Fine Tuning: How Zendesk uses Zendesk, Part 1

30 Comments

  • Chandra

    Hi Jill!  I'll start off with a question.  Are all of the departments you'll be discussing today (Sales, Customer Success, Finance, and Marketing) given full agent access to Zendesk?  Are any of them light agents?

    CSM response

    Hey Chandra! Great question- we do not really use Light Agents internally, as we need to be agents to be assigned tickets and respond publicly to customers. We may have a need down the road, but for now, all Zendesk employees are full agents in support.zendesk.com.

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  • Andrea Saez

    How do you work with multiple offices/timezones? Is there several people that triage or are there triggers/targets for each office?

    CSM response

    We have triage agents across our global offices so there is always someone to route new tickets, with the goal of always keeping the triage queue empty!

    There are regional groups, for instance, I'm in the CSM (AMER) group, while we also have EMEA and APAC CSM groups. Tickets are routed based on the end-user's location when appropriate, but we like to address issues as they come in so we don't silo the work to only agents in that region. We strive to be a truly global company and provide " follow the sun" support, and we talk to our colleagues overseas every day. Communication and up-to-date documentation is key!

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  • Andrea Saez

    Thanks for the ebook! We're starting to set up multiple offices and also offer multiple languages - this is proving to be quite the challenge for us.

    CSM response

    It's definitely an evolving process rather than something you can just switch on overnight! Best of luck and know we're here to help in any way we can!

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  • Justin Graves

    It must be tricky to introduce new Triggers and Automations without stepping on the "toes" of your existing ones.  Do you beta test new triggers/automations?  If so, how do you copy what you are actively using into the Sandbox environment (if that's how you test it).

    CSM response

    You're spot on, and our Support Operations group definitely tests out our new business rules so I'm going to get someone to hop in with an expert answer to that :)

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  • Avi W.

    @Justin, speaking as the person in charge of introducing new Triggers and Automations to our instance, happy to advise! 

    The first thing I do though is know each one of our triggers as best I can, and lock down who is actually able to edit/add new triggers (we actually just did a major pruning of admins on our own instance, which has helped me considerably). The second really important tool I use is the rule analysis so I can review any tags/group/agent assignments that might interfere. 

    The other not very useful answer here though is that as a long-time advocate now supporting our own Zendesk instance, I have a ton of experience troubleshooting and building business rules. That definitely helps a lot. As soon as I build new triggers, I immediately create test tickets to try them out. Even if they appear to work fine, I check out the ticket events to make sure that every trigger firing on a ticket is one that I'd expect. 

    We don't use a sandbox right now, although conceivably we could use the API to 'migrate' our business rules from our main instance to our sandbox. Right now, we've decided that's not necessary though.

    One last thing that's important to always have is a sort of 'forgotten ticket' view. I'm constantly concerned that an errant trigger, a misconstructed macro, an off-the-mark view have resulted in tickets that might not get the attention they need. I've created personal views that keep an eye out for these tickets. I look for tickets that are unassigned and pending/on-hold and tickets unassigned in groups that don't have active agents looking through them. Obviously, I have to have a pretty good knowledge of the ticket lifecycle in our instance, and that's a tall order since almost every team at Zendesk uses our main instance. 

    Overall, it really comes down to vigilance especially if a business rule affect our most critical ticket path (incoming tickets routing through our support teams). I hope that's a bit enlightening. Try and ensure that not many people edit your triggers, name them as clear as you can, pay attention to ticket events, and test things as soon as you put new business rules into your instance!

    Of course if something is broken and you're not sure why, give us a call!!

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  • Jillana Peterson

    To follow up on Avi's excellent insight, we recognize how important triggers are in Zendesk and have a devoted webinar to the topic! Check out the details here, and join if you can on June 3rd: https://www.zendesk.com/support/webinar/zendesk-deep-dive-triggers

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  • Scott Whitton

    Good Morning ZenDesk, With our customer service we provided customer facing assistance for a 350+ client that utilize our technology. we run into the problem of macro overload that makes it excruciating to scale and on board new clients as we have about 15 standard macro responses for each client that we utilize. With organizations can we set it up so that the macros can fill in the unique client information such as contact information.  managing  15 standard macros would superior 15 per client that are essentially saying the exact same thing. Is this something that could be executed if we were smart about utilizing organizations within ZD.

    Thank you!

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  • Chad Bates

    Is Zendesk planning on migrating to Help Center? What are the issues holding up that change?

    What reports are the support managers looking at on a regular basis?

    CSM response

    Great questions- I am going to pull in my colleagues to give specifics, but I will just say in regards to Zendesk's Help Center, it's going to be amazing!

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  • Jillana Peterson

    11 AM Content is now posted: How Support manages tickets. Keep the questions coming and please share any relevant insights on your own operations! 

