Setting up Skill-based Ticket Assignment - Zoho Desk Knowledgebase

Setting up Skill-based Ticket Routing to Agents

Skill-based ticket routing is an advanced routing strategy that routes tickets to customer support agents who are best qualified to reply to the incoming tickets. It works by matching the skills required to answer a ticket with those assigned to the agent. So when a ticket is received, it is routed to the first agent who has all the requested skills and can take the work item. 

Using skills has numerous benefits for your agents, customers, and your team as a whole. Let's look more closely at the benefits of using skill-based routing in your help desk.

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Benefits of Skill-based Assignment

Here are the benefits of assigning tickets to agents based on their skills:
  1. Ensure high-quality customer support by assigning inbound tickets to competent agents in a department.
  2. Assign tickets based on skills while simultaneously maintaining the agent threshold to ensure that none of your agents are overburdened.
  3. Reduce the number of hours support managers and agents spend on manually assigning tickets and finding suitable tickets to work.
  4. Efficient routing to highly skilled agents will reduce ticket resolution time, and ticket reopen rate.

Keywords to Remember

Here are some of the keywords and what they mean in skill-based routing:
  1. Skills : The distinct talent or expertise possessed by each agent on your team. For example, you could define skills for language (French, German, and English) and product knowledge (software and hardware).
  2. Skill type : A collection of skills that can be grouped into categories, for example, languages. So “Language” is a skill type while “French” is a skill.
  3. Auto-add skills to tickets : A setting that can be turned on to automatically add skills to tickets when they are created or edited. When turned off, you can only add skills manually or via a workflow rule.
  4. Skill-based assignment : An assignment method where tickets are assigned to agents who are most proficient in dealing with them.
  5. Recalculate skills : Removes all the existing skills and reapplies the required ones based on the ticket's current circumstances.
  6. Reassign ticket by skills : Reassigns a ticket based on their current skills and listing order.
  7. Remove skills : When used in workflow rules, it removes the requested skills from tickets that meet the rule criteria.
  8. Add skills : When used in workflow rules, it adds the requested skills to tickets that meet the rule criteria.

Skill-based Assignment Scenario

You can assign incoming support tickets directly to specific agents or agents within a team based on their skills. This happens when the ticket matches at least one specific skill, and there is an agent available with that particular skill. Let's consider this scenario:

Your help desk provides customer support for four countries - France, Austria, Germany, and Denmark. You have four agents assigned with the following language skills:
  1. Agent 1 : French
  2. Agent 2 : Danish and German
  3. Agent 3 : German
  4. Agent 4 : Danish
An incoming ticket from an Austrian customer will be assigned to the least loaded among Agent 2 and Agent 3 as they both speak German, and it is Austria's official language.

Thanks to auto language detection on the ticket - you can also filter tickets using the Language field data. So all you need to do is create appropriate skills and assign them to your agents.

Setting up Skill-based Routing

Setting up skill-based ticket routing in Zoho Desk is a three-step process.
  1. Step 1 : Add the required Skills and Skill Types
  2. Step 2 : Set your Skill Preferences
  3. Step 3 : Create a skill-based Round Robin rule
Let's look at each of the 3 steps in more detail.

Step 1 : Adding Skills and Skill Types 

The first step is to add the required skills and then group them into skill types.

To add a skill:
  1. Click the Setup icon (  ) in the top bar.
  2. Click Skills under Automation .
  3. On the Skills page, click Add Skill on the upper-right side of the page.

  4. On the Add Skill page, perform the following actions:
    1. Enter a name for the new skill, for example, French.
    2. Select the Skill Type to be associated with the skill.
    3. If you haven't added any Skill Types yet, click the   icon, enter a name for the Skill Type, and then click Save .
    4. Enter an appropriate description for the skill.
    5. Specify the criteria that will define which tickets should be mapped to this skill. You can specify multiple criteria conditions.
    6. Select the agents you want to assign to the skill from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Save when you are done.

Now that you have your first skill and skill type, you can add more skill types before setting up specific skills.

To add a skill type:
  1. Click the Setup icon (   ) in the top bar.
  2. Click Skills under Automation .

  3. On the Skills page, select the Skill Types tab.
  4. Click Add Skill Type on the upper-right side of the page.
  5. Enter a unique name for the skill type.
  6. Click Save .
    Repeat these steps for each skill type you want to add.

  1. You can add a maximum of 30 Skills and 30 Skill Types in a department.
  2. An agent can be associated with a maximum of 30 skills in a department.
  3. The Skills, Skill Types, and Preferences are department-specific .

Step 2 : Setting Skill Preferences 

The Preferences window allows you to define default settings for adding skills to tickets. For example, you might want to stop the auto-application of skills to tickets and instead add them manually or via a workflow rule.

To set your skill preferences:
  1. Click the Setup icon (   ) in the top bar.
  2. Click Skills under Automation .
  3. On the Skills page, click the Skill Preferences icon (   ) on the upper right corner.

  4. In the Skill Preferences window, do the following:
    1. Turn off the toggle button for the “ Auto-add skills to tickets " option.
      When turned off, you will only be able to add skills manually or via workflow rules.
    2. Select where you would like to add new skills to the ticket. You can choose between the top of the list , the bottom of the list , or based on their order in settings from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Save .

