Skills can be used as a standalone routing method for Support tickets, or as one of several factors considered for omnichannel routing and applied to Support, Messaging, and Talk tickets. This article explains more about each of these options.
Skills are agent attributes that determine their suitability to work a ticket that requires them. They can be something the agent is able to do, as we'd typically think of a skill, or another type of attribute, such as the agent's location, timezone.
When adding skills, you'll create skill types to categorize the skills. For example, you could have agents dedicated to supporting specific products; in this scenario you could create a Product skill type and add ProductA, ProductB, and ProductC as the skills.
You can define up to 10 skill types. Each skill type can contain up to 30 skills.
- A name
- A way to add that skill to tickets
- A set of agents who have that skill
Setting up skills-based routing
After that, you either need to configure skills as part of your omnichannel routing configuration, which automatically assigns tickets to agents, or define one or more views for your agents to pull tickets from based on their skills.
Using skills with omnichannel routing
Omnichannel routing with unified agent status allows you to direct tickets from email (including web form, side conversations, and API), messaging conversations, calls, and chats in some circumstances to agents based on their availability and capacity. On Professional plans and above, tickets from all of these channels can also be routed based on priority and skills. Turning on skills in omnichannel routing means you're routing based on agent status, capacity, skills, and ticket priority all at once.
When using skills in omnichannel routing, agents must have skills that match the ticket in addition to having an eligible status and spare capacity for that channel of work. You have the option to enforce the skill matching, meaning you wait for an agent with the matching skill to become available, or to fallback to the omnichannel routing model without skills if agents with the matching skills aren't available within a specified amount of time after the ticket is created. This flexibility gives admins the most control possible over their workflow without requiring their manual intervention.
However you decide to configure skills in omnichannel routing, tickets from all channels are automatically assigned (email) or offered to (messaging and calls) to the best-suited available agent. This has many benefits, including faster response times and more equitable workloads for your agents, and can also improve your end users' experience since they're more likely to interact with agents with specialized skills to meet their needs.
Using skills with Messaging and Talk tickets
Unlike standalone skills-based routing, you can use omnichannel routing to route messaging conversations, calls, and sometimes chats based on skills, too. For all channels, tickets are created as soon as the request enters the queue. That means triggers can run on them. This is how skills are applied to tickets in the queue so that omnichannel routing can match the best agent to the ticket.
Configuring the skills timeout setting for omnichannel routing is particularly important for calls, messaging conversations, and chats. Doing so means omnichannel routing will first attempt to assign the work to an eligible agent with the matching skills. However, if an agent with the matching skills is unavailable for a specified amount of time after the ticket reaches the top of the queue, omnichannel routing falls back to the basic routing configuration and assigns the ticket without considering skills. However, before an agent can be considered for assignment after a skills timeout occurs, one of the following events must occur: agent status changed, agent capacity changed, the agent's group assignment changed, or the agent's maximum capacity changed.
- Talk tickets remain in the queue until they reach the maximum queue wait time and are sent to voicemail.
- Messaging conversations, chats, and email tickets remain in the queue indefinitely.
Using triggers to add and update skills on tickets
When omnichannel routing is turned on, you can use triggers to assign skills upon ticket creation and ticket updates. This provides significantly more flexibility and responsiveness than the skill-specific routing rules, which can only apply skills when a ticket is created. For more information about adding and updating skills with triggers, see Adding and managing skills on tickets.
Using standalone skills-based routing
Skills-based routing is a great option if you're only receiving tickets via email, web form, side conversations, and the API. However, it functions more as a way to sort incoming tickets by skills rather than actually routing them directly to agents. When you use skills as a standalone routing solution, agents rely on Views based on skills to manually assign tickets to themselves.
For more information, see Using standalone skills-based routing.