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  • Anton de Young

    Chad, 

    Regarding your question about our switching to Help Center. Here's the response I gave to another customer several weeks ago: 

    "We're waiting for several features we need to manage our community, which are coming soon, and we also needed the API in place so that we could build some custom tools to support our publishing process. We have a massive amount of content in 6 languages and we maintain the source files outside of Zendesk in an XML-based format so we needed an automated way to publish and update content. See this article that describes the process we're now using:  https://support.zendesk.com/entries/53090153-Automating-your-first-localization-handoff-Help-Center-. We've completely switched to Help Center for every other part of our business: IT, HR, Training, etc. This site will be switched to Help Center very soon and we're very excited to make the move. "

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  • Avi W.

    @Scott, with custom Organization Fields you'd be able to set fields for your customers, then use placeholders to bring in organization-specific information into your macros. Here's a useful link for setting up placeholders for custom Org fields: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20011631#topic_nfp_nja_vb

    That way you could just maintain your general macros, have all the unique information stored at the Org level, and pull that in on a ticket by ticket basis.

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  • Eliot Dyson

    Hey Chad,

    I'm a support manager within our Product Support team and would be happy to go over some of the reports and things I am looking at on a daily basis!

    GoodData:  I have a GoodData dashboard created displaying my team's key stats by week.  These stats include number of tickets solved, good and bad satisfactions, and average handle time / ticket.  This gives me a good snapshot of how our advocates are doing and where we might need improvement.

    Views:  We have a couple key Views in Product Support that I am keeping a close eye on.  Specifically our Untriaged View and our Unassigned Tickets View.  For more information on the Triage process that we use, check Jillana's section on Queue Management.  Within our Unassigned Tickets View I am keeping a close eye on the number of tickets present as well as the High priority tickets to make sure they are addressed as quickly as possible.  Finally, I have some personal Views that I use to keep a close eye on specific advocates, especially those who are new to the team.  I am looking at their assigned tickets and their responses as a form of quality assurance.

    Dashboard:  We have an internal dashboard that I almost always have up in a second monitor that gives me some key pieces of information.  Most relevant to me is our phones presence.  I can see how many advocates are logged in, who is available, and who is on a call.  This allows me to monitor volume and make sure we have enough coverage and respond accordingly.  In our dashboard I can also see all three support tier queue numbers, our Twitter feed, key calendar events, and the times in our other offices!

    I hope this helps!  If you have any follow-up questions just let us know!

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  • Colin Piper

    Great discussion so far. I thought 266 triggers was a lot to manage but I guess you confirm my belief that sometimes you need that many.

    The discussion of agents vs light agents is one that could run forever but for most of us the cost of full agents is a concern. How would things change for you if you had to have a mix? Could you engineer process to accommodate?

    CSM response

    Triggers are a lot to handle, and I think Avi hit the nail on the head above in terms of his tips on clearly labeling and restricting them!

    As for our agents, I think we would be able to move some full agents to Light Agents today if necessary. I can only speculate, but some groups, or managers in general, are typically involved for oversight or consultation rather than being assigned a ticket to reply directly to a customer.

    It is nice to have the option to assign these groups or managers to a ticket so they can update ticket properties or make public comments though! Were we to change them to Light Agents, we would just have to rely on CCs and Internal notes more, but I don't think too much would change in our day-to-day operations.

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  • Ian Morgan

    I have a question about tags... As we use Zendesk more and more I am/ will be  required to draw from past, current and tickets of the future to analyse support eg. Support we have given to particular products. 

    I appreciate there are a number of ways of doing this but I feel that tags could be a good method. However I have a question when there are a number of agents how do you stop each one creating a variation of a tag which means that when the time comes for the analysis there may be many tags required to get one piece of information.

    eg. product_fridge ; fridge_product ; fridge ; productfridge etc.. not the best example but I hope you see what I mean. 

    Thank you.

    CSM response

    I would recommend creating a custom drop-down field,  nesting the options to drill down into the types of products you use as each selection will automatically apply a tag to the ticket. This way, you're standardizing your tags and not allowing for agents to come up with them on the fly, and the drop-down options can be used for reporting and business rules as well!

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  • Avi W.

    @Ian, my preference is to use custom drop down fields in these cases. Custom drop downs are basically just a GUI for assigning a set/controlled list of tags to tickets. That way you can make sure that your agents are applying tags consistently. 

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  • Ian Morgan

    Thanks Avi. That is a good idea. I'll do that.

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  • Colin Piper

    Thanks. I find cc'ing a little scary as the control is taken away. Sooner or later internal comments get emailed elsewhere or the whole discussion moves out of Zendesk. Time to buy more licenses I guess :)

    @ian. Always try to use macros to set tags. Solves the variations and no doubt allows for smarter processes also

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  • Avi W.

    @Colin YES! That too. EVERY macro I build for our team has associated tags so I can track their use.

