To Have or Not to Have Agent Restrictions

May 13, 2008

When we first designed Zendesk, we agreed that we shouldn’t implement restrictions on agent’s access to tickets. Our experience with other systems was that agent restrictions led to confusion and unnecessary complexity, because it could quickly become unclear why two agents couldn’t see each other’s tickets or ticket comments. Our reasoning was that for a help desk to be truly efficient in the web 2.0 era everybody should be able to access everything. An unwalled garden, set the information free and all that.

We still believe in that. But we have retreated somehow on the restricting agents’ rights. And that by popular demand. Because in some circumstances it makes sense to restrict agent’s access. For example if you have a freelancer or consultant working on some very specific issues/tickets, but don’t want that person to be able to snoop around in general. Or if you have a customer organization with a superuser that you want to promote to an agent, but don’t want that person to be able to see tickets from other organizations. In these instances (and many more) it makes sense to be able to restrict agents’ access to tickets.

So now it’s implemented and you can read more about it in our support forum.

One quick note: when I first saw the new restrictions implemented I noticed that we didn’t allow for a setup where you could restrict one or more agents to deal only with unassigned tickets (an old school 1st line). And I imagined such a setup could be relevant (for some old schoolers). But of course the solution is to auto-assign all new unassigned tickets to a specific group, and restrict group members’ access to tickets in that group only.

Good luck exploring this new feature, but don’t misuse it. Usually you gain a lot more from trusting your agents and providing them with full access, than from building small cubicles of responsibility.

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