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Escalator » User guide

Topics covered in this guide:

  • Overview
    Introduction to Escalator and its capabilities for enhancing ticket management through features like linking, splitting, and escalating tickets within Zendesk.
  • Installation and setup
    Step-by-step guidance on integrating Escalator into Zendesk, covering installation and initial configuration for optimal functionality.
  • User interface
    Overview of Escalator's UI, including how to access and use key features like escalation and sub-ticket management tools.
  • App settings
    Explanation of app settings for customizing Escalator's operations, including global configurations and ticket handling options.
  • Escalation process
    Detailed instructions for setting up and executing escalations, from defining details to communication and automation.
  • Escalating a ticket
    Simplified guide to escalating a ticket, highlighting the process from setup to submission using Escalator.
  • Setting up sub-tickets
    Guidelines for managing other sub-tickets, including creation, linking, and detachment to streamline issue resolution.
  • Splitting a ticket into multiple sub-tickets
    Simplified guide to splitting a ticket to allow dedicated focus on each distinct concern within a customer's inquiry.
  • Exporting parent, escalation, and sub-ticket IDs to fields
    Set up custom fields to track and report on parent and escalated sub-ticket/other sub-ticket relationships, laying the foundation for advanced ticket management.
  • Auto-updating parent tickets, escalations, and other sub-tickets
    Streamline your ticketing workflow by enabling automatic updates between parent ticket and escalations/other sub-tickets for improved efficiency and consistency.
  • Creating a base configuration with the 'll-default' feature
    Save time by creating an escalation configuration with the 'll-default' tag, eliminating repetitive setup across escalations.
  • Best practices
    Maximize your utilization of Escalator with essential optimization tips.
  • FAQs
    Find answers to common questions and troubleshoot common issues.
  • Conclusion
    Explore key takeaways and discover next steps for an enhanced Escalator experience.



Escalator is an innovative Zendesk app designed to streamline the handling of complex or multi-issue customer tickets. With Escalator, agents can easily link, split, or escalate tickets to manage them more effectively. This guide introduces features that support a wide range of workflows and business rules, aiming to enhance your customer service experience by making ticket management more efficient and collaborative.


Key features

Escalator offers a suite of features designed to optimize the ticket management process. These tools empower agents to handle customer issues more effectively, ensuring that every ticket is managed with precision and care. Here's a closer look at the core functionalities that make Escalator an essential tool for customer support teams.


Engage with external vendors, experts, or specific agents through separate but linked tickets, bringing in the necessary expertise to resolve issues.

Splitting tickets

Tackle complex tickets by dividing them into smaller, more manageable parts, each addressed independently.

Linking related tickets

Create a network of related tickets to give agents a holistic view of past solutions and interactions, regardless of whether they're from the same or different users. This approach fosters valuable connections for enhanced support.

Tracking incidents

Incidents and their corresponding problem tickets are displayed reciprocally, providing agents instant visibility into the scope of ongoing issues and their effects.



Using Escalator can make a big difference in your customer support tasks. It makes internal processes smoother and boosts customer satisfaction and team collaboration. Explore how Escalator's features translate into real-world improvements for both agents and customers.

Enhanced collaboration

Facilitates seamless cooperation between different departments or teams, ensuring that all aspects of a customer's issue are addressed promptly.

Scenario: A telecommunications company receives a ticket about a service outage affecting a customer. The agent uses Escalator to involve both the technical team for diagnosing the outage and the customer service team for managing communication, ensuring collaborative and timely resolution.

Increased efficiency

Reduces the time spent managing tickets by allowing agents to split, link, and escalate issues directly within the system.

Scenario: An online bookstore agent receives a complex ticket about an order that includes incorrect billing, a delayed shipment, and a query about a book's availability. Using Escalator, the agent quickly escalates the billing issue to the finance department, the shipment delay to logistics, and addresses the availability query directly, all within a unified interface.

Improved resolution times

By directing specific issues to the appropriate experts or departments, Escalator helps in resolving complex tickets faster.

Scenario: A software company deals with a bug report that also includes feature requests. The support agent escalates the bug to the engineering team and the feature requests to the product management team through Escalator, significantly reducing the resolution time by directing issues to the right experts.

Better customer satisfaction

Ensures comprehensive issue resolution with minimal customer effort, leading to improved satisfaction and loyalty.

Scenario: A travel agency receives a ticket from a customer facing issues with a holiday package. The agent uses Escalator to address the customer's immediate concerns and escalates their feedback to the package management team for future improvements, enhancing overall customer satisfaction with proactive service.

Streamlined workflows

Supports a wide range of workflows, making it adaptable to various business rules and processes.

Scenario: A healthcare provider's support team uses Escalator to manage patient inquiries, routing medical questions to healthcare professionals, billing issues to the finance department, and appointment requests to the scheduling team, streamlining complex workflows.


Practical applications

Escalator is versatile, fitting into various operational frameworks from multi-departmental organizations to focused customer support teams. Discover how different team setups can leverage Escalator to enhance their service delivery and operational efficiency.

Multi-departmental organizations

Companies with specialized departments, such as logistics, marketing, and IT, that must collaborate to resolve customer issues.

Scenario: A large retail chain utilizes Escalator to manage customer feedback on products and services. Customer service agents escalate product-related feedback to the merchandising department and service feedback to store management, facilitating effective inter-departmental collaboration.

Customer support teams

Teams that handle a high volume of complex tickets requiring input from multiple team members or departments.

Scenario: A technology firm's support team uses Escalator to manage incoming tickets regarding software issues, feature requests, and subscription changes. The tool allows them to escalate different issues to the respective teams efficiently, ensuring that each ticket is handled by the most appropriate team member.

