How to "Send Later" Using Automations
I've figured out how to schedule replies in Zendesk!!
Using a combination of triggers, tags, automations, and ticket types, it actually is possible to send with an approximate delay. Because automations run only once each hour (at the same time every hour for your own account), this won't be exact; it's accurate to within about an hour.
For example, if I'm replying on Saturday morning (but I don't work weekends!), I can delay the email 47 hours to have it sent Monday morning. Similarly, if I work Sunday afternoon, I can set the email to wait 18 hours and show up on Monday morning...and so on.
Here's how to set it up:
Step 1: Decide what your tags will be to manage this
I used "delay1", "delay2", etc. Adjust these times based on when you're likely to be writing replies, and when you want the emails to be sent.
I've set up my preset delays to be 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 18, 24, 36, 42, and 47 hours. This will allow me to work any time I want, and then have the email be sent at a time that's appropriate.
Step 2: Edit your existing client notification triggers to NOT send if they include one of those tags
Be sure to add this to all triggers that send a reply to your clients, as you may have several.
Use the Condition "Tags ... Contains none of the following" and enter all of your new tags.
Step 3: Create a new automation for each tag/delay
This will send the email after enough time has elapsed. Here's my setup for 12 hours (for other delays, just change the numbers accordingly). Note that the Email body was copied & pasted from the original trigger that sent the notification.
Step 4 (Optional, but highly recommended): Set up a custom Ticket Field to provide a drop-down with the delay options
This will make it easier and less error-prone, as you won't have to manually type in a tag.
For delays over 12 hours, I also added a note to suggest when to use which delay (assuming I want the actual reply to go out Monday morning):
Step 5: Before submitting a new ticket or reply in Zendesk, simply select the delay from the drop-down
Zendesk will automatically add the tag when you submit.
If you skipped Step 4, then you'll need to manually enter the tag, such as "delay24". This also requires you to remember which tags actually exist, and which don't (entering "delay23" might not work!)... hence my suggestion of the drop-down.
Some other notes and caveats:
1. Test thoroughly!
2. Since automations only run once each hour, the actual delay will be the delay you set, plus up to 59 minutes (give or take). So if you write a reply at 8pm on Sunday evening, and set a 12 hour delay, the message will go out some time between 8am to 9am on Monday morning. You'll see pretty quickly when your automation script runs. My account happens to be around 3 minutes after the hour -- so the emails are always sent in the first ten minutes or so of the hour.
3. For troubleshooting, it's helpful to change from "Conversations" to "Events" view... then you can see the audit trail of when the automation ran and how things worked.
That's it! Hope it helps you...and if you have any other suggestions on how to improve this setup, please let us know!
Slick setup, thanks for the tip Andrew!
Such a great tip, Andrew! Amazing. Thanks for sharing it!
I'll add this to our automations tips list. (And I made your headings larger to make them stand out more!)
Thanks @Andrew Wilder, so I have been looking at this implementation and it meets my needs, however, after running through your setup several times, I am 99% confident I have this set up correctly.
When using the drop down method, (point 4), when selecting 1 Hour which should result in tag 'delay1' being inserted as a tag. It appears there is NO tag is inserted.
This surely comes down to the mechanics of the drop down box? Has anyone else experienced this issue?
Some screenshots showing the problem.
Dropdown box settings showing corresponding tags setup:
Before setting the 1 hour delay, empty tag and delay fields:
After selecting 1 Hour delay dropdown still NO 'delay1' tag:
So to confirm if I manually enter delay1 into the tag field, everything works as expected. 1 Hour delay before the ticket is sent.
So the problem is the tag is not being inserted from the drop-down field... Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
On another note I have seen there is an option with regard to CC users... Where you set 'notification email user' in the automation 'action', the image provided by @Andrew Wilder shows 'requester', if you click this box during setup I see 'requester and CC'. I have trialled that but the CC user still gets the ticket mail immediately.
Is this another fault?
