Utilizing schedules in your Zendesk account can increase the likelihood of a positive interaction by setting expectations with your customers both during and after your business hours. This interactive "Full circle" session will provide best practices on how to utilize schedules where you’ll learn how to:
- Set expectations with customers during business hours
- Enhance your workflows to account for when your agents are available
- Accurately measure performance
Answering your questions in the comments below are members of our Customer Success Team.
Part 1: Configuring your business hours
Setting up your business hours using schedules is a simple process. Once you add the title to your schedule, you can define your business hours by dragging the time block to match your hours.
Note: On Suite Growth and Professional or Support Professional, you can set only one schedule. On Enterprise plans you can set multiple schedules.
You’ll also want to set your holiday schedule so you can make sure your customers know when you’re away. When you’re setting up these holidays, you can choose a single day or a date range. You also have the ability to schedule holidays 2 years in advance, making it easy for you to plan for the future.
You can even run reports based on business hours. These will automatically take scheduled holidays into account and consider them outside your business hours to not affect your metrics.
After you set up your business hours and holidays, this is where the fun begins! Now you can use them in views, triggers, automations and reporting to get deeper insights and powerful automations.
Part 2: Schedules in workflows
Let’s look at some examples on how schedules are used in workflows. Please click on the example for instructions on how to configure it in your Zendesk account.
Holiday notifications: Use schedules and triggers to notify your customers when your business is closed due to a holiday. Let them know when they should expect a reply and when your business is open again.
Off hour notifications: If your business hours are 9am to 5pm, set expectations with customers by sending a notification letting them know that they contacted you during your off hours and your agents will review their ticket during business hours.
Pro tip: For both the holiday and off hour notifications, add a link to your help center, so your customers can get access to frequently asked questions which may resolve their question.
Escalate VIP tickets: Do you have VIP customers you want to work with even outside of your normal business hours? You know, you want to go the extra mile for those customers and make sure you’re giving them the white glove experience. Within your account, you can build a trigger to escalate tickets from your VIPs to a manager or on-call team no matter what time of day.
Global 24/7 Support: Even if you offer 24/7 support and don’t use traditional business hours, you can still take advantage of the power of schedules.
Say a ticket comes in at 11am Pacific. You can set up a trigger to make sure it’s sent directly to your in-house support team who’s guaranteed to be there. But what happens if a customer chimes in at midnight? A different trigger can make sure this ticket is sent to your overseas team, cutting down on the response time and creating happy customers :)
Assign Schedules: If you have departments operating at different times, use multiple schedules to accurately measure your team and support experience. Let’s say you have a shipping department that operates from 12-8pm. You can create a trigger to set the shipping department’s schedule on their tickets. This way, you can measure your shipping team during the hours that they operate and take a deeper look at your customers experience across your entire support team.
Utilizing schedules enables you to communicate to your customers outside of business hours and route tickets to the appropriate team based on your team or customer operating hours.
Part 3: Using SLAs
Another common tool that businesses use once they’ve set up schedules is Service Level Agreements or SLAs. This feature is available on Professional and Enterprise plans.
Outside of Zendesk, an SLA is an agreed upon measure of the response and resolution times that your support team delivers to your customers. In Zendesk, you can create an SLA policy that gives you visibility to tickets that fail to meet the SLA target that you define, so you can quickly address them.
When you create an SLA policy, a colorful countdown badge will display on the ticket to show you when you need to address the ticket.
SLAs are helpful when you’re managing ticket priority. You can also set an SLA based on different groups or ticket issues. As you can see in my example screen shot, I’ve created a policy to reply to my VIP customer within 2 hours. If it’s been two hours with no follow up, I can also create a trigger to notify my team and managers that the SLA target has been breached.
When your support team use SLAs in Zendesk, they have more visibility and transparency so your agents have an easier time prioritizing tickets. Lastly, Zendesk has a pre-built SLA dashboard that can help managers understand why and when those tickets are being breached.
Utilizing SLAs can have some real benefits - one study showed that implementing SLAs has shown to make response times 200 times faster!
Do you want to implement SLAs, but don’t know where to start? Click here to sign up for the free Full Circle webinar where our team does a deep dive on this topic.
Part 4: How business rules impact reporting
Now that we know how to use schedules to enhance workflows, let’s look at an example of how schedules impact reporting.
Your company has business support hours from 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. What if a ticket is sent to your support team on a Friday at 4:59pm, right before the end of the day but too late to be solved before the weekend.
Monday morning rolls around, your agent logs in and immediately resolves the ticket. The way you report on this information could tell two very different stories.
From the moment that the customer submitted the ticket on Friday to the moment the ticket was resolved, more than 60 hours have passed in calendar hours. But within business hours, the ticket was resolved in less 10 minutes. Both metrics are accurate and both are necessary to understand customer journey and agent performance.
Not only can you measure resolution time like we did in the reporting example. When you enable schedules you have access to other business hour metrics like:
- First reply time - measures when you first get back to your customers. If you are seeing a high first reply time in in your Insights reports, use this metric to analyze the time in business hours to accurately measure your team during your operating hours.
- First resolution time - is the time between a ticket being created and a ticket being solved for the first time.
- Requester wait time - the amount of time your customer is waiting for a response from your agents
- Agent wait time - measures the amount of time a ticket spends in the pending status where your agents are waiting for more information from your customer.
- On-hold time - if you use the on-hold status in your workflow, you can measure the amount of time the ticket stays on-hold.
- Full resolution time - measures how long it took during business hours to full resolve an issue. If tickets are reopened, the time will be recalculated until a ticket returns to Solved status.
Creating reports using these metrics will allow you to accurately evaluate your team's performance
Part 5: Finding your support hour “sweet spot”
If you don’t have business hours and you’re trying to figure out the best hours to support your customers, you can create a heat map to identify peak hours on the busiest times and days your customers are reaching out to you. You can also use the heat map to determine if your 24/7 support model is adequately staffed.
Use this Explore recipe to create a heatmap.
Understanding your “sweet spot” can enhance your customer experience by supporting your customer when they need you most. Also, by staffing your team appropriately you can decrease first reply time by your agents and decrease the backlog of tickets.
Bringing it “Full Circle”
Schedules allow you to align customer expectations and route tickets to the right team, all aimed to help you provide the best customer experience possible.
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