Managing Data: Labels vs. Custom Fields

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When you want to capture information about your cases and your customers, gives you two ways to do this: Custom Fields and Labels.

This article will explain:

  1. How to gather, store, and flag important information with Labels and Custom Fields
  2. The pros and cons of using Labels versus using Custom Fields to store information

You need this because:

  1. You want to capture information about your Cases, Customers, and Companies
  2. You want to flag and be able to take specific actions on cases based on data collected

Using Custom Fields allows you to create custom fields so you can capture the specific data you need from your customers. Examples of data you want to capture include:

  1. Reason the customer is contacting you or type of inquiry
  2. Product or Service the customer is writing about
  3. Location the customer is writing from

In Case, Customer and Company objects may have up to 25 custom fields each, and these custom fields can be used to store and retrieve information. Fields can be used to:

  1. Display information on the respective tab for Case, Customer, and Company
  2. Define Case Filters
  3. Define Business Rules by checking the values stored in a custom field

Creating a Custom Field

Note: These instructions reference the Next Gen Agent admin console.

Step 1: Login to the Admin Panel and click “Cases” in the top tabs. On the left menu, select “Cases”, “Customers” or “Companies”, depending on where you want to store this field.




Step 2: Click the blue "Add Field" button and a New Custom Field box will pop up.


Step 3: Fill out the required information based on the following descriptions:

  1. Name: the custom field name is used to provide a description of the field's use and is displayed visually before the field when the field is added to a Tab Template.
  2. Key: The key is used when adding fields to the Templates. Keys for custom case fields can also be used to define keyword searches for Case Filters. (Note: the best practice is to use an abbreviated description of the fields intended purpose. It cannot contain spaces and is used for referencing this field from elsewhere in
  3. Data Type: the data type sets the type of information stored in the field and how an agent can edit it. The available field types are:
  • Text
  • Number
  • True/False
  • Date
  • List
  • When list is selected, you must define the valid values

    Use the green + to add list values. Use the red X to remove values. Use the top or bottom arrows to re-arrange the order of the values available in the custom field's drop down.
  1. Enabled: If a custom field is disabled, it will not be displayed to your agents.  If enabled, it will be displayed.  Enabled Custom Fields are automatically displayed to the agent when using the "System Template". 

    Note: If you're using Next Gen Agent, and your agents cannot see the custom field you've recently added and enabled, check your Next Gen Case Layouts to ensure the custom field is added to any custom layouts you've created and assigned.

Creating Labels

A label is a tag that you manage in your Admin or create from the Agent Desktop. They're viewed under the case details of an individual case, next to the subject line in both Classic and Next Gen Agent consoles, and are reportable in Business Insights.

Step 1: To add labels from your Admin Desktop, click on “Cases” and select the “Labels” tab on the left.

Step 2: Add a label by clicking the
Add Label button and fill out the fields as prompted:

Step 3: Labels must be at least two characters in length and can contain special characters. You can add, edit, or delete labels from the Admin page where you added a label.

Step 4: To add a label from the Agent Desktop, start typing the name of the label in the Labels field of the case.  You’ll see available matches, or have the ability to create your own (If it hasn’t been disabled by your Administrator)

Step 5: To manually remove a label from a case, click the white X next to the label name under the Labels field.


Using Labels

Labels can be used to:

  1. Act as a condition for filters to group particular cases in a queue.
  2. Visually identify labeled cases in the filter view
  3. As a condition or action in Business Rules. (i.e. Does this case contain a particular label? or When this condition occurs, append, set, or remove a label).
  4. Group macros into folders, which are accessible to agents when they click "use macro" while responding to and working an individual case.
    Folders are visually set apart by the arrow pointing to the right. Clicking the arrow expands the additional macros contained in that folder (e.g. macros that are nested in Sample Macros folder).


Labels vs. Custom Fields Guidelines

Labels are a great way to tag cases for important categories, mainly because they’re so simple to use. Here’s 3 guidelines to follow when setting up labels:

1. Flag temporary cases for follow up: If you’re an e-commerce company and a particular product is temporarily out of stock, you may want to tag those cases so you can easily find those cases later to let those customers know when that product is back in stock. Or, if you’re a software company and a feature you just released is buggy – you want to label those cases so you can notify all those customers quickly when that feature is fixed. A common label to append to cases is Escalated, visually indicating the case has been escalated and should be handled with care.

2. Visual Identification:  Labels show up in the filter view when you are logged in to the Agent Desktop. Therefore, using labels is a great way to visually identify certain attributes of cases that you want to be able to view at-a-glance before you open a case.

Tip: As an admin, you can color-code your labels so they pop in the agent's inbox and filters. For example, above we've associated the Escalated label with Red.

3. Limit Label Creation:  The simplicity of labels tends to be overused in situations better suited to the use of Custom Fields. By setting permissions on label creation, use of labels is strategic and organized. To limit label creation to Administrators click Advanced Settings under Labels in your admin console's Cases tab.


Custom fields, on the other hand, are better suited for information storage and are best applied with the following guidelines:

1. Structured Choices: Give your agents a structured set of options to choose from when they’re responding to cases. This prevents ambiguity and encourages uniform support processes.

2. Automated Actions: Structured custom fields allow you to set up automatic actions on cases based on particular values in custom fields.  

3. Reporting: Custom Fields support the ability to make informed decisions based on the data you’re capturing. Storing this information in custom fields allows for simple reporting and insights into the types of changes your organization should be making.


Note: The feature(s) in this article requires the Standard Plan or above. To upgrade your account, log in to your Admin panel and click "Billing" on the right. See the overview of our pricing plans or reach out to Sales for more info.