigger yet, I only turned it on).
Hi Trudy Slaght,
Apologies for late reply here, we understand the pain you are feeling with the loss of focus mode in Omnichannel routing. We have the focus mode use case on our roadmap to tackle for omnichannel routing. Can't commit on any timeline yet until, will share when we have more details.
For the moment, to accomplish a similar behaviour if agent should not be routed a message when they are on calls. A custom status can be created turning the agent just online for calls or messaging separately.
Thanks for the feedback!
Hi Rohan Gupta,
Thank you for the response. We disabled omnichannel routing as it was causing a workload imbalance and was not functional for our team. The great benefit of focus mode is that small teams can have members online for all channels at the same time and agents only receive a call on one channel at a time. This provides for maximum flexibility in scheduling and adaptation to changes in customer contact channels. For this reason it's not practical to have to have agents change their status from one channel online to another - it defeats the whole purpose of having them online for all channels if they have to manually manage their status at any given time.
I will look forward to the addition of focus mode. We likely will not implement omnichannel again unless the offline message routing is changed to be handled like an email ticket as well because having the first online agent of the day get all the overnight messaging tickets dropped on them is not practical or sustainable. (It dis-incentivizes agents from being the first to login in the morning.)
I hope that future beta processes use a larger variety of use-cases to identify significant deal-breaker issues prior to an update being released.
Hi Ola Timpson,
Yes, tackling the fallback group use case is on our roadmap. We are also constantly thinking of improving the queues and call flow experience, part of which will be ability to provide fallback for calls. At the moment, I don't have further details on specifications and timing of it, but will share when we have them.
Thanks for the feedback!
Hi Sacbe Alfonsina Ibarra E,
There should be no additional set-up required. On front face does not look to be expected behaviour, but we will be needing more information to understand the root cause of the issue you are facing.
As troubleshooting is involved, the best way would be to have one of your Zendesk admins contact our support team using Option 2 in Contacting Zendesk Customer Support.
Hi Rohan Gupta,
Can you clarify the custom status mentioned in one of your earlier replies?
Does this mean that a custom status can be created that allows messaging tickets to be assigned only when an agent is not on a call (or vice versa)?
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