Forums/Community/Support tips & notes

Use topic suggestions to increase ticket deflection

Anton de Young
posted this on February 23, 2012 10:55

In last week’s tip of the week, we highlighted several of the smaller features we’ve released lately. In this week's tip we'll look at some of the options you have for improving ticket deflection by leveraging your knowledge base and forums.

If you checked out last week's tip, you saw how relevant knowledge base topic suggestions can be displayed to your customers when they create a support request via the request form.

By enabling topic suggestions, you make it easier for your customers to find the answer to their question so that they don’t need to submit a support request at all. That’s called ticket deflection and it’s an important aspect of managing your customer support. Help your customers help themselves by leveraging your knowledge base and your user community to reduce your overall number of tickets.

You can also improve ticket deflection by adding search to your Web portal home page, as in this example:

When your customers search your knowledge base, the three most relevant topics are displayed. By clicking the More button, all the other topics that contain the search terms are displayed.

In addition to the relevant search results, your customers are also prompted to take additional steps if they weren’t able to locate the answer to their question by searching.

As you can see above, they have three follow-up options. They can post a question in a Questions forum, post an idea or suggestion in an Ideas forum, or open a new support request. Directing your customers into a community-based Questions forum, for example, makes it easy for your customers to interact with and support each other. 

The first two options add links to forums in your knowledge base that have been set to either the Questions or Ideas forum content type.

The third option (get in touch) is a link to the Submit a Request page in your Web portal.

So how you do set this all up for your own account? There are only a couple of steps involved but you need to be an administrator to do them.

First, enable forum search on your Web portal home page by selecting Settings > Channels > Web Portal > Edit. On that page, the first setting you need to enable is Forum search on portal home page.

Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and enable Topic Suggestions. This adds topic suggestions to your support request form. 

Save your new settings by clicking the Save button.

The final step is go to your forums page and either create new or edit existing forums and set their content types as Ideas or Questions. If you've already got forums set to these content types, you're already done. Remember that all forums that are set to either of these content types will be displayed by the topic suggestion tool. 



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Frankie Jarrett

Is there any way to enable Knowledge Base topic suggestions as users are typing their ticket subject?

May 08, 2012 15:47
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Is there a way to see how many tickets have successfully been deflected?  Since I turned this feature on, our ticket volume has dropped (as expected), but this could be related to other factors as well.  

How can I measure the number of people that started to create a ticket, saw the suggestions, and were successfully deflected away prior to actually submitting the ticket?  

I am looking to place a number on this so that I can prioritize the creation of knowledge base articles.  For example, if the numbers show a huge success in deflections, I will push the agents to create more KB articles.  If the numbers show that ticket deflection is not successful for our customer base, I will try to determine why, perhaps it is the quality of the suggestions, etc., but ultimately I may choose to reduce the time spent on creating KB articles.



July 03, 2012 10:24
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Samantha M. Ramirez

Is there any way to enable topic sharing to work for drop down fields?

July 10, 2012 15:35
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Scott Chester

Is it possible for the topic suggestions to be included in the triggered email response to customers? I don't see a placeholder for it.

July 11, 2012 09:03
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Eli Blankers


100% agree with Scott.

July 11, 2012 11:55
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Adam Steinberg

+1 from me. Before I can commit to switching to Zendesk, I need to know the answer to Kevin's question:

"How can I measure the number of people that started to create a ticket, saw the suggestions, and were successfully deflected away prior to actually submitting the ticket? "



February 20, 2013 12:24
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Justin Seymour

Kevin; Adam: Unfortunately, we don't have any methods in place to collect that ticket deflection data. 

February 21, 2013 04:44
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Jason Berryman

Is it possible to enable agents to see the topic suggestions, as well as customers?  It would be beneficial for agents to be able to flag that an issue is already in the knowledge base.

April 24, 2013 07:08
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Brandon K.

Hey Jason,

Where would you want agents to see the topic suggestion feature? As it currently is, your end users see it when they are submitting a ticket to your support team. Would you want the related articles that the end user saw shown to the agent? Or are you using a workflow that has your agents submitting tickets themselves? If you could clarify your workflow and ideal functionality, I might be better able to offer you a solution. 

April 24, 2013 15:35
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Jason Berryman

Hi Brandon,

We have many customers who prefer to telephone into the support desk with their issues.  It would be useful for agents to log the ticket on their behalf and see suggestions when they are creating the ticket.

On a different subject, is it possible for an agent to create a ticket / update a ticket "on behalf of" an end user, so it appears in Zendesk that the update was added by the end user (with a note to say it was created by the agent on their behalf)?

April 30, 2013 16:35
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Brandon K.

Hey Jason,

Thanks for getting back to me with your workflow, that definitely makes sense. I don't think its possible to get your agents to see the suggestions as they are creating the ticket in a different interface than your end users. We do, however, have a sidebar search app that may empower your agents to more easily find forum articles and related tickets. You can find instructions for installing the app here:

As for your second question, your agents can create tickets on behalf of end users by filling out the requester as someone other than themselves, but it looks like you already have experience with this method. Other than that, you could make an update that looked like it can from your requester by assuming their identity and posting a comment or creating a new ticket. There would, however, be no audit trail to let you know that the agent was the one who actually made this post. Additionally, assuming an identity is only available on the Classic interface for now.

May 02, 2013 15:53
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Product Manager

Hey everyone on this thread, you might want to take a look at this link:

August 07, 2013 11:40
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Kevin Walker

Is this in a different area in Helpdesk for this function?
I don't seem to see -  Settings > Channels > Web Portal > Edit. on my system

September 30, 2013 12:28
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Hi Kevin, 

If you're asking about Help Center: We automatically give you a Search bar and we have not yet rolled out Topic Suggestions there. You can subscribe to our Announcements Forum for updates to Help Center. If you're asking about Web Portal: The wording on the page has changed slightly since these screen shots were taken. In New Zendesk, visit Admin > Channels > Web Portal. Check the 'Show search on home page' and 'Auto-complete search queries' boxes, then check the 'Topic Suggestions' box.

We do have a ticket deflection option when users submit tickets via the "submit a request" link in Help Center - that is automatic and doesn't even need to be turned on, it just shows shows up after users fill in the subject line of the request form. 

September 30, 2013 13:12