Full circle: Help more customers in less time by automating workflow
This interactive "Full circle" session is about automating time-consuming processes throughout your Zendesk Support account so that your agents are able to help more customers in less time. You can watch our 30-minute webinar about the same topic here!
Throughout this post, you’ll see:
- Examples of commonly built workflows
- Best practices to consider when automating a new or old process
- Methods and metrics for monitoring the impact of changes to your workflow
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: Let’s start with the basics ;)
Creating a streamlined ticket lifecycle in your Zendesk Support account is accomplished with the use of triggers and automations. They run on simple “if - then” statements as you’ll see below:
You’re able to create all kinds of workflows by choosing whatever pairing of conditions and actions you need. Those workflows ultimately help you provide your customers with a clear and fast experience while removing redundant tasks from your agents' plate.
The two types of automated workflow in your account are triggers and automations, and here’s how they differ:
- Triggers run immediately after tickets are created or updated
- Automations run a specific amount of time after a ticket property was created or updated
You can (and should!) use these at pretty much every stage of your ticket lifecycle:
Part 2: Ready to build your own? Consider this exercise first!
It can be tempting to jump right in and try out a new feature before you’ve really thought it through :) But when it comes to workflow, it’s best to slow down, outline each step, and consider all parties involved to ensure you’re streamlining a truly cohesive experience. That’ll help you not only prioritize your time-saving efforts, but it’ll also help you prove the amount of ROI each workflow is worth.
To do this, we like to ask ourselves (or better yet - our teams!) the following questions:
- What are your most common ticket lifecycles?
- How often do your agents manage these processes?
- How much time does each step take?
- How much time is added if a step is missed?
- How much will you save by automating these processes?
- What could you or your team do with the saved time?
- Besides time, what else is improved by automating this process?
Once you’ve gone through that exercise, it’s time to get out your markers and whiteboard! Start with charting each step in a common ticket lifecycle so that you’ve got a blueprint in hand once you start to build it out.
Part 3: Let’s build!
Remember, both triggers and automations work with a set of conditions and a set of actions. First, you’ll set your conditions.
There are two ways to list your conditions:
- You can decide that “all of the following” conditions must be met in order for the corresponding actions to fire.
- Or, you can decide that “any of the following” conditions need to be true for the actions fire. Some people get thrown off by the word “any” so another way to think of it is “at least one” of the following conditions must be true.
Once your conditions are set, there are all kinds of actions that could be performed throughout your account, such as:
- Sending notifications to customers, agents, or groups
- Updating ticket properties like status, assignee, tags, and much more
- Updating requester and organization properties
Pro tip: Use a simple naming strategy for your business rules that clearly states the intent of each rule. Shorthand abbreviations are nice, but they only work when everyone uses the same terminology (and that’s difficult to maintain in an ever-changing business).
When it comes to notifications, you can personalize your automated messages to include things like your customer’s name and the subject of their ticket by adding simple placeholders to the message text.
Note: All email notifications sent to your customers throughout the life of a ticket are delivered by triggers and automations. That includes simple things like when your agents reply to a ticket. There’s a default trigger in every Zendesk Support account to automatically send that comment update to your customer’s email address. Think twice before deactivating that trigger ;)
Last but certainly not least on the building phase, it’s important to know that your business rules do follow a strict order of operations each time they run. Without paying attention, you could have one trigger accidentally cancel out the actions of a previous trigger.
Part 4: Don’t forget to check-in on your business rules
Your Zendesk Support account lets you easily sort your triggers and automations by usage which allows you do some quick quality control. For those rules running most commonly, take a look to see if they can be improved any further. For those that haven’t run in a while, check them out to see if they can be deactivated.
And don’t just stop there! Your Explore reporting offers pre-built analysis that’ll help you identify the where your workflow is efficient and where it can be improved. Here are a few of the key KPIs to keep an eye on as you continually fine-tune these processes over the years:
Bringing it “full circle”
We could all use a few more minutes in the day, and creating automated workflows in Zendesk Support can provide you with the keys to unlock that lost time.
We hope that you found this post and our corresponding workshop to be helpful as you get started with designing a more efficient ticket lifecycle but the learning doesn’t have to stop here. Be sure to check out the courses available at training.zendesk.com for instructor-led classes that’ll help you become a true Zendesk expert.
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