E-commerce platforms

Businesses that manage online sales and need to coordinate between fulfillment, customer service, and technical support to address customer inquiries.

Scenario: An e-commerce platform specializing in handmade goods uses Escalator to address a ticket involving a damaged item, a missing delivery, and a payment refund. The support team escalates the issues to the fulfillment, shipping, and finance departments respectively, demonstrating Escalator's utility in a complex e-commerce operation.

Service providers

Organizations offering a range of services that may require troubleshooting, scheduling, or coordination between different service teams.

Scenario: A digital marketing agency employs Escalator to manage client requests ranging from campaign adjustments to billing inquiries. By escalating technical requests to the IT department and billing questions to accounts payable, Escalator helps maintain a smooth flow of operations and client satisfaction.

Whether you're in a large organization with various departments or a small support team, Escalator offers practical tools for tackling complex customer support challenges. It streamlines the process of managing tickets, enabling agents to work more cohesively and effectively.


Installation and setup

Properly integrating the Escalator app into your Zendesk environment is the first step towards transforming your customer support workflow. This section guides you through the seamless installation process from the Zendesk Apps Marketplace and walks you through the essential configuration steps.


Installing Escalator

Begin by navigating to the Zendesk Apps Marketplace. Search for Escalator and select the app. You can also use this direct link to visit the Escalator page on Zendesk. Click Free trial, then follow the on-screen instructions to install it within your Zendesk environment. This process integrates Escalator into your support toolkit, opening up new avenues for managing customer tickets.


Initial Zendesk configuration

After installation, a crucial setup step is to configure a custom ticket field. This field is vital for Escalator’s operation, as it stores important data related to escalations and sub-tickets, ensuring smooth tracking and management within each ticket.

1. Zendesk settings

In your Zendesk dashboard, go to Admin Center, then find and click Fields under Objects and rules > Tickets to begin the process of adding a new field.

2. New field

Click the Add field, found on the right side of the screen. 

3. Right field type

When adding a new field, you'll be presented with various field type options. For Escalator's functionality, select Multi-line. This field type is specifically designed to accommodate the versatile data input Escalator utilizes for tracking and managing ticket escalations and sub-tickets efficiently. Its flexibility ensures that all necessary information can be captured and stored within each ticket.

4. Field permissions

Set the field’s permissions to Agent only. This setting ensures that the field is visible and editable by agents for internal use but remains hidden from end-users. Name the field appropriately in the Title shown to agents box. Remember, this title is for administrative recognition since the field will be invisible to agents during app operation. Make sure to click Save for changes to apply or Cancel to exit without making changes.

5. Ticket forms

If your setup includes multiple ticket forms, ensure this new field is added to each one to maintain consistency across your support platform.

6. Final setup

With the new field created and added to your forms, refresh your browser page. This action updates the interface, making the field visible on tickets and ready for use by Escalator.

Note: Completing these steps is crucial for activating Escalator's full capabilities, enabling your team to efficiently link, split, and escalate tickets as part of your support workflow.


User interface

Before we jump into App settings and Escalation settings, let's check out where to find Escalator and what the app looks like to your agents.

Find Escalator

Once installed, easily locate the Escalator app on Zendesk's right sidebar menu.

When Escalator is unpinned in the sidebar

1. Click Apps on the right sidebar menu.

2. A new tab will appear, showing all available apps. Here you will find the Escalator interface.

When escalator is pinned in the sidebar

1. Click Escalator on the right sidebar menu.

2. A new tab will appear, showing the Escalator interface.

Note: If you are unable to find Escalator in the usual sidebar location, it may be due to the use of Zendesk's custom layout feature or contextual workspace feature by your administrator. In such cases, Escalator could be positioned in a different part of your Zendesk interface, such as the middle column or another custom location. If unsure, consult your Zendesk administrator for the exact location of Escalator in your workspace.


Settings button

When logged in as an admin, you'll see the three-dot icon, which is a button. Click on it to open the settings dialog.

Note: When you first access Escalator after initial installation and setup, you will encounter this warning:

Find the steps to remove the initial warning in the App settings section of this guide.

Escalation dropdown

Below the app name, there is a dropdown menu labeled by default as Escalate to.... This dropdown is where the agent can choose an escalation path or a department to which the ticket should be escalated.

This dropdown menu is empty at the start, but admins will be able to pre-configure escalations that agents can view and select here.


Sub-ticket dropdown

Next to the escalation dropdown, there's another dropdown labeled + Add.

This menu offers options to create new sub-tickets or link existing tickets.

You can read more about these options in the Setting up sub-tickets section of this guide. 

Linked tickets list

Below the dropdown is the Linked tickets list section. You will not see this section if the ticket does not have any tickets linked to it.

Once you've done an escalation or created other sub-tickets, you will see information on the linked tickets here. Depending on the relationships the current ticket has with other tickets, what is displayed will vary.

Incidents linked to a problem ticket (and vice versa) also appear on Escalator once set up on Zendesk.

For each associated ticket, the ticket ID, status, and subject are shown. Sometimes additional information is included, like the name of the escalation used. You can click on the ticket to open it.


These are tickets created from or linked to the current ticket. Sub-tickets are made either via escalation or the + Add option.

Parent ticket

The current ticket is the result of an escalation or the + Add option.

Siblings tickets

These will be displayed if the current ticket has a parent ticket, but there are other sub-tickets off the parent ticket.

If the current ticket is an incident linked to a problem ticket on Zendesk, the problem ticket will be displayed.

Note: You would first need to enable this in sub-ticket customization:

Incident tickets

If the current ticket is a problem ticket, all incidents linked to the ticket will be displayed.

