Our three favorite Zendesk features

Our three favorite Zendesk features
By Pedals | On Jun 16, 2021
5 min read

We built TestBox so you can test-drive different software products before you invest in one. Today, we wanted to share some of the team's favorite Zendesk® features that we discovered as we configured Zendesk for TestBox. In TestBox, we’ve used a Suite Professional subscription of Zendesk and populated it with sample tickets created using OpenAI’s GPT-3. We set up the configurations ourselves to represent the most common use cases and features customer support teams use daily.

In this post, we're sharing our top three favorite features in Zendesk. You can also read about the three biggest challenges we encountered with Zendesk here. Let’s jump right in!

In this article:

1. The knowledge base, Answer Bot, and macros

Our favorite discovery while learning about Zendesk was the deep integration between knowledge base articles and the support app.

Document your team’s knowledge in knowledge base articles

In our experience, it’s very common for a company to end up with product knowledge that’s segregated in different places or even completely undocumented. That’s not the case with Zendesk. The Zendesk support app can help your team aggregate and document product knowledge (and answers to other FAQs) using knowledge base articles, Answer Bot, and macros.

Once you’ve created knowledge base articles in Zendesk, you have everything you need to turn on Answer Bot. By activating the feature and adding a quick code snippet to email replies, you can start saving your agents’ time and helping users resolve their issues faster.

Use Answer Bot and AI for ticket deflection

Answer Bot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze a user’s support ticket text and suggest knowledge base articles that may be related to their issue. For example, if the user submits a ticket referencing a forgotten password, Answer Bot can suggest an article about password reset. Then, if the suggested article resolves the user’s issue, they can mark the ticket as resolved without needing to engage with an agent.

Automate tasks with macros

For tickets that aren’t fully resolved with Answer Bot’s suggestions, you can use macros to save time. Macros allow you to automate a set of tasks — all the agent has to do is run the macro and, presto, the set of tasks is complete. Some example tasks are: 

  • Filling in response text (also known as canned responses).
  • Automatically escalating or assigning the ticket to a different agent.
  • Adding ticket tags.
  • Changing ticket status, and more. 

For example, a software company that often gets support ticket requests about a navigation bar bug could build a macro that:

  • Pre-fills the response and asks the ticket requester to follow the referenced knowledge base articles to reset their browser cache. 
  • Marks the ticket as “Pending.”
  • Removes the current agent assigned.
  • Assigns the ticket skill as “technical bugs” (meaning only agents who are technically skilled will see this ticket).

Embrace continuous improvement

The features above focus on leveraging your knowledge base articles to save agents time. But Zendesk also supports continuous improvement. That means your team can easily keep your knowledge base articles up to date by taking advantage of each agent’s product knowledge as they answer tickets.

Zendesk allows agents to leave flags and comments on existing knowledge base articles to suggest changes or additions. When an agent adds a comment to an existing knowledge base article, Zendesk creates a new ticket. The new ticket includes the agent’s comment, a link to the knowledge base article, and a link to view the original support ticket that prompted the update. This makes it easy for an agent with knowledge base edit access to review these tickets and keep the knowledge base pages updated efficiently.

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2. Skills

While Zendesk isn’t the only customer support tool that has skill-based ticket routing, we are big fans of the way Zendesk handles skills.

Define new skill types and skills

In Zendesk, you can label tickets and agents with a variety of different skills — things like languages spoken, departments they work in, areas of expertise, and more. Setting up the skills is intuitive and flexible. And it accommodates any skills you may need to track by letting you define new skill types and new skills. Within minutes you can set up a comprehensive list of relevant skills and assign them to agents.

View tickets that are unassigned with your skills

Another unique way that Zendesk handles skills is by not directly assigning a ticket to an agent with the relevant skill. Instead, Zendesk provides a view of tickets that are unassigned with specific skills. This view shows an agent all the tickets that are currently unclaimed, which match their skills — even if they have multiple different skills, such as the ability to speak Spanish and handle invoice questions. This keeps each agent’s view clean and easy to understand and prioritize.

Zendesk view of unassigned tickets

When an agent is ready to respond to a new ticket, they can:

  1. Go to the “Unassigned with your Skills” view.
  2. Choose the next highest priority ticket that they are qualified to resolve.
  3. Select “Take it” to assign the ticket to themselves.

This ensures that even with the complication of necessary skills for resolution, higher priority tickets are still addressed before lower priority ones. It means you’re less likely to have an SLA breach or deferred resolution due to a particular agent being out of the office. And it’s easier for managers and other administrative staff to track tickets that are at risk of SLA breaches. 

3. Salesforce integration

We definitely struggled with the Salesforce integration in the beginning (as you’ll see in our next post), but it was well worth it once we had everything configured correctly.

Leverage two-way syncing

The Salesforce integration offers a two-way sync between Salesforce and Zendesk, enabling your sales and support teams to collaborate and share context on all of your accounts. Changes to your Salesforce accounts are reflected in your Zendesk organizations, and changes to your Salesforce contacts are reflected in Zendesk end users.

Streamline your customer support workflow with custom fields 

Custom fields are supported as well, so you can bring any data into Zendesk that might be of use to your agents or necessary for Zendesk triggers or automations. For example, if you have different subscription tiers, you can pull this information into Zendesk from Salesforce, so you can apply different SLAs to organizations based on their subscription levels. You could also set up a trigger to add a tag to each ticket that labels the end user’s subscription tier. This allows your Zendesk support agent to have detailed information about a customer without having to check in Salesforce.

Keep the sales team up to date

The two-way sync between Zendesk and Salesforce also benefits your sales team. If you set up Zendesk Ticket View in Salesforce, you can load a list of related Zendesk tickets from the Salesforce Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity pages. Without leaving Salesforce, your sales agents can stay current on important issues or questions that their contacts and leads have raised.

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Wrapping up

Overall, we were impressed with how many Zendesk features are designed to make support team best practices easy and fast to implement. Zendesk facilitates knowledge sharing between agents and other teams, allows for prioritization of tickets while considering a variety of factors, and even helps save agent time through a robust knowledge base offering. If you haven’t tried it out yet, we highly recommend you sign up for a free TestBox account and take it for a spin.

You can also read about things that we found challenging with Zendesk, and in upcoming weeks, more content on Freshdesk and Hubspot as well.

Sam's Face

Pedals is a beloved member of the TestBox team whose entire goal in life is to author amazingly helpful blog posts and to cameo on every piece of TestBox swag.

TestBox empowers you to have a self-serve, customer-led experience so you can buy new software and feel confident that you made the right choice. Currently focused on Customer Support, TestBox allows you to test out Zendesk, Freshdesk, HubSpot, Dixa, and other products side-by-side. It takes a matter of minutes to sign up and take these products for a test drive. Find out more at TestBox.com or follow on LinkedIn.