Note :
  1. Skills are auto-assigned to tickets based on the criteria specified in them and their order of appearance on the Skills List page.

Step 3 : Creating a skill-based Round Robin rule 

Now that you've added the required skills and skill types, it is time to determine which tickets should be assigned to whom based on skills. These sets of conditions are defined in the skill-based Round Robin rule.

To create a rule:
  1. Click the Setup icon (   ) in the top bar.
  2. Click Assignment Rules under Automation .
  3. Click Round Robin under the Assignment Rules sub-menu.
  4. On the Round Robin page, click New Round Robin Assignment .
  5. Enter an appropriate name and description for the rule.
  6. Select when do you want to trigger the rule. You can choose between Ticket Create or Ticket Update , or both .
  7. Click Add target .
  8. On the Add Target page, do the following:
    1. Specify the Criteria for the rule. The tickets associated with skills will be assigned to agents depending on the criteria specified here.
    2. You can use the AND / OR operators to add more than one condition.
    3. Select Skill based Assignment as the Assigning Method .
    4. Specify who should be assigned to tickets based on their skills. You can select between:
      1. Agents : Select the assignees from the drop-down menu.
      2. Team : Select a team from the drop-down menu to add all of their agents.
        You can exclude agents within a team by checking the Exclude agents from this assignment option.
  9. Click Save .

  1. Round Robin preferences like threshold per agent, backlog limit per agent, and backlog assignment style apply to the skill-based assignment method.

Managing Skills on Tickets

Let's look at how you can view, associate, remove and recalculate skills in tickets.

Viewing Skills 

Whether you've added a skill or a skill type, the Skills field appears on a ticket's left panel. It is a non-deletable field; however, you can move it to the Unused Fields section of the layout if you will not use skill-based assignments. That said, if skills are matching the ticket, they are displayed in the Skills field.

To view the skills on a ticket:
  1. Go to the Tickets module.
  2. Choose the desired Ticket list view.
  3. Open the ticket to view its details.
    Note : Skills cannot be accessed on the Add form or the Edit page.
  4. Locate the Skills field in the ticket's side panel.
    The skills applied to the ticket appear here. You can click on the field to manage skills.

Associating and Removing Skills 

You can associate or remove skills from within the ticket details page.

To associate a skill with a ticket:
  1. Open the ticket for which you want to associate a skill.
  2. Locate the Skills field on the left panel and click on the drop-down menu.
    The Skills panel opens.

  3. Click Associate Skills and then click the skills you want to associate to the ticket.
    Note : You can associate a maximum of 10 skills with a ticket.
  4. Click Save .

To remove a skill from a ticket:
  1. Open the ticket for which you want to remove a skill.
  2. Locate the Skills field on the left panel and click on the drop-down menu.
    The Skills panel lists the skills associated with the ticket.

  3. Click the Close  icon ( ) corresponding to the skills you want to remove.
  4. Click Save .

Reordering Skills 

Tickets typically are assigned to agents who possess all or the maximum number of the required skills. When multiple agents have the same skill, the ticket is assigned to the agent who represents skills higher up the order. For example, if Agent A has 1, 3, and 4 skills and Agent B has 2, 4, and 5 skills, the ticket will be assigned to Agent A considering the ticket's skills' order. Zoho Desk allows you to reorder the skills of a ticket as you want. 

To reorder skills:
  1. Open the ticket for which you want to reorder skills.
  2. Locate the Skills field on the left panel and click on the drop-down menu.
    The Skills panel lists the skills associated with the ticket.

  3. Grab a skill by the Reorder icon (  ) and drag-drop it, where required.
  4. Click Save .
    You may reassign the ticket by skills to reflect the change in their order.

Recalculating Skills 

You can recalculate skills whenever the circumstances of the ticket change. This is particularly useful for tickets with long resolution times or when there are follow-up questions from the customer that are entirely different from the original issue.

To recalculate skills on a ticket:
  1. Open the ticket for which you want to recalculate skills.
  2. Locate the Skills field on the left panel and click on the drop-down menu.
    The Skills panel lists the skills associated with the ticket.
  3. Click the More icon (   ) in the top right corner.
  4. Click Recalculate Skills from the menu.
  5. Click Continue to confirm your action.
    The ticket will have its skills recalculated.

Reassigning Tickets by Skills 

Reassigning a ticket is the next step when you've recalculated its skills. You may also want to reassign a ticket when you have manually updated its skills. In such circumstances, you can reassign the ticket with a click of a button.

To reassign a ticket by skills:
  1. Open the ticket you want to reassign based on skills.
  2. Locate the Skills field on the left panel and click on the drop-down menu.
    The Skills panel lists the skills associated with the ticket.
  3. Click the More icon (  ) in the top right corner.
  4. Click Reassign ticket by Skills from the menu.
  5. Click Continue to confirm your action.
    The ticket gets reassigned to an agent based on its skills.

Skills for Workflows

You can create workflow rules to perform the following automated actions on tickets:
  1. Recalculate skills
  2. Remove skills
  3. Add skills
  4. Reassign ticket by skills

These actions, along with the flexibility to choose when the rule should be triggered [ Execute On ] and for which tickets [ Criteria ], can help your team streamline tickets to the people who know how to handle them best. Learn More

Note :
  1. Skill is also available as criteria in other automation rules and custom ticket views . The latter enables you to organize those tickets you are qualified to address quickly.

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