However, maybe something is not yet caught up in my Zendesk for both these options to be not working. I can only hope it's something so simple...
Just to confirm, are you submitting the ticket after you've applied the 1 Hour delayed field? The tag would only be applied to the ticket after you've hit the submit button.
Additionally, you may want to check the events of the ticket to make sure these tags are not being removed when the ticket is updated. I'd also recommend you check your triggers/macros to make sure they're not using the Set Tag action since that will then remove any previous tags from your ticket.
Keep me posted!
I found what my issue was. Stupidly I was doing to much with one ticket before the time limit.
I was forgetting I need to leave the ticket alone. So I was testing other time limits from the same ticket, forgetting it was removing the 'delay1' tag...
So all is resolved!
UPDATE TO MAKE CCs DELAY ALSO...
OK for CC users I can confirm as now tested. This works, you need to make a setting change to your Zen.
See article: https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203661606-Configuring-CC-and-follower-permissions
Once you have set up CC and Followers and if you have opted for automatic set up you should not have to do anything, CCs should now go at the same time as the requester.
If your CC is still firing immediately check your Automation. As you can see in the purple box, (requester and CCs) is set and this will delay and then fire both together at the same delay time.
If this is set to (requester) then the CCs shall fire immediately and the requester will receive there at the permitted time.
That's awesome to hear Michael!
Thanks for taking the time to share the update with us as well :)
I'm trying to set this up for use only on zendesk text tickets. Our main operations are on the east coast and wanting to reply but delay the sending of text responses for our west coast customers. Not being able to find a good way to do this. Any suggestions?
Do you have any conditions in the ticket itself that could determine if the user is east coast or west coast? You could set up a text trigger that would immediately send the text to an east coast user. For any west coast users, you could set up an automation to send the notification after a certain amount of time has passed. We would need to figure out how to determine which user is east coast and which is west first.
Let me know if you have any additional information to provide.
Hi Brett! We could easily add tags to distinguish from east to west coast but the issue I'm running into is there is no automation for a text notification.
Thanks for the additional information. You are correct and there's no text notification available in automations. That being said, you could use the automation to set a ticket field or apply another tag. Then a trigger that will send the text notification once the automation has updated that ticket with the ticket field or tag applied.
Let me know if that doesn't make sense :)
It's best to know if the automation actually did activate on a ticket where you expect it to. You can do that by looking at the ticket's events and here's a related article: https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203691176-Viewing-all-events-of-a-ticket for more details on that.
If you don't see a log of the automation activating on that ticket, it's best to cross check the conditions of the automations with the ticket to see if all of the conditions are met.
Hope this helps.
Michael Froeming | Senior Customer Advocacy Specialist
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Why should this have to be automated in such a cumbersome manner? One of Gmail's best features is to the ability to schedule a send, and it works quite simply.
The ability to schedule (or delay send) a support response is important because sometimes you just have to throttle the flow of communications on a ticket when, for example, the customer is not taking time to adequately review responses. Or, if the customer is having a bad day and firing off inappropriate emails, then scheduling a response for a later time might give the customer time to compose himself.
It's bewildering that in several years, no one at Zendesk thought it important to add this critical feature, even after Gmail made it so popular.
Ya same here, this is so crucial and this is one of the main reasons we are not sure if we can go with Zendesk over the competition as we vet the platform. We are looking at addons but unclear if they do this either.
Michael Froeming Brett Bowser Zendesk Team
Following up on Ben & the anon user's message from above.
I simply want to schedule a message for noon tomorrow or 3pm next Thursday.
All future sends appear to be conditional automations based on triggers.
I am kinda dumbfounded Zendesk doesn't have this.
I am using an app called Deadline in their marketplace to do this, but timezones are universal so it is hard to do in some cases. It is your best bet here so you don't have to do anything crazy, that said its a complex messed up work around compared to native implemntation.
