Forums/Documentation/Tickets and channels

Setting up your Chat channel

Anton de Young
posted this on May 07, 2012 16:18

The Chat channel allows your agents to interact with customers in real-time using text chat. A chat session becomes a ticket and all of the text within the chat is added as a comment to the ticket. Your customers can initiate a chat session from your Feedback Tab or, if you allow it, from the ticket details page in the Web portal.

The details of how agents use chat is described in Providing live chat support with Zendesk Chat in the Zendesk Agent Guide. This topic describes how administrators set up the Chat channel.

Chat is available to the Regular, Plus, and Enterprise plans.

Configuring Chat channel settings

Enabling Chat for your account means that agents with the proper permissions can be made available to respond to chat requests (see Which agents can chat with end-users? below).

To configure your Chat channel

  • Click the Manage icon () in the sidebar, then select Channels > Chat.
    Zendesk Classic: Select Settings > Channels > Chat > Edit.

The following table describes the Chat channel configuration settings.

Chat settingDescription
Enable Chat? Enabling Chat makes it possible for agents who have the proper access permission to make themselves available and accept chat requests.

As described in Providing live chat support with Zendesk Chat in the Zendesk Agent Guide, this adds the Chat option to the Zendesk agent interface.

You can think of this setting as enabling the back-end Chat support in your account. Since end-users are the ones who initiate chat sessions, you also need to either add Chat to a Feedback Tab (described below) or allow end-users to chat with agents from a ticket they are viewing in the Web portal, which is the next setting on this page.

Chat about my ticket? This setting allows end-users to initiate a chat session from an existing ticket that they are viewing in the Web portal (any ticket in Check your existing requests). When enabled and if at least one agent has made themselves available to chat, the end-user sees this link in the ticket:

Clicking the link starts a new chat session and all text entered during the chat is added to a new comment in the ticket.

Note: This option is not available in Help Center. If you're not sure you have Help Center or the Web portal, see About the different versions of Zendesk.

Maximum chat requests per agent You can select 1 through 9 and unlimited. When an agent reaches the maximum chat requests limit, the agent is automatically made unavailable for further chat requests until the number of open chats decreases.
Welcome message This is message that is displayed to end-users when a chat is initiated. The default text is "Hi there. How can I help today?". Change this to any greeting that you'd like.

Configure your Chat channel as needed and then click Save.

Adding Chat to a Feedback Tab

Your Feedback Tabs can prompt users to search your knowledge base, submit a support request, or chat with an available agent in real-time. There's just one setting that you need to enable in a Feedback Tab to include Chat.

The Feedback Tab settings are described in Setting up your Feedback Tab channel.

Which agents can chat with end-users?

When you enable Chat, your agents are able to chat with end-users. However, all agents, administrators, and the account owner must belong to a group to use Chat. Belonging to a group is a requirement to be assigned to tickets; Chat has the same requirement.

In the Enterprise version of Zendesk, you can also modify the predefined custom agent roles (Advisor, Staff, and Team Leader) to either allow or disallow those roles to answer chat requests.

You can also create your own custom agent roles and define your staff's access to Chat based on your own needs and workflow. For more information, see Custom agent roles.

Note: Enterprise version Light Agents cannot use Chat.
 

Comments

User photo
community engine

We have a closed support system where we allow our customers to view our forums, or initiate a ticket via the web portal or our feedback tab. We dont allow our customers to log into our Zendesk portal. Is it possible to still add chat functionality if all our customers want to do is quickly ask us a question about something with our set up?

June 27, 2012 17:31
User photo
Anna Kreindler
plus500

Is it possible that customers will see "You are number# XXXX in line for chat" when agents are available but are currently all booked up with previous chat conversations? As far as I understand the current message only states "no agents are available for chat" and it gives customers no indication on when or if they will be available shortly.

 

Thank you

 

Anna

July 02, 2012 04:55
User photo
Liz Krause

Please tell me there is a way that the chat window notifies an agent that someone is initiating chat?   Does it flash, pop up in focus or does it stay in the tray out of sight?  

 

Thanks,

Liz

August 08, 2012 12:53
User photo
Don Taylor
cacfpsupport

1. We have a Regular plan.  It makes me nervous to make our chat agents administrators, as you state they need to be.  Did I understand this correctly?