Note: You would first need to enable this in sub-ticket customization:

Escalating a ticket vs creating other sub-tickets

While escalated sub-tickets and sub-tickets created via + Add seem similar, and they are, there are a few important distinctions. First, escalations give admins more control over the properties and fields on the new sub-ticket. It also prompts the agent to select the comments and attachments to copy over. Sub-tickets via + Add are either blank to begin with or are a copy of the current ticket. Agents then must customize the ticket, depending on the purpose and assignee of the new ticket.

For clarity, you might differentiate them as follows:

Escalated sub-tickets

These are sub-tickets that result from an escalation process, where a ticket is elevated to a higher level of support, a specialized department within the organization, or an external vendor. Escalated sub-tickets often inherit certain properties from the parent ticket, such as tags or specific data fields, and are linked to the parent ticket's lifecycle.

Other sub-tickets

These are sub-tickets created independently of an escalation process, via the + Add option,  possibly for organizing complex issues within a ticket or separating different issues reported in a single ticket. They might not inherit any properties from a parent ticket and can be managed more flexibly.


App settings

After installation and Zendesk configuration, you will notice this message appearing on the Escalator app:

To access App settings and get started, click the Settings button in the Escalator app pane.

The App settings panel is where you can customize various options for the Escalator app, including the required app data field configuration. It's divided into five sections:

- Backup & Restore
- Global configuration
- Sub-ticket customization
- Sub-ticket tag defaults
- Escalation management

Backup & Restore

This section provides detailed instructions on how to back up and restore the app configurations, adding a layer of data management that enhances user control over Escalator settings.


You can preserve your Escalator configuration by copying all the JSON data from this section into a code editor or JSON viewer. For convenience, you can use the 'Copy to clipboard' button or choose 'Download as a file' to save the configuration locally. This is particularly useful for maintaining a backup in case the current configuration is lost or corrupted. To restore your settings, simply paste the JSON data back into the field provided in the Restore section or upload the file.

It's recommended to perform backups regularly, especially before making significant changes to your Escalator configuration. When handling backups, always ensure that you save the JSON data in a secure place. Consider using version control for your backups if you make frequent updates to your configuration. Be mindful of the potential for inadvertently sharing sensitive configuration data. Always use appropriate tools like a code editor or JSON viewer when editing or backing up your JSON string to avoid any formatting issues.


If you need to restore a previous configuration, paste your backed-up JSON into the field below or upload the JSON file. This function is essential for quickly reinstating your Escalator setup without manually reconfiguring each setting, ensuring minimal downtime and maintaining consistent support workflow management.

Note: If you need to create and manage a large number of escalations, instead of manually configuring each one through the user interface, you can streamline the process using the Backup & Restore functionality. By examining the configuration structure in the Backup section, you can better understand how settings are formatted. You can then create your own configuration JSON file and import it using the Restore option to efficiently set up multiple escalations at once.

Global configuration

This section is where you'll configure the essential aspects of the app that are necessary for its basic operation.

These settings include options like defining the app data field, setting up ticket field mappings for parent and sub-ticket IDs, and other fundamental operational parameters.

App data field (required)

This dropdown menu is essential for the app's functionality. You must select the appropriate field from your system that the app will use to store ticket data.

Here, the multi-line field we created earlier, named Escalator data field, is selected.

Once the app data field has been selected and saved, the warning message on the Escalator app will no longer appear.

Export parent ticket ID to field (optional)

If you wish to track the parent ticket ID within another field in your system, select the desired field from this dropdown menu.

Export sub ticket IDs to field (optional)

To keep a record of sub ticket IDs in a separate field, choose the relevant field from this dropdown menu.

Export escalated ticket IDs to field (optional)

For tracking escalated ticket IDs, select an appropriate field from this dropdown menu.

Do not automatically open app tray

This checkbox, when ticked, prevents the app tray from opening automatically. Check this option if you prefer to manually control when the app tray is accessed.


Sub-ticket customization

This section focuses on the specific adjustments you can make to non-escalation sub-tickets created with the + Add button. 

These settings allow for detailed control over how sub-tickets are generated and managed, separate from the main escalation process.

For "New ticket (copy fields/copy unsaved fields)" feature

This dropdown allows you to control the data copied into new sub-tickets.

It gives you two options:

Copy only the following fields

With this option, only the fields you specifically select will be copied from the original ticket to the new sub-ticket. It's useful for ensuring that each sub-ticket contains only the most pertinent information, reducing clutter and focusing the agent’s attention on the most relevant details.

Copy all fields, except for the following
This option allows all fields from the original ticket to be duplicated into the new sub-ticket, except for those you designate not to be copied. It's a time-saver when most of the original ticket data is relevant, but you want to exclude certain details that aren’t necessary for the resolution of the sub-ticket.

Fields to copy or exclude

You'll find this text input field directly following the options for what fields to copy when creating new sub-tickets. This is where you can specify exactly which fields should be replicated in the sub-tickets or which ones to omit. Supported values are: assignee, group, requester, priority, tags, type, problem_id, description, and custom field ID. Separated by commas.

To include fields, simply enter the field names or IDs you want to be copied into new sub-tickets. This is useful when you have identified specific fields that consistently need to be transferred to continue the support process in a sub-ticket.

To exclude fields, list the field names or IDs that you do not want to copy into new sub-tickets. This helps in avoiding duplication of non-relevant information, keeping sub-tickets clean and focused on the issues at hand.

For example, if you want to exclude a field like "Internal notes," which may not be necessary for a sub-ticket, you would enter this field's name or ID in the "Fields to copy or exclude" input field under the "Copy all fields, except for the following" option.