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  • Rebecca McGuire

    2 PM Content is now posted: How Finance and Marketing handle customer requests. Keep the questions coming and please share any relevant insights on your own operations! 

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  • Diane Albert

    @Avi - regarding your role as Automation Man, how do you keep all those pieces straight - is that only using rules analysis or do you keep some type of document/flow chart that references what each trigger/macro/automation does?

    We did quite a few last year to support a new process and we're struggling to update or delete them now without breaking things.  We used macros to assign tags to get tickets into Views, but we didn't remove the tags as they went to a new view...so instead of being a waterfall/cascade approach, we made a big puddle  :)

    My director is also concerned that if I fall off the turnip truck, we have no documentation.  I waffle on that because it's meant to be dynamic - if i have to document it with every tweak we make, that's prohibiting, but she does have a point.

    Diane

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  • Avi W.

    @Diane, sorry I didn't see this earlier! 

    The most critical piece is clear naming. Often if there's a relevant tag, I'll include that in the trigger name. Here's an example of what an ideal trigger name looks like in our instance: Routing | Received via avi@ assign | tag: received_avi [owner:Avi]

    We have a lot of legacy triggers of course, so I wish I could say they are all this clearly named! Organizing them has been a project of mine, and my current thinking is to dedicate some time and pull them into a spreadsheet. The columns I would include would be: Name, Direct link, Owner, Added tag, Trigger type (notification, routing, priority, etc), Relevant shared views

    Of course, that's a huge project and you're right, this is meant to be dynamic and documenting every trigger tweak is not ideal. We also can't avoid turnip trucks though, which leaves us between a rock and a hard place. At least cleaning up the naming conventions has been really helpful for us. 

    Just having a discussion with our community about this has brought up a lot of good ideas. Things like folders for triggers/automations, a notes field for business rules, quick links from trigger/automation editing to the business rule analysis for added/removed tags. Things like that. brb gonna go bug our product team! 

    So! Number 1 suggestion right now would be to work on a standard naming convention including, as best you can, the purpose and owner of each business rule.

     

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  • Rob Morell

    where or when is part 2?

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  • Jillana Peterson

    Part 2 will be posted throughout the day on June 26th, focusing on our internal groups that use separate instances rather than support.zendesk.com so stay tuned!

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  • Jennifer Rowe

    Thanks for your interest! We just moved Part 2 to June 26th. I'll edit Jill's comment so there's no confusion. 

    And we'll post a link to Part 2 here when it starts so you'll all know!

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  • Jennifer Rowe

    Hi everyone, part 2 of How Zendesk uses Zendesk is underway here:

    https://support.zendesk.com/entries/71534786

     

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  • Wouter van Gessel

    Great article. I've been bugging your support to share Zendesk's workflows as we were struggling a bit with our escalations. Happy to see this is now available for all!

    @Colin/Zendesk

    In regards to the Light Agent discussion:

    We also struggle with our Sales/Finance/Managment Team who cannot be assigned tickets or have their own My a Ticket view. We also have Sales still using old fashioned e-mail, as a full agent account for exarch would be too costly (as we also have SalesForce and other sales tools for them).

    For Zendesk, it's easy to have all their employees on full agent account, as they are their own customer.

    It would be great if light agents would have all rights that regular agents have, with a limitation of **hours** they can use Zendesk, instead of limiting **functionality**. (this is what Zendesk's competitors do).

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  • Wouter van Gessel

    I see that my comment above did not save any line breaks, as I'm using an iPad to post on this topic...

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  • Jillana Peterson

    Glad you enjoyed it, Wouter! ...and no worries on the formatting :)

    We aim to make working with external parties easy with Light Agents, CCs, and Email Targets, but a full agent license would be needed to be assigned to and solve tickets. From a Light Agent's user profile, they can see the tickets they are copied on or set as the requester on so that may help when you need assistance from Sales / Finance / Management through internal comments. Give us a call or email if you're having trouble figuring out the best way to work with your entire team, and of course, thank you for the feedback!

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  • Kevin Lewis

    @Jillana,

     

    How would you best recommend to roll out a tiering support method? So, if I had a list of 40 customers that I wanted to be assigned to a specific tier and group of agents, what tools should I utilize? 

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  • Jillana Peterson

    Hi Kevin,

    I definitely recommend planning out your new structure beforehand by whiteboarding or creating flowcharts for your re-imagined groups and workflows. Once you have a concrete idea of what agents belong to which groups, you can edit or add your new groups in Zendesk.

    Now on your Organization profile, you can set a group that will automatically receive an Org's tickets. Personalized routing in two *potentially* quick steps!

    Alternately, you can use the Org or a tag in your business rules to create a specific view or routing rules for certain customers. Check out this article to get the ideas flowing and share the results here!

    Happy Zendesk'ing,

    Jill

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