How to's, Tips & Tricks
February 12, 2019

5 Powerful Zendesk Triggers to Improve Team Communication

What’s happening on ticket #342912?”

How many times a day do you see this question written in Slack, asked in team stand-ups or shouted across the office?

While help desks like Zendesk are an incredibly powerful tool for communicating with your customers and potential employees, bringing those conversations out of the help desk and into the wider team can be difficult. If colleagues can’t (or don’t want to) log into a help desk to get their answer, you’ll discover a gap in communications!

But fortunately, there’s a tool in Zendesk that can help close this gap.Zendesk Triggers are business rules that run right after a ticket is created or updated. For example, you can use triggers to notify customers when a ticket has been resolved.

In this post, we look at the best practices for setting up advanced Zendesk Triggers, and five of our favorite, slightly unusual Zendesk Triggers you can use today.

Best Practices for using Zendesk Triggers

Before you get trigger happy, keep in mind the final result. While adding Zendesk triggers might seem like better organization, it can actually result in chaos. Too many triggers, unnecessarily notification emails, and poorly named automations can all wreak havoc within your support department. To prevent a perfect trigger storm, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Follow a naming convention. Identify the types of tickets affected, the department who owns the automation and the action effected.
  • Turn off notify all agent triggers. Be specific with the agents who are notified by emails. Emailing everyone will desensitize agents to Zendesk emails and create a bystander effect. No one is accountable, so no one will respond.
  • Prune quarterly. Every three months, clean up triggers and turn off or delete any that aren’t needed anymore.

Andrea Saez at ProdPad also recommends keeping triggers channel specific. For example, keeping auto-responders targeted to support@ inboxes, and suppressing auto-responders for sales@ or feedback emails. Andrea says “it makes responses a bit more personalized and the whole process more custom for a better user experience.” Make sure to highlight channels in the Trigger name though!

If you have a lot of Zendesk Triggers (which you might after you read through our 5 suggestions below), you can use “blank” Triggers to act as Category dividers. Set the name to ========Category======= and create a Trigger that will never fire. (I like setting it to fire if Tag is trigger_will_never_fire). Here’s the result:

zendesk triggers organized into categories
Use blank category triggers to separate your trigger views.

Our favorite Zendesk Trigger Recipes for Better Team Communications

Once you start thinking about how you can make Zendesk more accessible to the wider team, there’s no limit to the recipes you can create. Here’s 5 of our favorites you can put to the test right now.

  1. Send New Customer Satisfaction Rating to Slack
  2. Leave a Private Note When Automations Run
  3. Using @mentions in Zendesk
  4. Update Account Managers on Ticket Resolution
  5. Out of Office Updates

1. 😊 Send New Customer Satisfaction Rating to Slack

Celebrate the good, and work together on improving the bad. When new customer satisfaction ratings come in, send them to a channel in Slack so that the entire team can appreciate them, comment on them and 👏👏👏.

        1. Set up a new Slack webhook.

Slack Webhooks for Zendesk

       2. Create a HTTP target in Zendesk for Slack.

Creating HTTP Targets in Zendesk

       3. Now you’re ready to set up your Trigger. If you only want Good feedback sent to your company wide Slack channel, remove the second condition.

Meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • Status is Solved

Meet ANY of the following conditions:

  • Satisfaction is Good with comment
  • Satisfaction is Bad with comment
conditions for satisfaction zendesk triggers

Add an Action to send a notification to Slack endpoint. Use JSON to format the message, according to Slack’s documentation.

{ “text”: “You received some feedback from {{}} on :\n{{satisfaction.current_comment}}” }

2. ✍️ Leave a Private Note When Automations Run

Automations often run behind the scene, and make changes that aren’t immediately obvious to someone looking at the ticket with fresh eyes. Fortunately, we can make these automations more obvious by adding a private note through the API. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than it sounds. (Thanks to Simon in the Zendesk Community for this tip).

  1. Create a URL target under the extensions tab. Note that you’ll need your API key to authenticate.
    Method: Put
    Attribute Name: ticket[comment][body]
  2. Add action Notify:Target to each Trigger with the text you want added as a private comment. For example, you might add the comment “Trigger #4 emailed customer and added a “follow-up” tag”

Note: this is a workaround that Zendesk doesn’t totally support. A future update may remove this functionality without warning.

