by Douglas Redo and Christopher Christen
This Zendesk on Zendesk session, hosted by Doug Redo, senior IT specialist in our San Francisco office, is about how our IT department maintains an internal Zendesk instance. Topics we'll cover include creating an effective internal Help Center and managing tickets for company-wide support.
See all of our Zendesk on Zendesk series discussions here.
At Zendesk, we have a few internal-only Zendesk instances that departments use to provide support to the rest of the company. For example, we have an HR and Facilities Zendesk and a Training Zendesk. You can learn more about our all of our internal Zendesk instances in this Fine Tuning discussion.
Today, I'll be focusing specifically on our IT department's Zendesk instance, which we use to provide support across our global offices
When someone at Zendesk is having an IT issue they need help with, submitting a ticket to IT's Zendesk is one of the most popular and fastest ways to get help. Over the past seven days, our team has handled 579 tickets with an average 27 hours solve time.
Triaging and assigning tickets
When a ticket is submitted or an email is sent to the IT alias, everyone in IT is notified. In general, the first person to touch a ticket assigns it to themselves. I also go through our tickets frequently to make sure they don't sit unassigned for too long.
All of our IT team is capable of addressing the majority of tickets that we get. However, if someone has been working a lot recently or is particularly knowledgeable about one area, such as new hire setup or streaming live events, we'll assign that ticket to the natural owner.
At our current volume of tickets and team size, we've found it's practical to assign tickets manually on a case-by-case basis as they come in. Accordingly, we don't rely heavily on triggers and other business rules in our instance.
One important feature we use is ticket sharing. Some tickets that come in apply to multiple departments and areas. For example, if someone's changing desk locations and needs to set up their new equipment, both Facilities and IT might need to be involved. We also sometimes get misdirected requests that should go to another department completely. Since only Zendesk IT uses our instance, setting up ticket sharing has been crucial to seamlessly working with other departments.
Another useful feature for us is macros. IT members can quickly insert answers to common questions and update ticket fields accordingly. This also helps assure we're giving consistent responses to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Our Zendesk IT team uses the Help Center to create articles for our internal employees as well as our IT team. Having a central location for our team to learn more about applications and processes helps minimize redundancies. It also frees up time to help users with “walk-up” questions and allows us to spend more face time with users experiencing issues.
Keeping content up to date
When I first joined Zendesk as part of the IT team about 2 years ago, we were in the beginning stages of building out our internal Help Center. We had a handful of articles but overall they were irrelevant or outdated. This created an unnecessarily large learning curve for me as a new IT employee and wasn't helpful to other teams at Zendesk. It took time to sift through the information and grasp what was accurate and what was erroneous.
As we began to build our IT team, we committed to making updates to our Help Center a priority. This has helped deflect tickets as well as drastically improved our onboarding process as new hires have an immediate abundance of information at their fingertips. It also helps deflect tickets by giving accurate, clear information to common questions.
Every single person on our team updates or creates articles when needed. If someone notices a change that needs to be made, that person usually makes the update themselves. This draws on the combined expertise of our team and helps updates to happen faster.
General content guidelines
Our Help Center landing page has a section that includes some of the most commonly viewed articles. We created this section so new hires would have a place to get tips and tricks, familiarize themselves with our IT tools, and give them confidence that Help Center as a great resource.
As is true with most knowledge base content, we’ve found that including screenshots, bullet points, and numbered steps is the best way to display content. This allows for the user to have visual guides on how to solve their issue and allows them to quickly read the article and pull out the information that is most important to them. Utilizing paragraph breaks and bold words help add visual weight and importance to crucial information. We also make sure to always add labels to our articles so they're easier to search for.
In addition to company-wide articles directed at all Zendesk employees, our Help Center contains internal articles only IT can access.
The company-wide content contains useful articles for all employees about common issues like resetting your computer password, troubleshooting VPN connection problems, and connecting to a printer in the office. The internal IT-only content allows us to include more technical, complex solutions to our teammates without confusing our internal customers.
Maintaining this IT-only section has drastically improved our onboarding process, as new hires have an immediate abundance of information at their fingertips. When a new member joins the IT team, they spend a great deal of time during their first few weeks referencing the HC to learn how to solve tickets. This allows them to be more self sufficient when learning about processes and greatly reduces the amount of time other employees spend training them. This increases productivity and boosts morale as the new employee can feel confident that they are making an immediate impact. Like many other tech companies, there are a great deal of different applications that are used daily across different teams. This can be very overwhelming for a new IT member who may not be familiar with all of these apps, but the Help Center provides an easy way for them to familiarize themselves. We encourage new members of IT and all new hires to spend sometime just reading through the HC to get a better understanding of the applications that they will be using.