Community Discussion: Let's Talk About Workflow


  • Wes Shank

    I'd be interested. Is this the forum for this conversation or will it be moved elsewhere?

  • Kristen Mirenda

    Hi @Wes! Yes, we'd love to hear from you right here in the comments. And we're also looking for people to talk to individually if you'd like to do that in addition/instead.

  • Dave Kaminsky


    This is a welcome surprise, please add me to the list! 

  • Susan Maher

    Kristen we have been working with Ryann and Forest specifically on this issue.  I would be glad to meet and participate in this initiative. 

    Workflow identifies how a task moves throughout the company.  In essence the path that it travels from its inception until its end.  A business may identify several workflows within each area of responsibility or they may have a high level workflow to identify the trajectory of a transaction within the whole company.  It will depend on the scope of the company and task. 

    Customer Care is a part of that business workflow.  As the business CC will have overarching workflows and then smaller workflows to fulfill the larger commitment.

    I set up the workflows for Customer Care (in conjunction with the management team) in my organization.  While we have identified several workflows such as interfacing with development, interfacing with Product Management, how to manage licensing, etc we have an overall workflow that identifies the trajectory of a customer request from beginning to end. 

    Please contact me if you would like to discuss individually. 

  • Heather Rommel
    Community Moderator

    Hi Kristen,

    I'm not sure if I'm able to understand what you're looking for, yes this is mighty broad! Here's a shot at your questions:

    • What does "workflow" mean to you, being on a customer support team? 

    It means a business process and how Zendesk supports/enables/pushes that through

    • If a leader outside your team talked about "workflow" in a company-wide meeting, what would she be talking about?

    Almost anything! Again, business process of some sort, whether escalations, team handoffs, team collaborations, etc.

    • How does workflow help you achieve the company's end-goals? 

    We have company visions which translate to goals which have several workflows that support achieving those goals. So at any giving point, hundreds of different workflows are working together to help us reach those goals, usually in a measurable way.  Workflows to us are like a bunch of Visios with a larger target they work toward whether that's in customer satisfaction, product usability (training), transparency in availability (downtimes eek), self help, manager engagement in challenging situations, etc.

    • How does Zendesk fit into that world? 

    Zendesk is the main platform by which we talk to our customers and partners. It helps us put parameters around how a conversation should go in order to meet customer AND company expectations. We can easily build "bumpers" for our Agents so that our HUGE and growing team can all be a united front and message, and our customer experience is predictable and(hopefully) pleasant.  Macros help our teammembers phrase things correctly and automatically "push' the ticket to the next step where another team is involved, automations help remind us or our customers that another action is needed, triggers help our tickets immediately route and sort correctly, etc.

    What we do wish is more of a unity among your products. Meaning, triggers work one way in Support while they work differently in Chat. As does CSAT, etc.  Metrics are harder to get across products at times. I know Zendesk is working on several hundred improvements at any time but we are looking forward to Omnichannel and seamless handoffs from one product to the next. FRT, for example, is highly skewed because it still assumes we're using the Support product.   

    We're happy to engage in a conversation anytime! 

  • Heather Rommel
    Community Moderator

    Also I meant to mention that workflows include non-support items like Change Control, Knowledge Base article creation/publishing (KCS), alerts from other systems and checking those statuses, and more!

  • Michael H

    What does "workflow" mean to you, being on a customer support team?
    If a leader outside your team talked about "workflow" in a company-wide meeting, what would she be talking about?

    Workflow is the handling of the customer, and the issue raised, from cradle to grave; and the steps/concepts that need to be applied along the way to achieve a resolution that supports positive outcomes.