2. How can I add a chat button or tab to our Zendesk portal itself?

 

March 04, 2013 12:37
User photo
Anton de Young
Zendesk

Don, 

Sorry, a bizarre cut and past error in the docs. Agents don't need to be admins to use chat. I updated the doc. You can add the Feedback Tab (with Chat if you enable Chat) to your Zendesk web portal. That's all described in this topic: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20990726-Setting-up-your-Feedba...

March 04, 2013 13:41
User photo
Don Taylor
cacfpsupport

Thanks Anton.  I had already tried the global javascript widget approach, but I didn't know about the need to insert the </script> tag in front of it.  If that's a global requirement for this feature to work regardless of the javascript content, could you automatically insert that tag at the beginning of the script text box to save others the same issue? 

March 04, 2013 14:02
User photo
Collin Vine
zirtualinc

I have the same question as Community Engine did above. Was there documentation on that, or was that question ever answered?

Thanks.

November 25, 2013 14:53
User photo
Laura D.
Zendesk

Hi Collin, 

Community Engine may have gotten their question answered through a call - good question though! You can have chat set up in the feedback tab or the "chat about this ticket" option even if you don't provide a direct way for customers to login to your site (they'll just have to provide an email in the feedback tab). If you don't have the "anyone can submit tickets" option enabled in Settings > Customers, then you won't be able to add the option to the feedback tab, only to tickets. 

 

Just in case anyone else is wondering...

Anna's question - We don't currently have this functionality. That said, there are improvements on the roadmap for chat, so hopefully we'll have something like this down the road. 

Liz's question - There is a pop up in the agent interface when a new chat comes in and a sound. The pop up is near the top on the right and will show over the content in the corner of the window. 

November 25, 2013 16:27
User photo
Steve
homevisit
  1. If none of our agents are logged in, will the chat window tell them that nobody is available or does it operate on office hours no matter what?
  2. Is it possible to pass a chat to another agent?
  3. Can others view a chat like an administrator or have 2 agents on 1 chat?
  4. When a chat is submitted by a customer do all agents chat windows say incoming chat?
  5. How long will an initiating chat last before it tells a customer that no one is available and will it then default to submitting a ticket?
  6. Does the chat function recognize if an agent has not been at their desk for "X" amount of time and make them unavailable until they move their mouse like a wake up?
December 10, 2013 12:41
User photo
Emily
Zendesk

Hi Steve, 

Here we go:

1. If no agents are set to "online" in chat, the end-user's chat request will be turned into a ticket.

2. Zendesk chat doesn't currently offer the ability to transfer chats, but our integration with Live Chat would offer this capability.

3. While it's not currently possible to have multiple agents in the same chat, this feature request indicates it's planned!

4. When a customer makes a chat request, the request is sent to all available agents. Any agent can accept or ignore the request. The first agent to accept the request begins the chat and the request disappears for the other agents. 

5. Chat requests time out if they are not accepted within one minute.

6. Agents are responsible for signing themselves in and out of chat, though closing out the browser will set them to "offline" and disconnect the chat.

December 11, 2013 13:36
User photo
Steve
homevisit

I am testing a ticket and created one from my personal account. I am logged in as an agent from my account. I do not see the option to chat about the ticket I created. The feature is enabled as you can see from the screen grabs that the option is enabled but not showing anywhere.

January 10, 2014 21:17
User photo
Emily
Zendesk

Hi Steve, 

The in-ticket chat link referenced above was a Web Portal feature. Since you're using Help Center, your end-users can initiate a chat one of two ways: Via the feedback tab or via a tab that appears below a ticket asking "Need help? Chat with us." An agent won't see this "Need help? Chat with us" tab since the agent is offering help, not receiving it.

I'd recommend creating a fake end-user profile so you can see the end-user's Help Center experience for yourself. In the mean time, I will also look into getting this documentation updated so everyone knows what to expect.

January 12, 2014 19:01
User photo
Steve
homevisit

Hi Emily, maybe what wrote was confusing or maybe I am confused. The request and support ticket image was as an end-user account I created. What I am talking about is I do not see the feature as mentioned above:

This setting allows end-users to initiate a chat session from an existing ticket that they are viewing in the Web portal (any ticket in Check your existing requests). When enabled and if at least one agent has made themselves available to chat, the end-user sees this link in the ticket:

Clicking the link starts a new chat session and all text entered during the chat is added to a new comment in the ticket.