Hello Ben & Ethan,
We do understand your feedback and concern for a more native and easy to use Email Scheduler. However at the moment Zendesk does not have this functionality.
If you would like to submit this as feedback, please do so here for our product teams to take a look and potentially add in future releases:
Feedback - Ticketing System (Support)
Just to second what Erik said here, our product feedback forums are the official place that our product managers intake user feedback. They subscribe to those topics so that they receive notifications, and everything posted in those forums is tracked internally so that we can recognize similar requests, patterns, etc.
Feature requests and comments on functionality posted to article comments, tutorials, user tips, etc. May or may not be seen by product managers, and most likely will not be responded to. We try to keep the conversation in one place so that the PM's don't have to track 15,000 conversations to respond to. :)
If you haven't posted in the feedback forums before, you should take a quick look at our product feedback guidelines to know what to expect, and consider using our product feedback template for writing up your suggestion. Thanks for helping us understand your needs!
Do you have a form I can fill out?
I don't want to just post in a forum and watch it go nowhere. I don't believe that does anything, if you have proof please prove it with a customer(s) who had a request actually delivered (I haven't found anyone who had anything get done). These are the same posts that have gone on for years. I tell every support person I talk to and every salesperson about crucial features you are missing, those being:
1. Ability from a trigger/automation to make an internal comment. This is such basic functionality and again dumbfounded. I can email customers from those systems but none of our team can see what a customer got, meaning they can't get context or provide quality customer service.
2. Real scheduling. See above. I pay deadline for this now and I like them, but its hacky and requires a lot of work to get it working how I want it.
I'll be around for ~18 months and then I'll move to Freshdesk or something that can do this. I can't move now as too much as going on but I blocked out March 2023 to plan a summer 2023 move of our entire email/support system.
I haven't had much of a need for scheduled replies, but it makes sense that it's a feature some would want! I don't think this is too bad considering it's customizable based on your preferences.
Regarding a trigger/automation to make an internal comment Ben , you can do this by setting up an extension/target and then using it in your triggers and automations.
Heather Rommel Yep, I've made an internal comment using that hack, but it is a super messy hack approach. It fails often, you have to convert comments into a specific format, and now I get emails about how you are shutting down that method. So I have to do a ton of work to port it over to this new hook method which isn't working so far. Does any of that sound fun :)?
I want to stress this to the community, what Heather is recommending is a super messy hack that shouldn't be needed if Zendesk would build such a key feature. It is a workaround but you pay for it with loads of management time and failures.
I hear your frustration; I haven't had the experience of failures with the workaround. Sorry you're having that experience!
Do you run Zendesk for your company or something?
Very confused... I thought moderators worked for Zendesk and thus would be able to see this type of stuff. Are you saying you are actually a Zendesk user?
Nope! Zendesk Moderators do not work for Zendesk. We're a collection of Zendesk experienced volunteer folks who assist other Zendesk customers here on the Community. https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/4408832445978-About-the-Zendesk-Community-Moderator-Program
Oh wow!!! You don't get paid for this or compensation of any kind?
Hey guys! I just implemented Zendesk for our company a couple of months ago and the scheduled send is a very important feature that we use.
I just followed these steps and added all the automations to our setup, but I can't get the email to fire.
I was hoping I can set this up on a "per comment" basis. So for example; Agent types out a response to the customer, selects the type of delay they want to add to the ticket using the ticket fields on the left side, and then press "submit" but it seems like I have to pre-type the message that sends in the automation sequence on the back end and can't just add the tag to any message I want.
Please tell me there is a way around this or a way to fix this. I appreciate any help with this in advance! We are dying without this
The workflow above is just a workaround for sending delayed notifications. It will not work for multiple comments for it will be dependent on the tags present on the ticket.
Thanks for confirming Dane.
Where can I suggest this to the Zendesk team as a feature to built out in an upcoming release?
Would you mind posting your use case to our Feedback on Support topic? We have a template you can copy and use in your post. Thanks!
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