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When do Zendesk automations run?

Last updated February 6, 2023

Automations are a tool within the Zendesk platform that can be used to change ticket properties or send email notifications. Like triggers, they are a type of custom business rules. However, there are some key differences users need to be aware of when setting up workflows with automations and triggers.

  • Triggers are event-based business rules. This means they perform actions when a ticket that meets set criteria or conditions is created or updated. These actions fire immediately after the event (ticket creation or update) has occurred.
  • Automations are time-based business rules. Although they also perform actions when tickets meet certain conditions or criteria, they do so at regular time intervals. Once every hour, the automations will run on open tickets that meet their set criteria.

In short, while triggers are useful for starting a workflow or set of actions, automations are helpful for reminders, closing tickets after a certain time period or reprioritising tasks.

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Essential facts for automation

We’ve gathered some essential facts about automation.

  • Automations are time-based; they take action when a time-event occurs, not immediately after a ticket is created or updated
  • Automations run every hour, but not necessarily top-of-the-hour; they will start at some point during the hour.
    Automations do not run or fire on closed tickets.
  • An automation must contain a condition that is true only once or an action that nullifies at least one of the conditions.
  • Automations, like all business rules, must be smaller than 65kb.
  • All active automations must be unique. They can have some overlapping conditions, but they can’t be identical.
    You can have a maximum of 500 active automations at a time.

How do Zendesk automations work?

Zendesk automations work by automatically reviewing any open tickets that meet its criteria once every hour and triggering actions on those that still qualify.

Unless automations are edited or removed, they will continue to review and perform their set actions every hour (not necessarily at the beginning of each hour). This means that, to work most effectively, automations need to include either:

  • An action that cancels or replaces one of the set conditions.
  • A condition that is only true once.

When you’re looking to change the properties of tickets, setting an action to replace the set conditions is the most effective approach. For example, if no action is taken on a ticket for a certain number of hours, then you might want to change the ticket priority condition from ‘normal’ to ‘high’. This can be done by combining the ‘hours since created’ condition with the ‘ticket priority’ condition in an automation.

If you’re looking to send email notifications or reminders to team members, then using a condition that is true only once will mean that this action can be automated without being repeated. For example, if you use the ‘hours since….is’ condition, you can set a notification or reminder to be sent to an agent after a certain time period has passed.

However, if you’re building out workflows or setting conditions, it’s important that you’re careful when using the ‘hours since open is’ condition. This is because automations run every hour, but not necessarily at the top of each hour. So, if you have an ‘hours since open is’ condition on your ticket and the condition isn’t met before the automation runs, then it will never be considered true and the workflow won’t function.

Using tags is an alternative way to ensure these workflows function properly. This would mean that when the automation checks a ticket, it will add a tag and perform the action if a tag is not present and not perform the action if one is. This will mean that the workflow can operate without repeating on an hourly loop.

How can you use Zendesk automation?

Just like triggers, Zendesk automations are useful when you’re setting up business rules to deal with mundane or repetitive tasks. However, they can also be used to help you optimise your sales pipeline or improve your customer service.

Some of the instances where automations are most commonly used include:

  • Letting assigned agents or teams know when a ticket has been unresolved or unassigned after a certain number of hours.
  • Reminding teams of unassigned tickets via email or SMS message or automatically closing down tickets after a certain number of days.
  • Notifying teams or agents about modifications that are made to tickets outside of office hours.
    In some cases, a workflow may require you to use a trigger and automation together, here is one example of how you can do this in order to notify external targets.

How does AutomationEdge work?

AutomationEdge is a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform that can integrate with Zendesk to take business process automation to the next level. This means that as well as sending out notifications, reminders and organising tickets, businesses can integrate data from other applications like Office 365 and Salesforce into the automation.

Without having to enter any code, businesses can build and deploy workflows that can help to run processes effectively, including:

  • Managing employee details, including users, email addresses and distribution lists.
  • Controlling employee file access and sharing.
  • Classifying and assigning tickets to agents using data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Resolving IT incidents such as server restarts or running day-to-day IT tasks such as database backup.

By connecting other databases through the AutomationEdge RPA, you can truly start to feel the benefits of automating your business processes.

What are the benefits of using Zendesk automation?

By increasing the efficiency of some of the most common business processes, you can bring many benefits to your organisation, including:

  • Saving your team’s time by taking away their responsibility for everyday tasks so they can focus on solving more complex challenges, including sales, IT and data teams.
  • Improving your customer service by ensuring that each request or ticket is dealt with promptly and appropriately.
  • Reducing the costs and time spent and mitigating the errors made in processing high volume tasks.
    Increasing productivity within teams and business processes.

If used correctly, Zendesk automations can help to increase the efficiency of your business processes and save your team’s time by performing everyday tasks and workflows so they don’t have to. This article will explain how Zendesk automations work and how you can use them effectively.

To take full advantage of the Zendesk platform, including automation tools and bring these benefits to your business, book a demo or take a look at our Zendesk help centre to see how you can make the solution work best for you and your team.

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