By customizing which data is transferred to sub-tickets, you maintain control over the ticket's content, ensuring that agents have the exact information they need without unnecessary noise.

Auto include ticket attachments

Activating this feature saves time by automatically adding the attachments of the original ticket (first comment) as links upon sub-ticket creation.

Show attachments selection

This feature provides flexibility, allowing you to handpick which file attachments to carry over to the new sub-ticket as links.

Show both attachments & comments selection

Enhance your ticket's context by choosing specific comments and attachments that will help in resolving the new sub-ticket.

Show oldest comment first in comment selector

Organize the comment history for easier review by displaying the oldest entries first, helping you trace the conversation from the beginning.

Do not copy description formatting, just copy it as plain text

Keep ticket descriptions clean and distraction-free by converting them to plain text, removing any original formatting.

Sub-ticket can be unlinked from parent after creation

Gain the ability to detach a sub-ticket from its parent, granting independence to issues that no longer need to be associated.

Allow agents to link/unlink sub-ticket during creation

Empower your agents with the choice to establish or remove links between tickets right from the start, offering immediate control over ticket relationships.

Show problem / incident tickets

Ensure visibility of related problems or incidents by displaying these ticket types, which may influence how the new sub-ticket is handled.

Warn when attempting to add grandchild

Avoid complicating the ticket hierarchy by receiving alerts if there's an attempt to nest tickets too deeply, which could make tracking and resolution more complex.


Sub-ticket tag defaults

This section allows you to pre-define tags that will be automatically assigned to new sub-tickets and existing sub-tickets, streamlining the tagging process and ensuring consistency.

New sub-ticket

Tags entered here will be automatically added to any new sub-tickets created. This helps in categorizing and identifying new issues quickly.

Existing sub-ticket

When creating a sub-ticket from an existing one, the tags specified in this field will be applied. It ensures that ongoing issues maintain their categorization for continuity and easy tracking.

Parent of new sub-ticket

This setting allows you to add tags to the parent ticket when a new sub-ticket is created from it, helping you keep a clear record of the parent ticket's evolving issue history.

Parent of existing sub-ticket

Similarly, when a sub-ticket is created from an existing one, you can define tags to be added to the parent ticket, which can be useful for backtracking and analytics.


Escalation / sub-ticket management

This section allows you to customize how tickets are escalated and how sub-tickets are organized within the app.

Escalation menu text

This field is where you can define the label that appears in the app for the escalation menu, so you can replace the default Escalate to... to something that works better for you. It acts as the prompt for users when they need to escalate a ticket to another team or department.


This interactive element, represented by an "A-Z" icon, allows you to order your escalations and sub-tickets according to different criteria for easier navigation and selection.

When you click this button, you'll see the following options:

Sort by name
Arranges your escalation paths and sub-ticket templates alphabetically by their names. This is particularly useful when you have a long list and need to find options quickly.

Sort by position
Organizes the list based on the order or position you have set, which might represent your workflow's priority or the frequency of use for each escalation path.

Select the sorting method that best suits your team's needs to streamline the ticket escalation process and sub-ticket management.

Add folder

Create a structured hierarchy for your escalations and sub-tickets by adding new folders. This helps in categorizing related items for quick access and efficient management.

Click the Add Folder button to start organizing your escalations and sub-tickets into a neat structure. A new, untitled folder will appear in the list.

After creating a folder, you can further manage it by clicking the three-dot menu icon next to the folder name.

This action will present you with a small menu with the following options:
Change the folder's name to better reflect its contents. You can rename it according to the category or type of escalations and sub-tickets it will contain, such as "Technical issues" or "Customer feedback."

Remove the folder and its contents if no longer needed.

New escalation
Add a new escalation directly within this folder.

New folder
Create a sub-folder to further categorize your items, enhancing organization.

Make sure to click Done to save any changes or Cancel to exit without making changes.

By effectively using folders, you can ensure that your escalation and sub-ticket system is well-organized, making it easier for agents to navigate and utilize these configurations during their support workflows.

Add escalation

This prominent blue button is designed to help you quickly add new escalation paths. By clicking this button, you can define a new set of criteria and actions for when a ticket needs to be escalated to a higher level of support or a specialized department.


Escalation process

When you click the Add escalation button, a form appears where you can specify the details of the new escalation process.


Escalation details

The initial phase of setting up a new escalation route is to establish its core identifiers. This includes giving the escalation a name and tag that clearly describe its purpose and help you monitor its usage. These identifiers are not only crucial for organizing and tracking but also for ensuring that the escalation process aligns with your team's workflows and the specific needs of your support scenarios.

Escalation name

This is a required field and is the formal title of the escalation path. It should be concise yet descriptive enough to convey the essence of the route at a glance.

Escalation tag

Tags function as unique identifiers and can trigger additional workflows or reporting metrics. If you leave this field blank, the system will generate a default tag derived from the escalation name, ensuring every escalation route is uniquely marked for tracking and reference. It's also added to the sub-ticket, prefixed with "vendor_ticket_". For instance, naming your escalation "Microsoft" without specifying a tag will result in the automatic creation of a tag labeled "vendor_ticket_microsoft". This makes it easy to identify escalated tickets using its tag.

Hide from escalation list

Enable this setting to hide this escalation from all agents, preventing it from being manually selected from the menu. This not only keeps the interface clean but also ensures that agents cannot inadvertently activate it. Despite being hidden from the agents’ view, these escalations can still be triggered by auto-escalate conditions, allowing them to operate seamlessly in the background.

Note: If no auto-escalate conditions are defined, this setting effectively acts as a total deactivation of the escalation pathway. This feature is particularly useful for temporarily suspending an escalation's availability without permanently removing it, offering flexibility to reintroduce it in the future as needed.

