Tip of the Week: Build Custom Workflows With Tags

August 6, 2010

Tags are a versatile tool within your Zendesk utility belt. Because they can be used in many different contexts, they are often your best bet when trying to set up custom workflows. We discussed previously how you can use tags to analyze your macro use. In this tip of the week, we’re going to see how tags can be used to build automated workflows when using custom fields.

Adding Custom Fields

Adding custom fields to your Zendesk web form allows the form to fit your specific business’ needs. For instance, let’s say you run a screen-printing business, and you direct customers to your Zendesk web form to field questions about your various products. In order to make the form more relevant to your business, you’ll want to add a custom field called “products.” This way, your customers can indicate which products they are writing about.

To do so, go to the Manage tab in the top navbar and click Ticket Fields.  Next choose “add custom field” in the upper right. You can add a number of different kinds of fields to your customer request web form, but for now, let’s go with a drop-down list.

On the next page, you’ll fill out the options for your new ticket field.


Custom fields can be for agents only, or you can make them visible to end-users. In this example, let’s make the fields visible and also editable — meaning your customers can choose a product and change the value of this field.  You can also enter the options you want to include in the dropdown.

Note that each custom field automatically gets an associated tag. You’ll see why in just a second.

When you save your custom field, visitors to your Zendesk web portal can now see it.


Anytime a customer fills out a web form and chooses one of the products, the corresponding tag will be automatically added to that ticket.


Acting on Our Custom Fields

One of the most powerful features of Zendesk are the triggers. We’ve discussed triggers before in this series, such as setting up auto-responses to common questions, organizing tickets with multiple email addresses, and when it’s best to use automation or triggers. Triggers are the automatic actions taken when certain conditions are met within your Zendesk. With triggers, you can, among other things, send out an email to your agents when a new ticket comes in and automatically change the priority of a ticket based on what the subject line says.

Let’s say you want to automatically assign the tickets that come in based on the custom field you just created. When a customer chooses t-shirt, for example, you want that ticket to go to your guy in charge of t-shirts.  You can accomplish this with a trigger.

To add a new trigger, again go to the Manage tab. This time choose Triggers & Mail Notifications and click “add trigger” in the upper right.

You want the condition that fires this trigger to be when a customer chooses “t-shirt” in your newly created Products ticket field. When you look at the options, you can see all of the built in fields, such as Status, Type, and Priority, but you won’t see your custom field. How can you build a trigger that fires off your custom field then? Turn to tags.

trigger-conditions-zendesk 2.png

Now you can build your trigger based on the tag “t-shirts,” which as seen above, is automatically added to the ticket when a customer chooses that option on the request web form.

A simple version of the trigger looks like this:

trigger-creation-zendesk.pngNow, anytime a customer chooses “t-shirts” on the web form, their ticket will be automatically assigned to your guy in charge of t-shirts.

We know that everybody’s support needs and workflow will differ. In order to sculpt Zendesk to better fit your needs, you’ll want to check out custom fields and tags.