CSM Jillana hosted this Fine Tuning. You can still participate:
- Read the best practices below that Jill shared.
- Add a comment to ask a question or share your ideas. And read what others had to say
This two-part Fine Tuning highlights how Zendesk uses Zendesk to manage customer interactions across multiple departments. Click here to see part 2 .
In part one of this series, Jillana focused on how hundreds of Zendesk agents in our Support, Marketing, and Finance groups coexist in one Zendesk account. She discussed the workflows, tools, and features these internal groups utilize to provide great support.
You can still join the conversation by leaving a comment to ask questions and share your own pro tips!
Jillana was a Customer Advocate at Zendesk before joining the Customer Success Team, and has over six years experience as a help desk agent.
See all the Fine Tuning discussions.
Part 1: How Sales and Customer Success support new customers
As a Customer Success Manager, I am often asked about our own Support instance and how we operate internally. I thought a Fine Tuning feature would be the perfect opportunity to highlight our interdepartmental workflows and pro tips!
Our support.zendesk.com account is constantly evolving as it approaches its seventh anniversary. Agents are continually added, and groups, workflows, and processes are built, changed, and rebuilt.
We’ve grown to support over 40,000 accounts across 140 countries, and have over 70,000 unique Organizations in our account.
Here are some of our staggering stats:
- 100,000+ tickets answered
- 2,000+ views
- 4,500+ macros
- 350+ triggers
- ~700 agents (about ~5% of which are administrators)
- ~100 groups
- 1 Ticket is logged for every 39 Forum page views
There are a lot of moving parts, and the exponential growth of our customers has meant scaling internally to keep up and provide the best possible support.
Sales workflow for new customers
The Zendesk experience starts with a trial. When you create a trial account with Zendesk, a record linked to your subdomain is automatically created in Salesforce, which in turn creates an Organization in Zendesk. The information you provided in the trial setup process, and any changes to plan type or agent count, map to custom Organization fields that are visible to agents along with ticket history in the User Data App .
Our Sales team, comprised of Account Managers, Executives, Outbound and Inside Sales, tracks leads and opportunities in Salesforce and are copied on or assigned to their customers' tickets in Zendesk. They handle requests from customers or prospective accounts to add agents, become a Zendesk partner, arrange a discount, or upgrade to a new plan. Sales must also work closely with Support to communicate via tickets as Sales requests and questions come to our Customer Advocates. We strive to provide the best experience for our customers as they reach out to with requests that may require both groups’ expertise.
Customer Success workflow for Enterprise customers
New Enterprise customers have an additional step to the Sales and Support workflow. A Customer Success Manager will be assigned to the account for an initial consultation and up to 60 days of Launch Guidance after a ticket is sent from Sales to Success outlining the engagement. The custom fields on the Organization in Zendesk will route any tickets submitted by its users to Success during Launch Guidance. The account's Success Manager can then respond or route the ticket to the appropriate group, copying themselves, to ensure the ticket is handled in a timely manner.
When the Launch Guidance engagement has wrapped up, the Organization's custom fields are updated which then change the tags on incoming tickets so they are now automatically routed to Support. The Launch Guidance ticket initiated by Sales acts as a record of the engagement with notes detailing the discussions and progress made during Launch Guidance. This ticket is referenced on the Organization record as well, providing background on the account to Customer Advocates and Account Managers.
Launch Guidance is only one piece of Success at Zendesk. Existing accounts may be included in our Mentor Program, where accounts consult a Customer Success Manager to identify and focus on accomplishing a set of goals to improve their Zendesk experience. Our Strategic accounts are assigned a permanent Customer Success Executive who is dedicated to working through any unique use cases and serve as a constant source of best practices and guidance. Success works closely with Sales, Support, Product, and Training to provide a well-rounded experience for customers old and new.
Next, we'll take a closer look at Zendesk Support's workflows- join us at 11 AM PDT!
Part 2: How Support manages tickets
Customer Advocates are vital to the operations of support.zendesk.com. Routing tickets to Finance, Marketing, Product, Professional Services, Customer Account Managers, Solution Consultants, etc. our Support team ensures our support instance runs smoothly.
Handling roughly 1,000 new tickets a day is a tall order. As our customer base grew, we restructured our Support group to be better equipped to meet the growing demand. Formerly organized into Level 1 and Level 2 teams, last year Support split into three tiers to address the varying level of technical expertise and time needed to solve incoming tickets:
- Tier 1 takes incoming phone calls and resolves email requests about our product and its features; these are typically questions that can be resolved in less than 15 minutes.
- Tier 2 spends more time digging into issues and the related logs and handles requests that typically can be resolved in less than an hour.
- Tier 3 addresses the most complex or time-consuming tickets before sending qualified issues on to our Development team.
All Support Group Views are arranged by Priority, with the tickets listed in reverse chronological order by age, so agents can hit the “ Play ” button and take the oldest, highest priority ticket first.
All requests sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted from the web form go through an initial triage process. Based on the difficulty of the inquiry, some tickets are immediately sent to Tier 2 support, but the majority of tickets are sent to Tier 1 with varying priorities and ticket properties set by the Triage Agent.
