This post provides a workflow to snooze a ticket until certain due date using ticket Task type and on-hold status. It also explores options to monitor those tickets while keeping them out of agents' focus temporarily. It utilises basic business rules (automation, trigger) and ticket management tools (views, macros) to solve a specific use case and is beginner-friendly. For more foundational tips on managing and monitoring on-hold tickets, see my previous tip.
Example use case
As a retail support agent, your customer is contacting you to ask when an item will be back in stock. You check with your supplier and inform the customer it will be available in about 2 weeks, but you strive to go above and beyond to help your customers and maximise the value for your business. So, you want to follow up with them personally when the item is back in stock or inform them if there is further delay.
From the agent's perspective, The flow is as follows:
- Ticket appears in agent's view.
- Agent responds to the ticket, puts it on-hold, and sets a due date.
- Ticket disappears from agent's view and into a monitoring view.
- On the due date, ticket re-opens automatically and re-appears in agent's view.
- Agent follows up with the customer and solves or re-snoozes the ticket.
From the admin perspective, the flow is made of a few components:
- A Macro to set ticket properties and formulate a comment.
- An Automation to re-open the ticket around the due date.
- A Trigger to safeguard against putting tickets on-hold indefinitely.
- Edits to agents' assigned tickets Views to snooze the ticket, and optional monitoring views.
The first step is answering the customer's question. Since this is a common use case, you may decide to create a macro with a standard reply:
Basically, the macro sets some use-case-specific ticket fields and adds a generic public comment (the comment utilises the nested drop down field to include the product name as mentioned here). But the most important part is that it sets the ticket status to on-hold and the type to Task. A new Due date field will appear on the ticket.
Now, all the agent needs to do is set the due date for when they need to follow up with the customer, personalise the reply a little bit, and submit the ticket. Here is a gif of the agent's experience:
And that's it for the agent. They will see the same ticket again in the same view in a couple of weeks. Hopefully it will be back in stock by then and they can bring the good news to the customer.
The due date is set to 12 PM of the selected day (browser time zone). For simplicity, I choose to re-open the ticket right at the due date by creating this automation:
I chose not to add a notification with this automation since support agents are expected to always monitor their open tickets, but you may choose to email assignee or ping a slack channel.
Assuming your agents use a standard view such as Your unsolved tickets or something similar to keep an eye on their assigned tickets. What if they want to focus only on tickets requiring their attention?
You can clone the built-in Your unsolved tickets view with additional conditions to exclude on-hold tasks as well as pending tickets. Here is how it would look like.
You can do the same for a group view:
Now they are gone temporarily from what I describe as a "focus view". While those tickets will still appear in any standard unsolved tickets views, they can use some dedicated views built by Zendesk, but deactivated by default. I'm talking about Current tasks and Overdue tasks views:
Feel free to reactivate them for everyone, or for your Team Leads, just to save some precious space in the views list. A lead should regularly check this view for any "accidental" 2030 or 2020 due dates.
You may have noticed a loophole in this recipe. As an experienced admin, you know that Due date field is not required, and when left empty, the ticket will never re-open automatically. Hence, you should add a trigger like this one:
The slack notification is meant for your agents' sanity in case one of them has missed the briefing and wonders why on earth their on-hold tasks keep re-opening immediately. You may choose to email the assignee instead.
How will this affect my SLA?
Since the due date will likely depend on external factors, the ticket could breach some SLA targets (if configured) while snoozed (on-hold), namely:
- Requester wait time
- Periodic update
- Pausable update
The time between ticket re-opening and agent's response (changing the status from open) will also count towards Agent work time target. So, make sure you plan your SLA configuration accordingly.
Have any questions or workflow requests? The community and I are here to help.
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