Skip to main content

Article 5 min read

Zendesk triggers: what you need to know

Zendesk triggers are powerful and flexible rules to help you automate tasks. Create and customise triggers to improve your efficiency and productivity.

By Leighton Jacobs

Last updated September 12, 2023

Staying on top of customer service can be tricky—especially when customers are demanding more. For example, Zendesk’s CX Trends 2023 Report found that only 56 per cent of customers say their support interactions over the past year have been positive. Ouch.

But fear not, Zendesk triggers can help by automatically sending notifications, prioritising tickets, and flagging important deals. They give you the flexibility to automate mundane tasks, freeing your agents to focus on what matters—creating amazing customer experiences.

And although that might sound complicated, triggers are both incredibly simple and powerful. So don’t worry if you’re a little confused right now. Let’s dive right in and find out how Zendesk triggers can take your customer service up a notch.

What are Zendesk triggers?

If you’re looking for a superpower to make your customer service zing, Zendesk triggers are just the thing. Thanks to their flexibility, versatility, and reliability, triggers are incredibly helpful tools that offer many benefits, including:

  • Saving time and boosting productivity by automating basic tasks.

  • Helping keep everything organised and efficient using hard and fast rules.

  • Ensuring complete consistency so that nothing falls through the cracks.

  • Freeing agents to focus on more high-value tasks, e.g. the customer experience.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. Triggers are a type of business rule that allows you to automate tasks based on the if-then principle. This makes them perfect for a whole range of uses, e.g. letting customers know you’re out of office, sending follow-ups and automated notifications, routing customers to specific support groups, assigning tickets, and more.

The sky is really the limit when it comes to Zendesk triggers. However, there are two main places you’ll want to use them:

  • In Zendesk Support, you can use triggers to e.g. send out emails when a ticket is created, assign tickets to the right agents, or notify customers about their requests.
  • In Zendesk Sell, you can use triggers to e.g. highlight high-value deals, move deals through different stages, or notify agents about new deals.

Don’t forget: triggers are not the same as automations. Triggers are event-based rules that react instantly to specific changes whereas automations are time-based rules that check conditions e.g. once every hour.

How do triggers work?

Zendesk triggers give you more control over how your business interacts with customers. They monitor activities and events within your customer support system, e.g. tickets being opened or closed, and respond accordingly.

In simple terms, triggers define what actions should occur under specific conditions. If an event meets the right conditions, triggers run immediately and automatically perform the specified actions. This allows you to set up logic-based tasks that deliver precise responses without any manual input.

Here are the basics of Zendesk triggers:

  • Triggers are created based on conditions and actions.

  • Trigger conditions determine what needs to happen for a trigger to run.

  • Trigger actions define what will be performed when the conditions are met.

  • Triggers check conditions immediately after defined events.

  • Triggers only run if the trigger’s conditions are met.

  • Trigger actions can affect the conditions and actions of other triggers.

At their core, triggers are nothing more than a cause-and-effect statement: if X happens, then do Y. For example, if an urgent ticket is created, then email all support agents. Or if a ticket comes in that’s related to a specific service, then assign it to the relevant team. It’s that simple.

How do you create a trigger?

Zendesk comes with several default triggers but you can also create your own to suit your specific needs. Once created, they’ll run automatically in the background so you can focus on other tasks—just set them up and let them do their thing.

Creating Zendesk triggers couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is log in to your Zendesk account and look for the triggers heading (under business rules). Once you’ve found the right section, you can then create your triggers with just a few clicks. Plus, you have lots of options. For example, you can use placeholders in the actions section to reference specific details, e.g. adding ticket numbers to email notifications.

Here’s a short video to explain the process in more detail:

How do you get the most out of Zendesk Triggers?

Zendesk triggers are super helpful for any customer service team, but writing triggers can sometimes feel like a bit of an art. Businesses have complicated workflows and processes, so there’s often a lot to take into account to make sure your triggers function exactly how you want them to.

Here are three tips to help you get the most out of Zendesk triggers:

  1. Be accurate. Define your triggers as precisely as possible, making sure they’re based on the right criteria. If a trigger depends on something unspecific, random, or simply irrelevant, you’ve got a problem.
  2. Break it up. Breaking your workflows down into small chunks is super important if you want to optimise Zendesk. Trying to use a single trigger for multiple stages of a process is a recipe for disaster.
  3. Organise well. Properly organising your triggers by importance and relevance is vital. Think of it this way: whether you’re cooking spaghetti or creating Zendesk triggers, you’ll only end up with a great result if you do the right things in the right order.

Here’s a great demonstration of how to use sales triggers in Zendesk Sell:

The beauty of Zendesk triggers is that they make complex actions much easier to manage. What’s more, they’re easy to create and customise, and we’ve got loads of great resources to help you get started.

Take the stress out of your business processes by using triggers to automate tasks and save your team heaps of time. Faster responses, better service, and happier customers await.

Related stories

5 min read

Humans x chatbots: How this winning combination best serves banks

The customer journey in banking has drastically changed in recent years. The days of visiting a…

3 min read

Build your email list business using chatbots

How many emails will you send today? At a guess, we’d say close to a hundred.…

6 min read

Science-based targets are the key to sustainable business

To help combat climate change, many companies are setting science-based emissions reduction targets. Learn more about these efforts and the impact they can have on the planet.

5 min read

Live or virtual: The future of B2B events?

While some may have missed the personal touch of in-person events during lockdown, many also enjoyed…