3. 📣 Using @mentions in Zendesk

Early in 2017, Zendesk added new functionality to support @mentions in tickets. If you’re using the rich text editor, simply @mention a fellow agent and they’ll receive a notification and be cc’d on the ticket. However, this great tutorial by Andrew J offers more functionality and flexibility with implementing @mentions. For example, you can send the notification to Slack, notify non-agents, or send a notification without cc’ing the agent on the ticket. This is particularly helpful when you don’t want the email address of agents exposed to end-users. Here’s how to set this up:

  1. Create the target for the notification in Zendesk. If you’re just notifying agents, you can skip this step. Otherwise, set up an external email target, or an HTTP target for Slack notifications. Here’s more on how to set up this Slack endpoint.
  2. Create a new trigger for the name you want to @mention. Note that since Zendesk now supports @mention, you’ll need to use a new symbol to trigger the mention. !mention works well. Note that you can use as many Comment Text conditions as you want to cover mentions of full names, or just first names.

        3. Set up the following action:

Notify Target: [Choose either email target or Slack target]

Email Subject: Mentions on ticket {{}}

Email Text: {{}} mentioned you on ticket {{}}



Use this formatted JSON for Slack notifications, replacing @username with the appropriate person to mention.

Once turned on, agents can !mention the specified person and they will receive a notification on the channel you chose.

Sending @mentions in Zendesk to Slack
Using Halp makes Zendesk @mentions even more powerful

If you’re using Halp, it’s even easier to send @mentions into Slack, and see the history of the ticket from Slack. Once you’ve set up the Zendesk ticket to Slack integration, simply @mention your colleagues username in the Zendesk comment and Halp will automagically convert the comment in Slack. No need to write any JSON or set-up endpoints, it just works. Tada!

Slack mention sent from Zendesk

4. ✅ Update Account Managers on Ticket Resolution

If your account management or customer success team regularly hands tickets over to support, they likely want to be notified on the outcome. It’s possible to CC account managers on tickets, but they may not need to see every update on the ticket. Instead, we can use tags and triggers to update Account Managers only on ticket resolution.

First, set up an email target for each Account Manager’s email address, unless they are already added as agents to your Zendesk account.

Secondly, decide if tickets will be manually tagged with the Account Manager, or if each customer will have an Account Manager tag which automatically adds it.

Then, set up the following trigger for each Account Manager:

Meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • Ticket Status is changed to Solved
  • Tag contains at least one of the following: accountmanager

Meet ANY of the following conditions:

  • Leave blank

Perform these actions:

  • Email target: Account Manager’s email
  • Subject: “Your customer’s ticket {{}} has been resolved”
  • Body:
  • Hi Account Manager,
    Ticket for {{}} has been resolved. The details are below:
Conditions for updating Account Manager

If all customers are tagged with their account manager’s tag, this automation will work without any additional manual input. If not, agents will need to add the tag to tickets where an account manager should be notified.

5. 😷 Out of Office Trigger

Many teams assign a ticket to one agent who follows the conversation through to resolution. However, when that agent is out of the office, replies to their tickets might go unanswered. This trigger can be turned on for each out of office agent. It works particularly well for unexpected sick days. (HT to Community User Dave Hannon)

Meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • Assignee is Agent (out of office)
  • Ticket is Updated
  • Current user is (end-user)

Meet ANY of the following conditions:

  • Leave blank

Perform these actions:

  • Email group = Support
  • Note: You could also set this trigger to email a team lead, or any appropriate agent covering for the out of office agents
  • Email subject: “Agent A’s Ticket {{}} Has Been Updated”
  • Email body:
  • Hi team,
    {{ticket.assignee.first_name}} is out of the office and one of his tickets has been updated. Can you check it out?
    The details are below:
conditions for out of office trigger

The Sky is the Limit!

Hopefully this post has got your brain juices churning for new ways to use Triggers in your Zendesk account. We’ve obviously left off a bunch of really great, useful Zendesk Triggers too. If you’ve got a favorite, leave it in the comments below and we’ll add it to our next blog post! If you liked this article and want to read more like it, subscribe for more tips!

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