Build a Task Manager in Zendesk Support via Custom Statuses

Task Manager to snooze tickets in Zendesk via the new Custom Statuses.

Build a Task Manager in Zendesk Support via Custom Statuses

Like we mentioned in an earlier post, Zendesk now supports Custom Statuses for tickets. This allows a more granular approach to handling tickets and gives more context to agents when looking at a ticket status.

In the previous blog post we gave an example on how we could handle Pending tickets and have a different flow based on tickets where we expect replies, or where we want them to silently solve if we don’t hear back from them.

Similarly, Custom Statuses create some cool opportunities to improve the On Hold Ticket flows.

On Hold Status

By default, the system has an On Hold status to imply a ticket can’t be handled since you’re waiting for an external party or external event.

Examples are: finance needs to handle paperwork, a supplier needs to deliver a product, you need information from another department,…

In order to not forget about these tickets, and not waste time looking at tickets you can’t do anything about, it’s advices to setup at least one automation that re-opens any On Hold ticket after some time has passed.

This way, you have three ways those On Hold tickets reappear in your inbox:

  1. An impatient customer replies
  2. Your supplier/colleague replies via side conversation or internal note
  3. The automation opens the ticket and you can send a reminder or apology.

Example Automation

More control via custom statuses

The automation shown above is a basic example on how to automate based on the On Hold Status.

Any ticket that is On Hold for more than 120 calendar hours (24 hours per day x 5 days) is set to status Open.

But with this automation you’ll quickly run into issues. What if your suppliers asks you to call back tomorrow. What if it takes a week? It could be annoying to have that ticket reappear to early and have to do the on hold > open > on hold dance time and time again.

This is where the new custom statuses shine. Take a look at the following flow:

The idea is that we create multiple custom On Hold statuses, each linked to a custom automation that snoozes a ticket for a given set of hours.

The flow would then work as follows:

  1. A new ticket comes in on Tuesday and it’s clear that the ticket can only be handled at the end of the week.
  2. The agent replies to the customers and chooses the custom ‘Snooze for 3 days’ status.
  3. The ticket is put On Hold and disappears from the inbox.
  4. An automation checks all tickets and once a ticket is in the ‘Snooze for 3 days’ status for more than 72 hours, the ticket is re-opened
  5. The ticket gets the custom Open status “Ticket is Due” and appears in the inbox.

The Setup

Custom Statuses

Go to your admin panel and create custom statuses like the ones below.

For this example I choose to create three On Hold statuses:

  • Snooze for one day
  • Snooze for three days
  • Snooze for one week

Since we want to make it clear to agents that these tickets are re-opened instead of opened via customer reply, we also create a custom Open status:

  • Ticket is due

Note that, on the customer facing side, we still call those tickets open. It’s often not necessary  to let the customer know the tickets are stuck for x days, but if your scenario differs, you can let them know about the delay via this customer status.

Since automations run hourly, you could differ tickets anywhere between 1 hour and infinity. So this could be useful to triage your tickets in the morning and defer tickets to the afternoon if you want.


The automations are build similar to the generic one at the beginning of this article.

Note that this time we don’t use the Status Category to build the conditions, but rather refer to the Custom Status.

Zendesk has two ways an automation can count time.
- Calendar hours look at a real hours. So if you want the next day you should use 24 hours as the interval.
- Business hours look at your business schedule in Zendesk and only count working hours. So if your business is open 9-5, and has an 8hour work day, the next day in business hours is 8 hours later. Similarly, two days later is 2x8 hours, 16 hours later.

If you prefer tickets to not reopen during weekend or holidays, you should use Business Hours in your automations.


Below is a example on how this works in a realistic scenario:

  1. A customer needs a replacement part
  2. The agent contacts logistics who lets them know it’ll be send before the weekend but to be sure they should check back in three days.
  3. The agent lets the customer know the good news, and snoozes the ticket for three days with the custom status
  4. Good thing he did, cause logistics failed to find the missing part. The ticket re-opens, the agent confirms there is a delay, and let’s the customer know about the bad news.

What about Tasks and Due Dates?

Zendesk has a build in Tasks type for tickets and a linked “Due Date” ticket field.

These options are great and allow for even finer control on exact dates.

However, this requires more actions from the agent to snooze tickets:

  • Change the ticket status
  • Choose a due date in the calendar
  • Put the ticket on hold

The automations also need to take into account that tickets can have a due date and have any kind of status so that increases admin complexity.

Nevertheless, this option is a valid one and has worked for many Zendesk customers over the years.

But with Custom Statuses some classic scenario’s in Zendesk can now be rebuild in more elegant ways.