Field settings for the new (child) ticket

In addition to naming and tagging your escalation, you'll configure several other details to ensure the new ticket meets your workflow requirements.

Copy from original ticket

Choose what data to copy to the escalation ticket from the original ticket before applying other changes.


Choose who will be responsible for the escalated ticket. You can assign it to a specific agent or assign it to yourself by clicking take it. Click Reset to start over.

Same group as parent

Check this box if you want the escalated ticket to automatically go to the same group as the parent ticket.


Add any additional stakeholders or team members who need to be kept in the loop by receiving copies of the correspondence.


Set the starting status of the escalated ticket, such as Open, Pending, or Solved.

Ticket form

If you use multiple ticket forms, select the appropriate one for the escalated ticket.

Type and priority

Classify the escalated ticket by its nature (Question, Incident, Problem, or Task) and its urgency (Low, Normal, High, or Urgent).


Add any relevant tags to help categorize and filter the escalated ticket in your system.

Other fields

Fill out any other fields as needed.

By thoroughly setting these parameters, you can tailor the escalation process to fit seamlessly into your existing ticket management system, ensuring consistency and clarity in how escalated tickets are handled.


Communication preferences

Define the tone, clarity, and direction of the information exchange, ensuring that escalation messages align with the customer's needs and the organization's service standards. Whether it's crafting a subject line that captures the essence of the escalation or choosing between public replies and internal notes, this section empowers agents to convey the right message at the right time.


Define the subject line for the escalated ticket. You can also instead select the Same as parent option.

Public reply / Internal note

Select whether the additional information you provide will be sent as a public reply visible to the customer or an internal note for internal communication among support agents.

Placeholders and Liquid Markup

Utilize placeholders and Liquid Markup language to dynamically insert ticket information into the subject and description fields from the parent ticket. You use placeholders to indicate what values should be inserted.

Click View available placeholders for a list of variables you can use to customize your escalation messages.

To use a placeholder, put the value inside double curly brackets. For example:

This is a sub-ticket of {{}}.The original ticket subject was: {{ticket.subject}} 
assigned to {{}}

The app supports all Zendesk ticket placeholders (except satisfaction rating). Visit Zendesk Support for a full list of supported placeholders.

Sub-ticket creation process

Decide if you want the sub-ticket to be created immediately, or if you prefer to review it first. This is particularly useful for ensuring that all necessary information is in place before the ticket is escalated.


Auto-escalation and conditions

Define conditions under which the ticket will automatically escalate, such as specific tags.


Ticket comments

Control how comments are copied over to the new ticket, such as including public, private comments, or attachments.


Other settings

These include options like allowing a ticket to be escalated multiple times or specifying link/unlink permissions.

You also have the option to choose the sent-out email address.



Apply any macros that should run after the escalation is complete.


Save escalation

Once all the necessary information is filled out, you can save the new escalation route by clicking the Save button, or cancel the process by clicking Cancel.

Here is an example setup with an escalation list, showing the pathways to different departments:


Escalating a ticket

Follow this illustrative guide to understand the escalation process within the Escalator app. Keep in mind that your experience may vary based on your unique App settings and Escalation settings

1. Click Settings.

2. Click + Add Escalation.

3. You will now see the Escalation settings panel.

4. Enter an Escalation name and, optionally, an Escalation tag. If you leave the tag field blank, one will be auto-generated from the escalation name.

5. Draft an initial internal note or public reply that agents can personalize prior to escalation.

6. Decide on the Assignee for this escalation, which could be a specific agent or a team. If you're looking to escalate to an external vendor, you will need to add the vendor as the Requester.

7. In this example, Technical team is selected as the assignee for Technical support escalations.

8. Ensure all changes are saved by clicking Save. Reload Zendesk to refresh the page.

9. Now that the Technical support escalation has been created, you can go to the ticket interface and choose Technical support from the escalation dropdown menu of the Escalator app.

10. A prompt will appear for you to choose which comments to escalate.
To select individual comments to be included, click the circle to the right of the comment. Selected comments have a filled-in circle with a checkmark, while unselected comments have an empty circle.

11. To quickly select or de-select all comments click the circle at the top, to the right of the x / y comments selected label.

If a comment has attachments, they'll be listed below the comment. To include attachments on the escalated ticket, select the comment and click the circle at the bottom right corner of the attachment. You can also click Select all / Select none next to the Attachments heading.

13. After selection, a new ticket is created and you can edit its interface. In this example, you will see that Assignee has been set to Technical team, tags have been generated, and the subject and internal note can be edited with information about our current ticket.

14. Review and edit the new ticket details, then click Submit to escalate.

15. The new ticket, now escalated to the Technical team, will show a reference to the original (parent) ticket in the Escalator app.

16. On the original ticket’s interface, you'll find a link in Escalator to the newly created sub-ticket, ensuring full visibility and traceability.

This example serves as a general framework. The exact steps, options, and workflow will be determined by your specific App settings and Escalation settings you've applied to Escalator.



Setting up sub-tickets

Navigating through sub-tickets is a fundamental aspect of delivering organized and effective customer service. Below you'll find instructions for adding, linking, and detaching sub-tickets using Escalator.


Adding a new sub-ticket

You can choose from three different options:

New ticket

To create a fresh sub-ticket without any pre-filled information, select New ticket from the + Add dropdown menu.

This is ideal when you need to start from scratch on a related issue that doesn't require existing ticket data. The only value populated is the ticket subject. Fill in the fields you'd like and click Submit to complete the process.

Note: This is probably obvious to most people, but the association isn't created until the new ticket is submitted. Don't forget to submit the new ticket!