    For example, a broad-brush approach to this within technical and non-technical companies might look like:

    1. Self-service (providing resources to reduce number/volume of support interactions)
    2. Expectations for communicating with customers (what you say, how you say it, when you say it, how you write it, timeliness/SLA, methods such as Macros to simplify communications, ticket classification and tagging, priorities)
    3. Understanding the issue and gathering facts (who, what, where, why, when, how, solutions already tried)
    4. Document all facts
    5. Use available resources and experts to identify solutions
    6. Apply and validate solution
    7. Escalate when all solutions within your expertise and responsibilities have been attempted
    8. Complete interaction
    9. Invite feedback
    10. Evaluate and apply feedback for coaching and continuous improvement activities

    How does workflow help you achieve the company's end-goals?


    • Consistency of consumer/customer experience
    • Consistency in approach to business policy, procedure, approaches
    • Methodical approach to resolving issues
    • Ensures use of all available resources to address issue
    • Improves SLA's by ensuring reduced time to resolution, and prevents unnecessary escalations tying up more senior resources
    • Increased customer satisfaction

    How does Zendesk fit into that world?

    • Customer Satisfaction surveys: Being able to perform simple surveying and feedback gathering
    • Macros: Ensures consistency of communication and approach for common issues
    • Reporting: Use dashboards to identify and encourage key performers, and to identify information to help coach/develop outliers
    • Guide and Answer Bot: Provide content to enable customer self service
    • Ticket tagging: Identify key trends to address developing issues
  • Kristen Mirenda

    @Susan, @Heather, and @Michael, thank you so much for your input!

    This remains an ongoing research effort and we're continuing to use multiple channels (including this one) to talk with customers. Indeed, we're keeping things really broad right now because we'd like to see what patterns emerge from all this feedback without introducing bias by asking questions that are too specific or presuppose any solution. So while it must feel weird to answer such a vague question, these kinds of responses are just what we're looking for.

    But if I may add another angle to the discussion?

    In addition to the ways you are (or want to be) addressing workflow today, we'd love to know what you think CX innovation will look like for your business. What will your customer experience look like in 3-5 years? How does the Customer Support organization contribute to that?

    If you had a magic wand and could do anything regardless of current feasibility, what would you want to build?

  • Heather Rommel
    Community Moderator

    We have been trying to achieve a status of the least amount of systems doing the most amount of heavy lifting. 

    In other words, we want to cut down on the number of different software/apps doing different things and integrate the remaining systems to work seamlessly.  This would mean a harmonization of Sales, HR, Support and other departments. Unfortunately, the System of Record is very hard to determine as each system treats a unique user differently. 

    Plus, we expect that users will require us to know everything about them. We have increasingly seen the need to have a user's specific information in front of us as we are helping them. Built-in screen captures, seeing the Organization data on a user profile, asset management made easy, level of support for each user/Organization...these things are becoming more important to know as soon as we pick up a call or chat.

    Our wish list:

    • Guide - We need to be able to embed Guide in our own Software (white labeled) and not as a separate tab/dns host map. So that the user experience is smooth and they only have one place to go for everything. 
    • Permissions - We want to be able to set privacy on tickets in HR and other private departments so that we don't have to restrict all agents but rather just for a certain department without having to spin up yet another Zendesk instance.
    • We want to have the ability to handshake better from our Zendesk to our customers' ticketing systems. We are facing this quire a bit as more and more companies get ticketing systems! 
    • We would like real Change Management available to us and audit-able. Multiple signoffs, multiple steps.
    • We would like a KCS process embedded in our article publishing process.
    • We would like to be able to schedule reports from a view. Including to our customer(s)
    • We would like to be able to have more control over Chat triggers, as they only fire off at the end of the chat.
    • We would like more granular IVR and rollover groups. Everything customizable.
    • We would like the roles more granular. I.e. can update users but not organizations, etc.
    • We would like to merge Organizations.
    • We would like Unmerge!

    Having said that, we love Zendesk and hope to continue to expand our use of the product. We have built quite a bit of customizations to fit some of the above into what you've designed thus far and we're hoping you will start to alleviate the frustration by coming to the table with built in solutions!

    Thank you in advance!



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