This Fine Tuning session is about effective team communication in your support organization, including:
- Effective use of Zendesk notifications
- Tips and tricks for communication within Zendesk
- Best practices for communication across multiple platforms
Zendesk Customer Success Consultant Yaaz Dabiri has been with Zendesk since November of 2015 and brings over seven years of experience in customer success with various SaaS companies.
See all the Fine Tuning series discussions.
Part 1, 8 am: Effective use of Zendesk notifications
Making effective use of Zendesk notifications can be crucial to your workflow. The last thing you want is to desensitize your agents and end-users to Zendesk emails. Cleaning up the notifications that are sent out will help effectively alert the recipient and keep communication meaningful. In this section, I’ll discuss helpful action items for consolidating and optimizing the email notifications sent from your Zendesk.
Adjusting default triggers
There are several triggers that come standard within Zendesk.The default Zendesk triggers are based on best practices, however, not all of them will make sense for every team.
To minimize unnecessary email notifications, a good first step is to take a look at your default triggers by going to Manage > Triggers and deactivating those triggers that are redundant. (Note: the ability to deactivate triggers is available on Team, Professional and Enterprise plans.)
Deactivate “Notify all Agents” if your agents live in Zendesk
Namely, one option to consider is disabling “Notify all agents of received request.” If your agents are already living in Zendesk and using their browsers to reply, an extra email to notify them of a received request is a duplicate notification. To deactivate the trigger, simply deselect the box next to the trigger title.
Deactivate “Notify Group” if you want agents to use Play
Another trigger to review for your use case is “Notify group of assignment.” Perhaps your business model does not require the whole group to receive an email for every update, so in this case you could deselect the box next to this trigger to deactivate it.
If you want to encourage your agents to use the Play button, deactivating this trigger is also helpful for encouraging your agents to live in the Zendesk interface rather than becoming accustomed to replying to tickets from their email. Using this trigger, especially with larger teams, can start to inundate your inbox with unnecessary notifications. If you want multiple agents to be notified on the same ticket, you can simply copy them on the ticket.
Also you can use Guided Mode (NEW!). If your admins have set up Guided Mode then agents can only use Play to view their tickets. Using Guided Mode will mean your agents won’t need notifications and disabling the “Notify group of assignment” is the way to go!
As a general rule of thumb, if your agents are living in the Zendesk interface every day, you will not need the two above mentioned triggers: “Notify all agents of received request” and “Notify group of assignment.
Modify “Notify Assignee” to get only the notifications you want
Now let’s look at another another trigger: “Notify assignee of comment update.” This could be modified to add another condition which states, “Ticket: Assignee is not [Insert agent(s)]” for those agents you do not want to receive an email.
A second modification to that same trigger would be to add a condition that “Ticket tag contains one of the following” for example, “sample_notify_me” tag. Create a universal tag that identifies tickets that you want to receive notifications for.
By default the agent won’t receive a notification email from updates made on the ticket unless they manually add the universal tag to the ticket. This way, the agent chooses which tickets they receive notification emails for by adding a tag to the ticket.
Organizing notifications outside of Zendesk
From an email perspective, a simple way to organize incoming Zendesk notification emails is to create a folder within your e-mail account so that all those emails are automatically routed to the specified folder.
You’ll find that the more your agents live in the Zendesk interface, there is less need to generate notifications to remind them of logging into the interface. If your agents do not live in the Zendesk interface, notifications are essential to ensure timely ticket responses. If you’re relying on agent notifications to alert your team to incoming assignments, could you instead direct agents to keep up with their Open Tickets view? If agents regularly monitor their Open Tickets view, you might be able to eliminate notifications.
Using broad email aliases
A common headache for managing incoming emails is when broad email aliases (i.e. - support@ or billing@) are assigned to agent seats instead of groups. Consider keeping agent email aliases unassociated with individual agents but rather with groups.
Don’t forget - This Fine Tuning article is meant to be interactive so feel free to post your questions or thoughts on this in the comments section below.
Part 2, 11 am: Tips and tricks for communication within Zendesk
In addition to managing email notifications, good communication within your Zendesk instance is also important for productive agents and happy managers.
Avoid agent collision
Agent collision occurs when multiple agents are working on resolving the same ticket. You can avoid having multiple agents work on the same ticket unintentionally by having agents use the Play button feature. The Play button guides your agents through the available tickets in a view automatically, without allowing them to pick-and-choose which ticket they want to work on. To activate Play mode, click the Play button in the top right of any view in your Zendesk agent interface. This will open the first ticket in the view. After addressing the ticket, clicking Submit will update the ticket and automatically move you to the next available ticket. Using the Play button is a best practice for agent protocol, and it helps to prevent agent collision (i.e. toe stepping) within Zendesk.
You can tell if an agent is working on a specific ticket when you are looking at the view or when you are in the ticket.
While this makes it easier to avoid conflicting updates to tickets, another best practice can be employed here. Avoid agent collision by training your agents to immediately assign tickets to themselves, preventing other agents from jumping in and responding before you do.
Agent actions within Zendesk, with regard to how they’re taking ownership of tickets, can help prevent agent collision. This works better than relying on the “who is viewing this ticket” feature. That feature can be vague, as both parties view the ticket, because it isn’t clearly defined who is actually taking ownership of responding to the customer.
Agent to agent ticket referencing
When agents need to reference another ticket within a ticket, they can improve agent-to-agent communication by adding an internal comment with a ticket referencing hashtag. The hashtag would read as #InsertTicketNumber. This allows agents to seamlessly reference other tickets internally through the agent notes section, without making it visible to the customer.
Using @Mention - (NEW!)
Using the @mention feature enables agents to copy someone else on the ticket, while also giving another layer of transparency into why someone is being copied and what area of the ticket they need to address. Agents can explain why they are adding someone to the ticket rather than cc’ing them without any context and potentially prompting the need for an email exchange outside of Zendesk. The @mention feature allows you to consolidate all those discussions and notes in Zendesk with more clarity.
Part 3, 2 pm: Best practices for communication across multiple platforms
External teams that need to be informed of information within Zendesk can end up getting bombarded with so many notification emails that they become accustomed to deleting without reading. The crux of the issue is that those other teams aren't in Zendesk every day like the support agents are. So how can you ensure that these other teams are getting the support data they need?
The key to minimizing the symptom known as “numbous to emailious” or being numb to Zendesk notifications is to determine IF and WHEN email is appropriate or if another notification method can be used entirely.
If an outside colleague just needs a general compendium of all updates within a timeframe: Why not schedule a daily/weekly/monthly report in Insights instead of triggering individual email notifications? You can easily export these reports through a CSV or XML file as well.
If your outside colleagues spend most of their time in another platform (Salesforce, for example): Why not take advantage of our awesome integrations and API to put the Zendesk data where they spend all their time? You might consider using reporting dashboards or something like our own Success Object integration.
Using Targets to send notifications
(available in Team, Professional and Enterprise only)
Our target extensions feature can and has proven really helpful! But it's really just a matter of determining the most appropriate notification method for each audience/scenario and then deciding the frequency of notifications. You can notify external targets with ticket updates.
Targets are used in trigger and automation actions. Once you set up your targets, you can then specify the target within the trigger or automation by using the Notify Target action. Zendesk provides pre-defined targets with more information on the specifics of setting up targets.
We hope you find this information helpful if you’re looking to keep communication concise within your organization. These tips highlight the benefits of efficiently and effectively notifying your agents and people outside of Zendesk with important updates to keep the conversation going!
Please feel free to share how you implement strategies for effective communication both inside and outside Zendesk or ask any questions in the comments section below.