New ticket (copy fields)

If you want to create a new sub-ticket with details carried over from the current ticket, choose New ticket (copy fields).

This option duplicates the information from pre-defined fields into the new sub-ticket, saving time and ensuring consistency in the details being transferred.
To customize which field values are copied to the new ticket, use the Copy only the fields listed below and Fields to copy or exclude options in the Sub-ticket customization section of the App settings. 

Note: Changes made by agent but have not been saved will not be used to copy. Please refer to New Ticket (copy unsaved fields) below if you want to use these changed fields when copying.

New ticket (copy unsaved fields)

When there are modifications made to the current ticket that haven't been saved yet, and you want these recent changes to be included in the new sub-ticket, select New ticket (copy unsaved fields).

This ensures that the most up-to-date information, even if not yet saved in the system, is reflected in the sub-ticket.


Linking to an existing ticket

This option is useful when there are ongoing discussions or related issues that have been documented in a separate ticket. Linking the tickets can provide context and help in collective resolution.

To link an already existing ticket to the current conversation, select Existing ticket from the + Add dropdown menu.

A dialog will then appear. By default, recent and bookmarked tickets are displayed.

Note: You can manage bookmarked tickets using the Quickie app, also available in the Zendesk App Marketplace.

If you know the ID of the ticket you want to link, enter it in the Keyword or Ticket ID: field.

If you don't have that, you can use the same box to search for a specific ticket. After a short delay, the ticket listing below the box will update with up to 20 matching tickets.

To select a ticket, click on it. The Keyword or Ticket ID: box will update to display the ticket ID. You can easily identify the currently selected ticket by its green border. To clear the selection, remove the ticket id from the Keyword or Ticket ID: box.

When you've selected the ticket you want to link, click Add ticket and the association will be created. Click Cancel to dismiss the dialog without creating a link.


Unlinking sub-tickets

In the Escalator interface, you have the capability to detach sub-tickets from their parent tickets. This function is limited to sub-tickets; parent and sibling tickets cannot be unlinked through this feature.

To initiate the detachment, locate the X icon situated at the bottom-right corner of the sub-ticket's reference box. Clicking this will prompt a confirmation dialog where you can affirm unlinking or opt to cancel the operation.

The process is slightly different depending on what type of sub-ticket you're looking to unlink.

Unlinking escalated sub-tickets

To access this function for escalated sub-tickets, ensure that the unlinking feature is activated within your Escalation settings

Once enabled, agents will be presented with an X icon on the escalated sub-ticket’s box, which allows them to remove the linkage.

Unlinking other sub-tickets

For sub-tickets not created via escalation, verify that the unlinking capability is turned on in App settings under the subsection for Sub-ticket customization.

With this feature active, agents will find an X icon on the non-escalation sub-ticket’s box to perform the unlinking.

Note: Once a sub-ticket is unlinked, the link is permanently removed. While there is no direct undo option, reconnection is possible by utilizing the Existing ticket function within the sub-ticket dropdown menu. Exercise caution when unlinking as it alters the ticket relationship structure.


Splitting tickets into multiple sub-tickets

Dividing a single customer ticket into multiple sub-tickets enables a tailored approach to each specific issue within the original inquiry. This process ensures that every aspect of the customer's concern is addressed by the most suitable team member.

Here’s how to effectively split a ticket into two or more sub-tickets using Escalator, including a practical example.

1. Review the customer's ticket to identify distinct issues that can be handled separately, then decide how many sub-tickets are needed based on the issues identified.

Example: A customer submits a ticket regarding a billing error and an item that was not delivered. After assessing the ticket, you decide to split it into two sub-tickets: one for the finance team and another for the dispatch team.

2. While on the ticket, open the Escalator app and then click + Add.

3. Select New sub-ticket for each issue you've identified.

4. Fill in the details relevant to the specific issue being addressed in each new ticket form. Select the correct assigned team.

Example for sub-ticket 1:

Example for sub-ticket 2:

5. Assign each sub-ticket to the correct team or agent specializing in that issue.

Example for sub-ticket 1: "Billing error for Order #89910 - Incorrect charge on account," assigned to the finance department.

Example for sub-ticket 2: "Missing item from Order #89910," assigned to the dispatch team.
6. Escalator links each sub-ticket to the original ticket, maintaining a cohesive view of the customer's issues. All agents involved can see the relationship between the main ticket and its sub-tickets.

7. Add an internal note in the main ticket summarizing the split and the rationale.

8. Optionally, let the customer know their issues are being addressed through specialized sub-tickets for faster, more accurate resolutions.

9. Regularly check the status of all sub-tickets and the main ticket to ensure consistent progress and communication.

10. As each sub-ticket is resolved, update the main ticket accordingly.

11. Once all sub-tickets are closed, ensure the overall issue is resolved to the customer's satisfaction, then close the main ticket.

Note: This example serves as a general framework to give you an idea of how to use the + Add sub-ticket option. The exact steps would be up to your team's process, such as whether the customer is updated via the separate sub-tickets, via the main ticket, or both.



Exporting parent, escalation, and sub-ticket IDs to fields

To enhance reporting capabilities and manage ticket relationships effectively in Zendesk, setting up custom fields for parent, escalated, and sub-ticket IDs is essential. These fields allow you to track and report on ticket hierarchies and relationships seamlessly.