I am not seeing this option to chat about an existing ticket where the chat becomes a comment in the ticket. I can chat with an agent but that just creates a new ticket. From what you are saying, to be clear, is that this feature is not available in the help Center?

January 13, 2014 06:34
User photo
Laura D.
Zendesk

Hi Steve, 

Sorry for the confusion - we missed updating this article to reflect the differences about chat in Help Center. 

You understand correctly, the "chat about this ticket" option is not available in Help Center. I'll see if I can find out if it's something we'll add down the road, it may take a little time to get an answer but I'll update you once I hear back. 

January 13, 2014 10:23
User photo
Steve
homevisit

Thank you Laura

January 13, 2014 10:37
User photo
Neil Weldon
Zendesk

Hi all, 

The Chat Macro beta will be available in a few days. If you are interested in taking part please sign up for it here 

https://zendesk.wufoo.com/forms/sign-up-for-the-chat-macros-beta/

Regards, 

Neil 

January 22, 2014 02:46
User photo
Sylvie Liberman

Is it possible to have the chat feedback tab visible on the page during specific hours only? We don't want to advertise chat, if not agents are available to live chat at specific times of the day.

Thanks, Sylvie

January 23, 2014 13:55
User photo
Laura D.
Zendesk

Hi Sylvie, 

On our new version of the forums, Help Center, the chat tab (separate from the Feedback tab) will only show up when agents are set to 'available' for chat - as long as agents don't forget to sign out at the end of the day that would work as you describe.

The Feedback tab won't do this - it's either present or not. If you set it up to allow chats and no agents are available to chat it will show a message to users that no agents are available so at least there's up front communication. Part of the reason the Feedback tab will still be available when chat isn't is that there are other options that can be configured - searching, submitting tickets etc. 

Hope this helps, please let us know if you have more quesitons!

January 23, 2014 16:26
User photo
Marco Donauer

Hi,

the chat already worked for me. It was possible for our customer to open a chat about their ticket when I opened a chat window.

I did a test today and when logging in as my test user I can not find the chat button anymore. My settings seem to be okay. Has there changed anything or do I miss something?

 

Thanks

 

Regards,
Marco

January 29, 2014 02:31
User photo
Neil Weldon
Zendesk

Hi Marco, 

You mention the test user account - but do you have an agent available to take a chat at the time of testing ? For you to start a Chat there needs to be an agent available to chat with the customer. 

 

January 29, 2014 04:17
User photo
Marco Donauer

Hi Neil,

 

yes I did so. I'm running 2 different pc's. On one logged in as an agent, the other pc's is logged in as my test user.The test user created a ticket, the agent assigned this ticket and opened a chat window.
In my last test I saw, as test user, a button somewhere, to open a chat for this ticket, but this is gone and I can not find it anymore. I already wondering why our customer do not use the chat, now I know it.

Did something change here? How can I check if my settings are right. Ah I'm still using the old zendesk, I did not switch to the new one.

 

Regards,
Marco

January 29, 2014 05:23
User photo
Neil Weldon
Zendesk

Hi Marco, 

Are you only using chat about my ticket - where chat option should be available to the logged in user looking at the ticket ? How may chats can an agent have at a time - have they reached this when looking to chat as they will be shown as unavailable in this case.  Suggest you open a ticket with support@zendesk.com so we can better track and resolve your issue. 

January 29, 2014 05:39
User photo
Marco Donauer

Hi Neil,

okay I will open a request.

I set the the concurrent chats to unlimited for testing. Did not help.

 

Marco

January 29, 2014 06:02
User photo
Brett Bowman
lucidchart

Is it possible to use mark down in chat? Many of my macros use mark down, but they don't seem to work in chat. How can we use links in chat?

March 14, 2014 09:56
User photo
Brian Green
Zendesk

Hi Brett, 

Unfortunately at this time Markdown is not supported in chat so your formatting will look like raw markup in chat. If you would like to use a link in a chat just add the link but it cannot be formatted. If you would like to use macros with markdown you may want to bring the user into a ticket to give more detailed responses. 

March 14, 2014 12:02
User photo
Claire Santos
MADE.com

Is it possible to link Chat to our website without the feedback tab and not through the help centre?

March 24, 2014 10:33
User photo
Emily
Zendesk

Hi Claire, 

Zendesk Chat can only be initiated via the Feedback tab or the End-user ticket interface. However, we offer a variety of additional chat integrations that may interest you.

March 26, 2014 15:24