After 15 Years, Zendesk Makes A Major Update
Open. Pending. On-Hold. Solved. Four words. Four categories that defined a generation of requests made from end users from startups to enterprises. When Zendesk launched in 2007, it led to a revolution in how the industry viewed customer service.
For all of the positive change, there has been one question that has surfaced in configuration after configuration… “How do we change the status of tickets to something that meets our needs better?” Until last week, the answer was: You don’t (or, more appropriately, let’s create a custom workflow that extends the functionality of the tool beyond its originally designed functions and purpose). But when you have more than 170,000 global customers, sometimes you just need a bit more flexibility… and Zendesk has finally agreed.
The Back Story
As many people are already aware, Zendesk launched in 2007 as a game-changing CX ticketing platform. Although it wasn’t the first CRM platform, they did something revolutionary for the time - they actually cared about the customer service agent experience. It had to look good, and it had to be easy. Solving for one problem in the industry, however, required unintentionally creating another. You can’t build a scalable, beautifully designed ticketing system by letting anyone do whatever they want to it. So Zendesk did what any reasonable company in their position would do - they painted with broad strokes - by implementing default Zendesk ticket statuses. These statuses represented the 6 stages of a ticket’s lifecycle, agnostic of industry. New tickets were akin to unread emails, whereas open tickets were actively being worked. Tickets that were pending a response from the end user were… well, pending, and on-hold was reserved for when both the agent and the end-user were stuck (read: escalations). Once a ticket reached the end of its lifecycle, it was solved, and eventually closed and locked down. It was simple, and it worked (in most use cases) really well for fifteen years.
The Case For Custom
Released in an EAP (Early Access Program) at the beginning of the year, we finally started to see Custom Statuses roll out into production instances quietly earlier this month. This will be a refreshing change for any organization that has struggled with getting their agents to select the right status. In shadowing support centers over the years, we’ve seen countless agents that, primarily due to incomplete training or inconsistent enforcement, make up their own rules when it comes to choosing a ticket status. When working with interdependent settings though, leaving something in an incorrect status for your configuration could cause unintended consequences - from notifications not going out on time to tickets being solved prematurely. Allowing Zendesk admins to not only customize the name of the statuses but the tool-tip descriptions as well, will go a long way to reducing miscategorization errors and help clean up reporting and backlog tracking. And, for the more complex workflows, admins now have a clear path for defining each stage of the process without having to rely on their own custom fields, reducing clicks per ticket. Even some of our most conservative configurers, many of which shuddered at the thought of this when we first caught wind of it last year, were impressed with how simple it was to switch.
There’s Always A Catch
As helpful as some customers will find these customizations, it is important to remember that they are cosmetic changes only. That is to say, there are still some hard and fast rules when it comes to status categories. First, you can only have one ‘new’ category, although you can call it something else. For the first time, however, you will be allowed to create multiple statuses within a status category. Need three different variations of ‘Pending’? No problem. Have really grateful end-users that like to throw off your one-touch resolutions by replying ‘thanks!’? Create a new category “Solved with Gratitude.” Need to follow a ticket through a CAB process - put as many on-hold statuses as you need! You can even show different statuses and descriptions to your end-users in the Zendesk Help Center portal. The only thing to remember is that your custom statuses still need to be categorized as either Open, Pending, On-Hold, Solved. The more things change, however, the more they stay the same.
Status Check: What’s Next?
So if you’re ready to break out of the world of stagnant statuses, head over to your Zendesk Admin Center and look for the new “Ticket Statuses” subheader under Objects & Rules. Once you activate them, you’ll see the stock statuses, with the subtle addition of three dots to the right of each status, allowing you to catapult yourself into a customized world. You’ll also find a button that allows you to do something no Zendesk admin has been able to do for 15 years… create your own status. And for those of you who are concerned about destroying the fabric of your company’s CRM - you do have the option to deactivate this feature and revert back to a simpler time (this is where those aforementioned status categories come into play).
Before you get too customized, however, it’s always best to measure twice. Grab a white board, hop on a zoom call, seek input from your front line support agents. Change for the sake of change is never necessary, and the statuses as Zendesk originally architected them have more than stood the test of time. And, as always, if you need help customizing your statuses, or any other part of your instance for that matter, 729 Solutions is here to help you connect ALL the dots…whatever you want to call them.