Building reports with Zendesk Explore. Part 2: adding filters and columns

Written by
Jude Kriwald
Zendesk Consultant
June 20, 2023
min read

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In Part 1, we covered Zendesk Explore datasets and practised adding our first metric. With our first metric added, our output looks something like the below.

As impressive as it is, it’s not particularly useful to a CS manager to see how many agent updates have occurred over the last few years. Our challenge was to show this data for last month only.

To do this, we’ll need to use a filter.

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Adding a filter

Next to Filters, click “Add >”

Now we need to pick a filter that is related to our metric. Now’s a good time to try out the search feature, as this will save us scrolling through a long list of collapsed options. In the search field above, type in “update - date”, as we want to filter our data by the date the update occurred, rather than any other attribute.

Go ahead and select Update - Date.

Once you click Apply, you’ll see that the number is unchanged. This is because we’ve only done half the work in setting up our filter. Whilst we’ve selected the attribute that we want to filter the report by, we haven’t yet selected which dates we want to include/exclude, so it’s still showing all-time data.

To select the dates you want, go ahead and click on the grey box containing your filter.

Now you will see an unpleasantly long list of dates to pick from, dating all the way back to when you received your first ticket.

To get to the much more helpful UI, click on Edit date ranges.

This will open up another window within which you can more easily select the dates you’re after.

From here, it’s easy to see that our goal of showing agent updates for the last month is just a couple of clicks away! Select Last month and then Apply.

Your data will now be transformed, only showing agent updates that occurred within the last 30 days.

We’re a step closer! We can now see that 15,092 agent updates were made last month. Next, let’s break it down by day.

Adding a column

To break this number down by day, we’re going to need to introduce our next element, a column! We’ll add the date attribute as a column, thereby breaking down the total number by date.

Similar to adding a metric, to add a column click on “Add >” under Columns

Then, either search for, or scroll down until you see Update - Date. Select this then click Apply

We now have what looks like a fledgling report!

You’ll notice that Zendesk has automatically changed the output from a simple number to an area graph. Let's learn how to change this.

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Changing visualisation type

On the right side of the screen, select the Visualisation type button,

Then select Column. Feel free to play around with other visualisation types at this stage, it’s a good way to learn! But make sure you come back to a column graph to continue this lesson.

It shouldn’t take long for Explore to render your report into columns, as below.

Now you’ve got your data broken down into columns, we’re on our way to having a useful graph.

There are endless tweaks you can make to a report, many of which are normally worth ignoring as they might look cool but aren’t worth the time fiddling with them. An exception to this, however, is properly labelled axes. No one wants to receive a poorly labelled report!

As you can see in our image above, Zendesk doesn’t always manage to label each column individually. This leaves us guessing as to which column a written date is referring to. Let’s fix this now.

Formatting the axes

On the right side, click the Chart configuration button, below the visualisation type button.

Then go ahead and click on X axis.

Look for Label rotation at the bottom, and change it to 45.

Much better! We can now clearly see which date every column represents.

Now we have a report that shows us agent updates for last month, broken down by day. Our final requirement was that this should be broken down further by the agent who made the update. Stay tuned for Part 3 in which we’ll learn to cover adding rows and learn our way around some difficulties you’ll likely come up against.

Written by
Jude Kriwald

Jude Kriwald first learned to administer Zendesk in 2015 and has been helping businesses improve their customer operations as a freelance consultant since 2018. Offline, he can be found making maps, paragliding or exploring remote places.

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