Five Ways to Leverage Third-Party APIs: The Drupal-Zendesk Integration

August 20, 2015
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When Acquia’s Global Support Team outgrew their ticketing system in 2013, it was time to make a change. An outdated ticketing system was taxing their team and compromising their ability to support customers. In addition to lacking the core functionality required to meet increasing customer expectations, the third-party vendor lacked visibility and integration with existing systems like JIRA and Toggl, reporting was slow, and SLA was waning.

The Global Support Team decided to look for a new, flexible API that would deliver tight integration with existing systems and generate responsive channels for quick, direct and clear communications. Reporting needed to be real-time and fast, and the customer and agent UX needed to be streamlined. Acquia needed a new system.

In Walks Zendesk

After systematic vendor vetting, Acquia’s Global Support Team quickly determined that Zendesk’s documented API provided the flexibility needed to do things the Acquian way. Zendesk is a customer service platform that provides the ideal framework for an enterprise environment. Zendesk offers an out-of-the-box solution, which provides a front-end customer interface and a back-end agent UX. Instead of just “drinking their own champagne,” Acquia decided to split a bottle with Zendesk’s REST API and develop the front-end of their Acquia Help Center in Drupal.

Drupal-Zendesk Integration

With a Drupal-Zendesk solution, Acquia built a powerful ticket request system that provides unparalleled support to their customers and internal teams. Here are five ways Acquia’s Support team leveraged a third-party API to build a new ticketing system.

1. Using Zendesk’s API to create customer requests in Acquia’s Help Center on Drupal

Acquia needed to migrate nearly 100k pre-existing tickets into Zendesk. This kind of overhaul required some reconciliation. Reorganization consisted of deleting completed tickets, cleaning up the open ticket queue, and configuring data into Zendesk.

The new Acquia Help Center was built using Zendesk’s REST API in Drupal, providing a Customer UX that is easy to navigate. The Agent UX, utilized internally by the support team, is outfitted with all of Zendesk’s built-in functionality. Zendesk also offered Acquia’s Global Support Team the ability to customize their apps to guarantee top performance.

customer UX create ticket .png

2. Additional Info Block Application

The flexibility of the Zendesk Apps Framework allows companies to extend the capabilities of the framework to leverage tickets, users and knowledgebases. Acquia customized their solution with an Additional Info Block Application, embedded in the Agent UX. The info block provides a global and integrated view of the customer.

info block 2.png

The info box displays information such as the product the customer is using, the number of application support tickets their subscription enables them to register, what networks they are connected to, special handling notes and their account management team.

“This heightened customer visibility allows diverse members of Acquia’s Global Support Team to best support the customer’, says Jeannie Finks, Director of Global Support Systems and Programs at Acquia. “This supplementary ticket data is a necessity for our team to provide customers with the personalized assistance they need and now expect”.

3. Time Tracking App

By leveraging the flexibility of the Zendesk Apps Framework, Acquia was able to aggregate all of their systems in one place. Existing systems like JIRA and Toggl are essential to Acquia’s workflow, and needed to remain accessible in the Agent UX. Toggl is a time tracking app that allows you to sync your entries in real time. Toggl’s cloud based framework is Acquia’s default time tracking interface. Acquia’s custom Toggl-Zendesk app pushes ticket time to a central repo of daily agent activity:

toggle time tracker.png

Additionally, Zendesk’s partnership has enhanced the view of the customers through expert reporting. The Zendesk toolkit allowed Acquia to track tickets rolled in by account, customer backlog, and a root cause report. The introduction of expert reporting offers support teams a comprehensive overview of the customer. Real-time reporting provides Acquia’s Support Leadership with the resources needed to proactively identify critical issues and solve them quickly. This Info Block increases customer visibility, allowing Acquia to see what their customer needs, right when they need it.

4. Custom SLA Monitoring and Notification within Zendesk

The ticketing system also monitors the status of tickets based on a customer’s Service Level Agreement. Acquia continues to take advantage of Zendesk’s flexibility by configuring SLA data from a central customer data warehouse. This customization generates alerts that flow into all key communication channels, such as mail and chat. This custom monitoring system notifies teams when SLA expiration time is appended to a ticket, providing support teams with the visibility needed to best assist the customer.

SLA .png
 

5. JIRA and Zendesk Linked Tickets

In addition to Toggl, JIRA is a ticketing system that Acquia’s Global Support Team utilized internally. It was a workflow necessity to have continued access to JIRA, and Zendesk’s robust API enabled Acquia to do so. Acquia further customized their API with a mini app that linked tickets filed in JIRA and Zendesk.

The system scans Zendesk ticket comments, subject, and internal URL fields. After scanning, it will match any Acquia JIRA project keys. The system will then display the JIRA key, subject, status, time created, updated time, reporter and assignee. Comment links can also be added to any JIRA ticket.

“The benefit of these customized applications is that all of Acquia’s support systems are connected in one place”, says Finks. “The convenience of having JIRA, Toggl and a customer info block in the Agent UX relieves the major pain points that were taxing our internal teams. Through our integration with Zendesk, Acquia’s Help Center is able to offer unparalleled global support to customers 24/7”.

The next installment of this series examines best practices when integrating with a third-party API.

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Great post - thanks

Great post - thanks

Jira

We use Jira for all our projects, so Jira integration would be extremely useful to us.

Ustream

I've been using Ustreams api to hook watching data in with Google analytics.

A while ago, we did a

A while ago, we did a comprehensive overhaul to our customer service that included a custom desk.com and Drupal integration. Drupal handled it with flying colors.

Informative and Interesting

Informative and Interesting read!