The keys to outstanding customer support are simple to understand, but as anyone who's handled customer issues can tell you, they can be difficult to execute.
Answering one customer email in a timely and thorough manner might be easy; but replying to five, 10, 20 emails in an hour? For that, it helps to have tools and a strategy.
For instance, let's say you've made the commitment to reply to each support ticket within one day. Wouldn't it be great if you could be notified when one of your tickets had gone unassigned for 24 hours? Yes!
Enter Zendesk Automations. Automations are actions that you set up to take place within your help desk when specific time intervals have passed. So, in our case, we want Zendesk to email us when a new ticket hasn't been assigned to anybody within 24 hours of its creation.
To set this up, go into Automations under your Manage tab. There you'll see existing automations (investigate them by clicking edit); to add a new one, click Add Automation. This is where you define the condition that will prompt the automation. In our case, it's when a new ticket goes without reply for over 24 hours. The configuration looks like this:
Note that you can preview the results of your automation and see if any of your current tickets meet its rules.
Next, we'll define what we want to happen when a ticket meets the conditions. In this case, send an email notifying us that a ticket needs to be addressed. The condition might look something like this:
Note that in order for your automation to work, one of the actions must nullify one of the conditions (above, we changed the status of the ticket from New to Open). This is so your automation doesn't keep firing in a constant loop. Also, you can string multiple actions together, such as send out a notification and escalate the ticket to a different support group or send a notification back to the customer letting them know that you haven't forgotten them.
If time is a factor in your support strategy, you'll definitely want to explore Automations.
Update (4/19/10): I updated the automation example to correct the setup as explained above: in an automation one of your actions must nullify one of the conditions that causes the automation to fire.