This interactive "Full circle" session is about giving your Zendesk account a well-deserved spring cleaning. Performing a regular cleaning of your account maximizes your resources and sets the stage for any future renovations. You’ll learn how to:
- Create a clean ticket interface built for agent efficiency
- Organize your workflows to ensure a streamlined customer experience
- Analyze reports to identify additional opportunities for improvement
Answering your questions in the comments below are members of our Customer Success Team. You'll find them running online workshops designed to help our clients get more value out of their Zendesk accounts.
Part 1: Ensure the right people have the right tools
Most of the steps we’ll suggest in this post can only be updated by the administrators in your Zendesk Support account. Not sure if you’re an admin? Just head to your agent profile where you’ll see your role listed right up top. Reach out to an existing administrator if you think your role should be adjusted.
As an admin in your account, you’re able to set the permissions for all of your fellow agents. But as they say, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s tempting to make every agent an admin - that means less work on your plate, right? - but that can lead to too many “cooks in the kitchen.” In that situation, admins tend to start making account changes based on personal or team preference rather than through a collaborative decision-making process.
To avoid this situation, we suggest maintaining a ratio of no more than one admin for every ten agents (though the right ratio truly depends on your use-case).
Of course, managing permissions in Zendesk Support doesn’t have to be as simple as agent and admin. You can create custom roles (Enterprise) that ensure each employee has the appropriate level of access throughout your account. You can get as granular as you’d like by determining everything from the type of information an employee can access to the settings they can configure.
Part 2: Micromanage your macros
Macros are one of the most frequently used tools in Zendesk Support. Since these custom response templates can be applied to most tickets, they should be near the top of your list when it comes to cleaning up the agent experience.
To get started, did you know that you can easily categorize your macros into folders? This level of organization makes it easy for new agents as they search your library of macros for preferred messaging in all kinds of scenarios. You might categorize your macros into folders for your different products, types of requests, best practices, escalations, and guidelines for common processes.
Simply add a couple of :: between your desired category name and the title of the individual macro. In doing so, this Update Profile :: Change Password and Update Profile :: Confirm Contact Information will look like this to your agents:
It’s also important to note a potential disparity between the number of personal and shared macros used across your teams. Personal macros help to convey the agent’s unique communication style when interacting with clients but, when relied on too much, can create a roadblock when it comes to scaling your operation.
For example, let’s say that you’re a retailer and you make a change to your return policy. With shared macros, you can easily pull up your “return policy” template, make the necessary changes, and publish it for all to use. But if you’re relying on agents to update their personal macros, each version might end up slightly different and the timeline for making the update could vary. When possible, the use of shared macros maintains “company approved” messaging and your brand. :)
Not sure where to start in terms of building out a strong library of shared macros? Try a knowledge share during your next team meeting that’s led by some of your top agents. Chances are the messaging used by these agents could be deemed “best practice” and made available to their peers.
Part 3: Data integrity - ticket by ticket
A critical piece of maintaining a clean account is tracking the types of requests you serve. This should be done in a methodical way to ensure that the data can be turned into actionable steps towards improvement. There are two ways to categorize tickets - tags and custom fields - and it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
Tags can be thought of as free-form labels that are added to tickets in two ways: manually by agents or automatically by business rules. We recommend only using the latter because the former creates a prime opportunity for mistakes that could cause a mess in your account.
Say a customer asks a question about their invoice. You could very easily have one agent tag the ticket as invoice while another writes invoice_question and yet another says billing. They’re all "correct," but any views, business rules, or reports built around the invoice tag would be missed on tickets handled by 2/3 agents. So again, we recommend that tags are applied automatically by triggers, automations, and macros most of the time.
Your agents still need a way to categorize tickets while interacting with customers and for that we suggest a much cleaner option - custom fields. Your fields can be built in all shapes and sizes - from drop-downs and checkboxes to dates and credit card numbers - which means you can collect loads of data to then report on in a structured way with Insights (Professional and Enterprise).
Pro tip: If you still want your agents to manually apply tags, consider the Tag Locker app in our marketplace. It allows you to create a library of approved tags based on the agent’s role. Instead of typing tags into the interface, simply click on the desired tag and it’s added without the potential for typos.
Part 4: Create “smart” ticket forms
We get it: customers don’t like filling out ticket forms. But what they like even less is a frustrating back-and-forth dialogue with an agent before getting to the meat of their request :(
By creating a “smart” ticket form, you gather all of the necessary information (and nothing more!) up front, which eliminates the monotonous Q&A that follows after receiving a vague request. It allows you to automatically route the ticket to the appropriate agent, who can then provide a helpful response in their initial reply.
Clean up your ticket forms by requesting only pertinent information every step along the way with the Conditional Fields app (Professional add-on and Enterprise). You build out simple if-then logic that displays or hides fields in real-time based on the customer’s responses.
Part 5: Clean up your workflow with ease
A clean set of triggers and automations is essential to the success of any account that works with tickets at scale. You’ll want to beware of things like overlapping conditions across multiple business rules that could unintentionally send tickets astray.
To keep your workflows in order, consider beginning each business rule name with a simple descriptor defining what the trigger or automation accomplishes. Some potential options include Notify, Assign, Set, and Escalate. A basic naming strategy comes in handy when it’s time for a change in your workflow.
Not sure which rules are ready for an audit? Try sorting (Professional and Enterprise) based on usage to identify workflows that are rarely used. These could be outdated and ready for deactivation.
Before pushing any significant changes into your account, be sure you first test them out in a worry-free sandbox environment (Enterprise). After all, the last thing you want to do when trying to clean up is make a mistake that leads to a larger mess for your customers and agents.
Part 6: Don’t forget about your Help Center content
Another spot where you might find clutter or outdated information is in your Help Center. Instead of relying on a quarterly review of your articles to determine which content needs a revision, empower your agents to do some of the cleaning with the Knowledge Capture app (Guide Professional and Enterprise).
Embedded right in the ticket interface, our KC app makes it easy for agents to not only find relevant articles, but also flag those articles that are incorrect or missing key information. Daily feedback from your agents prevents the snowball effect that could result from outdated content being referenced over and over by agents and customers until your next review.
Part 7: Key reports help to spot additional opportunities for cleaning
Once your account is in a good place after the cleaning outlined above, look to Insights reporting for ongoing tips about what to do next. Insights offers 200+ pre-built reports to choose from, right out-of-the-box. Here are a few that come to mind as especially helpful on the spring cleaning front:
- One-touch tickets: These requests are typically easy to solve and could be deflected entirely with the Web Widget, updated Help Center articles, and/or Answer Bot.
- Reassignments per ticket: These tickets are handled by multiple agents before they can be solved. Identify where they typically end up and create triggers to get the requests into the right hands from the start.
- Public comments: A high number of public comments could be a sign that you need to gather more information up front from customers about specific topics. Creating smarter ticket forms empowers your agents to help the customer on their first reply.
Bringing it “Full circle”
We think Dee Hock had it right when he said “Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”
By removing the clutter from your agent and admin experience, not only do you save time otherwise spent on repetitive tasks, but you also open the flood gates to let creativity flow with ease.
That creativity leads to innovation which ultimately separates your customer service offering from the pack.
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