Step 1: Add custom fields in Zendesk

For the parent ticket ID:

1. Navigate to Admin Center > Objects and Rules > Tickets > Fields.

2. Click Add field, select Number, name it "Parent ticket ID", and click Save.

3. Note the field ID for later reference.

For escalated ticket IDs (escalated sub-tickets):

1. Repeat the process, selecting Text as the field type.

2. Name it "Escalated ticket IDs", click Save, and note the field ID.

For sub-ticket IDs (other sub-tickets):

1. Again, select Text as the field type.

2. Name it "Sub-ticket ID", click Save, and note the field ID.

Step 2: Configure Escalator app settings

1. Open the Escalator app settings via the Settings (3-dot) menu.

2. Link the "Parent ticket ID" field to the Export parent ticket ID to field setting.

3. Link the "Escalated ticket IDs" field to the Export escalated ticket IDs to field setting for tracking IDs of escalated sub-tickets.

4. Link the "Sub-ticket IDs" field to the Export sub-ticket IDs to field setting for tracking IDs of regular sub-tickets.

5. Save your changes to finalize the configuration.

More information on exporting ticket IDs to field can be found in the Global configuration section.

These steps will ensure that your Zendesk environment is well-equipped to handle advanced ticket management workflows, including detailed reporting and tracking of ticket hierarchies and relationships. Using separate fields for each type of sub-ticket allows for granular reporting and data analysis, which is essential for comprehensive ticket management.



Auto-updating parent tickets, escalations and other sub-tickets

To streamline efficiency and ensure consistency across customer support workflows, setting up auto-updates between parent, escalations, and other sub-tickets is vital. This section will guide you through using Zendesk's custom fields, webhooks, and triggers to automate the reflection of changes from parent to sub-tickets and vice versa.


Step 1: Initial setup

Make sure you've completed the setup of custom fields for exporting parent, escalations, and sub-ticket IDs as described in the Exporting parent, escalations, and sub-ticket IDs to fields section.


Step 2: Generate an API token

1. Navigate to Admin Center > Apps and Integrations > APIs > Zendesk API.

2. Add an API token, provide a descriptive name (e.g., Escalator API token), copy the generated token, and save it securely.


Step 3: Set up webhooks

1. Navigate to Admin Center > Apps and Integrations > Webhooks and create a new webhook for trigger or automation.

2. Use the following configurations:

    • Request method:
    • Request format:
    • Authentication:
      Basic (use your admin email/token as the username and the API token as the password)
    • Name and Endpoint URL:
      Format the URL as follows:

      Replace [AAAAAA] with your actual Zendesk subdomain

      Replace [BBBBBB] with the appropriate custom field ID:

      • For parent tickets, use the field ID of "Parent ticket ID"
      • For escalated sub-tickets, use the field ID of "Escalated ticket IDs"
      • For other sub-tickets, use the field ID of "Sub-ticket IDs" 

      For example:{{ticket.ticket_field_11556654433221}}

3. Save the webhook configuration.

Step 4: Create triggers for tagging

1. In Triggers, select Add Trigger.

2. Conditions might include child ticket status changes or specific tags.

3. The actions should notify the corresponding webhook created above, applying the appropriate tag. Here's how the trigger actions should be tagged:

  • Update parent ticket: JSON content
    {"ticket": {"additional_tags":["ready_for_update"]}}
  • Update escalated sub-tickets: JSON content
    {"ticket": {"additional_tags":["ready_for_update_children_escalation"]}}
  • Update other sub-tickets: JSON content
    {"ticket": {"additional_tags":["ready_for_update_children"]}}

Step 5: Create action triggers based on tags

Configure additional triggers to act based on the applied tags. These triggers should update the tickets as necessary (e.g., solve, assign) and then remove the tags to prevent repeated actions.


Step 6: Testing and refinement

Thoroughly test the updates for both parent and child ticket scenarios. Adjust the triggers, webhooks, and Escalator app settings based on these test outcomes.


Note: Remember to replace [AAAAAA] with your actual Zendesk subdomain and verify the field IDs are correctly implemented. Isolate individual components during testing to efficiently troubleshoot any issues.


Direct JSON updates for adding comments

In scenarios where you need to add comments to tickets—something that Zendesk triggers do not currently support—there is an alternative approach using direct JSON updates. This allows for immediate changes and additions to tickets without the need for a separate tagging step.


Direct JSON content update method:

1. Instead of setting up a trigger to tag the ticket in Auto-updating parent tickets, escalations, and other sub-tickets, you can directly configure the webhook to update the ticket using JSON content.

2. This method allows you to bypass Step 5 of the usual process, as the ticket update is applied directly.

3. Example JSON content for directly updating a parent ticket, including adding a public comment:

   "ticket": {
     "status": "solved",
     "priority": "low",
     // other ticket fields
     "comment": {
         "body": "This is an example PUBLIC comment added to parent ticket.",
         "public": true

4. To implement this, you must replace the tagging JSON content in Step 4 with the update content as shown above.


Note: Direct JSON updates are powerful and can enact multiple changes at once, including adding comments which are not possible through the standard trigger and tagging approach.

It is crucial to format the JSON content correctly and test thoroughly to ensure the desired outcome. Refer to the Zendesk Developer API documentation for comprehensive JSON structures and field references.

Remember to adjust your webhook configurations accordingly to accept and process the JSON content. As always, make sure you're using your actual Zendesk subdomain and ensure the field IDs used are correct.

This alternative method should be used with caution and understanding of the Zendesk API capabilities. It's designed for those scenarios where the additional capabilities of direct updates are required, such as adding comments to parent or child tickets. If you have further questions or need assistance, please reach out to our support team.



Creating a base configuration with the 'll-default' feature

The 'll-default' tag in Escalator acts as a customizable template for escalations. By setting up this default configuration, administrators can define common values that apply universally, simplifying the setup process and ensuring consistency across various escalations.


Default configuration behavior:

Without any modifications, escalations in Escalator start with a blank configuration where all settings are unset. This means that each escalation needs specific attributes defined unless they inherit from a predefined configuration like 'll-default'.