Each action taken by the Triage Agent has an associated macro with a tag so we can track a ticket every step of the way- from where it goes initially to where it ends up. This brings accountability and metrics to the process, and it also makes the process faster. Our Triage Agents highly recommend becoming familiar with the Keyboard Shortcuts to save a surprising amount of time when handling tickets. Specifically, they use Ctrl + Alt + M to search for the appropriate macro that quickly sets the ticket fields, tags, and status so it can be assigned to the correct group or solved immediately.
Having an actual agent look at every new ticket is a great way to identify issues before they become widespread, gather common product feedback requests, and get a pulse on why customers are reaching out for support.
Escalation macros standardize the detailed handling information your agents need to collect before passing a ticket on to the next agent. This prevents duplicating efforts and ensures that Tier 1 Support is providing adequate information to Tier 2 support or that the Development team has the replication steps necessary to reproduce an identified issue. All Customer Advocates have a personal escalation macro that applies a tag so the amount of escalations from each individual agent is tracked and the agents can make a view to track and learn from their escalated tickets.
Check out this recipe for escalation macros to see how you can build your own: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/23876497-Escalation-Process-Macros-Template
As Zendesk is its own customer, we rely on the tools and features encourage our customer to use. We have found great value in Custom User and Organization Fields for storing customer data in Zendesk and compile Customer Lists for targeted mailing campaigns. We use the Events Log regularly to troubleshoot our own workflows as we strive to fine-tune our triggers and automations to ensure we handle our tickets as efficiently as possible. The Reporting Dashboard is also a useful tool, providing agents a snapshot of our account metrics for a given time period.
The Built by Zendesk Apps in the Marketplace are popular among our agents, and the User Data App , Answer Suggestion App , and Bookmark App are used every day at Zendesk. The Sidebar Icon App is installed in support.zendesk.com to embed our Internal Knowledge Base within the account so agents can quickly look at the KB without leaving the agent user interface. We relish creating our own unique solutions to problems we face, and the Apps Framework has been used by many internal agents to create the apps you see in Zenlabs , including favorites like the Time Tracking App and Redaction App .
We also promote the use of external tools that aid with global communication, such as Yammer and Flowdock . You can select what events you want pushed to the Yammer activity steam when you Notify your Yammer Feed to provide visibility to the entire company. We post customer satisfaction ratings from solved tickets, internal announcements, alerts to new features or content, and plenty of pet and baby photos! Flowdock is priceless for allowing our global teams to communicate in real time -- chatting to get a fresh perspective, collaborating to answer customer questions, or discussing product functionality.
Part 3: How Finance and Marketing handle customer requests
Our global Finance Operations team consists of only six people, but everyone pitches in to share the responsibilities and ticket load.
Over the last year, they have collaborated with other teams to develop a more effective and efficient workflow. To begin, they discussed common questions or confusions customers called Support about concerning the Subscription or Billing pages. They reviewed the request types listed in our nested custom drop-down About field, and drilled down to specify tickets regarding cancellations, change of ownership, coupon or credit card issues, agent count increase or decrease, manual invoicing requests, reactivations, vendor, tax requests, etc.
They collected data on which request types appeared most frequently, and looked at how internal process could be improved to better suit customers’ needs. Last August, the Finance team opted to move away from email workflows (attaching records of an email to other systems like Salesforce and Zuora) and move toward using Zendesk to communicate internally. Our Agent Collision feature helped enormously, as Finance had formerly struggled with multiple agents responding to the same email request.
They now paste a ticket URL in external systems to link back to the historical record for conversations around sales exceptions or customer issues. A few tasks were automated, and many more were fine-tuned, to create a streamlined process for each request type, with Zendesk providing visibility to all agents.
With a ticket to link to an approval process, or to include reasoning behind a pricing changing several months down the line, or to manage renegotiating a contract, Zendesk has become not only our internal historical record, but also provides a necessary time-stamped paper trail for customers or auditors alike.
Check out a simple approval process recipe here: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/66255138-Recipe-for-Approval-Pr...
Our world-class Marketing department consists of a crew of fewer than 50 people, broken into specialized groups.
With a sole triage agent, tickets are assigned to sub-groups like Customer Marketing, Product Marketing, Creative, and the Web Team. Some tickets are created directly from the email@example.com address, while others are sent over by Support, including the couple hundred of twickets received each week.
Facebook and Twitter posts to Zendesk that are not Support requests are passed along to the Marketing team using a simple macro, with an internal note to provide some context on the issue or customer. For example, our agents are fond of the ‘Love Tweets’ macro that directly assigns a twicket to a Marketing agent with the tag ‘love_tweet,’ so it can easily be tracked (we’ve seen 250 in the last 30 days!).
Whether it’s heralding new features in the product, delivering public announcements, or providing updates on service disruptions, @ZendeskOps and @Zendesk are the voice of the company!
Social Media channels generate the majority of tickets, but Marketing also receives requests regarding mailing lists, suggested content for our site, concerns about our brand, or simple requests for stickers. Lots of stickers.
Our Marketing team is constantly planning fun and interactive events around the globe for our customers. They manage Eventbrite pages for RSVPs and the logistics of these events, and handle any questions or concerns that come in through Support. There is a ton of work behind the Zen U tour and ensuring the venue, food, and the supplies and technology necessary for our presenters is all ready to go on the day of! Even our User Groups and Bootcamps hosted by our customers take some legwork to ensure the vendor provides food and beverages, and there is plenty of swag for the attendees.
For more on using your Social Media channels in Zendesk, check out last month's Fine Tuning on Social Media support: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/51619297