Customizing the default configuration:

Administrators can leverage the 'll-default' feature to establish a baseline configuration. This configuration might include common settings such as a default requester or specific tags. Here’s how it functions:

  • If 'll-default' is set to have 'Requester Y' and an individual escalation specifies 'Requester X', the individual escalation’s setting of 'Requester X' takes precedence.
  • If another escalation does not specify a requester, it defaults to using 'Requester Y' as set in the 'll-default'.

This method ensures that escalations uniformly apply a foundational configuration, unless overridden by specific escalation settings, thereby streamlining the management process and enhancing consistency.


Benefits of 'll-default' feature:

Implementing the 'll-default' configuration simplifies the administration of escalations by eliminating the need to manually set common attributes for each escalation. It reduces redundancy, minimizes potential errors, and saves time. This setup is particularly beneficial in environments requiring extensive customization and multiple escalation paths, as it ensures that essential baseline settings are consistently applied.



Best practices

Maximizing the effectiveness of Escalator within your Zendesk environment involves understanding when and how to leverage its features to enhance your support workflow. Here are some best practices for using Escalator to its fullest potential.

Engaging experts through escalations

When to use: Whenever an issue requires specialized knowledge or intervention from external vendors, experts, or specific departments.
Best practice: Use Escalator to create separate but linked tickets for engaging with experts. This ensures that all necessary context is transferred and tracked, enhancing collaboration and resolution efficiency.

Dividing complex tickets with splitting

When to use: For customer tickets that encompass multiple, distinct issues which need to be addressed separately.
Best practice: Split complex tickets into smaller, more manageable parts. This approach allows different team members to tackle specific aspects of the customer's problem, streamlining the resolution process and reducing the overall resolution time.

Creating connections with linking related tickets

When to use: When multiple tickets from the same or different users are related or when incidents stem from a common problem.
Best practice: Link related tickets to build a comprehensive network of solutions and interactions. This not only aids in resolving current issues but also in quickly addressing future related inquiries, fostering a deeper understanding and more efficient support.

Utilizing incidents and problem tickets display for insight

When to use: To keep track of and manage widespread issues affecting multiple customers.
Best practice: Leverage the visibility of linked incidents and problem tickets in Escalator for an instant overview of the issue's scope and impact. This aids in prioritizing and allocating resources more effectively to address widespread concerns.

Regular review and configuration updates

When to use: Ongoing, especially as your support needs and workflows evolve.
Best practice: Periodically review your Escalator configurations and usage patterns. Adjust settings, escalations, and ticket linking strategies as needed to align with your current support scenarios and objectives.

Training and knowledge sharing

When to use: After initial setup and as part of ongoing professional development for your support team.
Best practice: Conduct regular training sessions to ensure all team members are proficient in using Escalator. Share best practices, tips, and success stories to encourage effective use and to continuously improve your team's support capabilities.

Implementing these best practices will help your team leverage Escalator more effectively, enhancing your overall customer support operation and ensuring that your customers receive timely, accurate, and satisfactory resolutions to their issues.



Discover quick answers and practical insights into frequently asked questions about Escalator, enhancing your ticket management experience.

What is Escalator, and how does it integrate with Zendesk?

Escalator is a Zendesk app designed to streamline complex or multi-issue customer ticket handling. It integrates directly into your Zendesk environment, offering functionalities like ticket linking, splitting, and escalation to enhance ticket management efficiency.

How can I install Escalator in my Zendesk environment?

To install Escalator, navigate to the Zendesk Apps Marketplace, search for Escalator, and select the app. You can also go to this direct link. Follow the on-screen instructions to install it within your Zendesk environment. 

What are the key features of Escalator?

Escalator's key features include escalations (to engage external vendors or specific experts), splitting tickets (to handle complex issues more manageably), linking related tickets (to provide a holistic view of related solutions and interactions), and listing incident tickets connected to a problem ticket.

What benefits does using Escalator offer?

Using Escalator can enhance collaboration across teams, increase efficiency in managing tickets, improve resolution times by directing issues to the right experts, and lead to better customer satisfaction by ensuring comprehensive issue resolution.

How does Escalator enhance collaboration within customer support teams?

Escalator facilitates seamless cooperation between different departments or teams by allowing easy escalation, linking, and splitting of tickets, ensuring that all aspects of a customer's issue are addressed promptly and collaboratively.

Can Escalator handle tickets from different users as related issues?

Yes, Escalator allows agents to create a network of related tickets, even from different users, fostering valuable connections and a comprehensive support approach by giving agents a complete view of past solutions and interactions.

Can Escalator automatically link incident tickets to a problem ticket?

Escalator does not automate the linking of incident to problem tickets. This functionality is managed through Zendesk, and Escalator provides a streamlined view of these linked tickets within its interface for easier management and reference. More information on working with problem and incident tickets can be found on the Zendesk agent guide.



Wrapping up, here's a straightforward look at how Escalator enhances the Zendesk support experience:

Streamlines ticket management

Simplifies handling of complex issues through effective ticket linking, splitting, and escalation.

Improves efficiency

Enables support teams to resolve customer queries more efficiently, integrating seamlessly with Zendesk.

Enhances team collaboration

Facilitates better coordination among support teams, ensuring comprehensive customer support.

Optimizes support operations

Offers a practical solution for a smoother workflow, allowing teams to focus on delivering high-quality service.

Boosts customer satisfaction

By leveraging Escalator's functionalities, teams can provide quicker, more accurate resolutions, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Moving forward with Escalator means equipping your support team with a powerful tool designed to improve resolution times and customer satisfaction, marking a significant step towards optimized support operations.

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