Adjusting your business rules to handle private tickets Follow

When you allow your agents to create private tickets, you introduce a new and different kind of workflow into your experience of Zendesk. Private tickets are tickets with only private (internal) comments, and just like individual private comments, they aren't visible to your customers until a public comment is added. However, they can still cause email and other notifications to be sent out through triggers and automations. Sometimes you may find this to be useful (i.e., sending a customer satisfaction survey after logging a phone call), but generally you may want to prevent it. With judicious use of conditions, you can do just that. 

This article discusses adjustments you may want to make to your business rules, including:

Related articles:

System rules

There is one default trigger and three default automations you'll want to look at first:

  • Notify requester of received request (trigger)
  • Request customer satisfaction rating (automation)
  • Pending notification 24 hours (automation)
  • Pending notification 5 days (automation)

If your account is newer, you may already see a condition, [Ticket: Privacy] [Ticket has public comments]. This condition identifies whether a ticket is public or private - if the ticket has any public comments it is public; no public comments indicate the ticket is private. If you do not see this condition, you may want to consider adding it to avoid sending any of the above mentioned notifications to your customers. As mentioned, you may want to send satisfaction rating surveys, but the choice is up to you.

To update the above-listed triggers and automations to avoid sending notifications from private tickets to end-users

  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Triggers (or Automations).
  2. Click the default trigger or automation you want to update.
  3. Under Meet all of the following conditions, click the + to add a new condition.
  4. Use the drop-down menus to create a new condition: [Ticket: Privacy] [Ticket has public comments].
  5. Click Submit.

Custom rules

If you've set up rules to send custom notifications to your customers, a little more work will be needed. There are essentially three trigger and automation actions to look out for:

  • Notifications: Email user (only if it's sent to the requester)
  • Notifications: Tweet requester
  • Notifications: Notify target

Take a look at any trigger that sends a notification. If it does, you may want to add the [Ticket: Privacy] [Ticket has public comments] condition. Ultimately, it's up to you, as there may be some occasions where you want to send these. You don't need to worry about emails to Groups or the Assignee. You also only need to worry about targets when they produce some public facing message.

You can update custom rules as described above.

If you are an Enterprise subscriber you can use Business Rule Analysis to track down all the rules that send a notification to the requester. 

Service Level Agreements

You may not want SLAs to apply to private tickets. It also pays to look through these agreements and make some decisions. Note that once you turn on the feature, many of the metrics tracked for SLAs are not applicable to these tickets. Anything that tracks reply time or requester wait times isn't meaningful until a ticket has at least one public comment. If you'd like to completely exclude private tickets from an SLA, just add the condition [Privacy] [Is] [Ticket has public comments]. 


Have more questions? Submit a request


  • 0


    Where can I find [Ticket: Privacy]. I've searched conditions and can't see it. You mention that we can add the condition. How do I do this?

    Also, does this stop all emails being sent to the customer?


    Edited by Mark Burrows
  • 1

    @Mark - You won't see that in your options until the feature reaches your account. We're still rolling it slowly out to make sure we haven't messed anything up. It stops emails on a per-ticket basis. Each trigger has its own set of conditions.

  • 0

    Thanks @Max

    Is there any way to just make the 1st note private? I want to set up a maco to log phone calls but don't want to send the customer an email notification (as we've jsut spoken with them). 

     I had managed this on Monday but using tags in the trigger. For some reason this stopped working yesterday.

    I know it's possible as we did this at my previous workplace. Unfortunately, I wasn't party to setting Zendesk up.


  • 0

    Hey, Mark - That's what this feature is for. It's just not fully released yet. 

  • 0

    Ok, cheers. I'll just be patient. Thanks again. 

  • 0

    How do I now if this feature is already available on my account?

    Is there a specific setting I can check on?  Trying to test the functionality.




  • 0

    Hey Monika, 


    It's under Admin > Tickets..... then check "Allow first comment on tickets to be private"

  • 0

    Thank you Megan,


    I did that.  But when I create a new ticket, it still appears to be public.

    Maybe my expectation is wrong here.

  • 1

    Monika - be sure to click the save button at the bottom! I always forget that  part. Then try refreshing the page and you should be good to go!

  • 1

    Thanks for helping out, Megan!

  • 0


    We have successfully setup this new feature and love it! We have 1 question: 

    • (Trigger 1) Our first public comment should always send out a different message to the end-user (example: "A new ticket has been created with ticket number #12345")

    • (Trigger 2) All next public comments should always send out a different message to the end-user (exmple: "Your ticket #12345 has been updated")


    Trigger 1 has the condition "Ticket is... Created", which worked well and causes the message "A new ticket has been created with ticket number #12345" to be sent.

    Now, when we start a ticket with a private comment and switch it at one point to public - how can we send out Trigger 1 with the message "A new ticket has been created with ticket number #12345"? (At the moment Trigger 2 fires, as it's not a newly Created ticket)

  • 0

    Hey, Wouter -

    I'm afraid that is the case, yes. There's no way to distinguish between those two events right now. Updating is updating regardless of whether it's the first time the end user is seeing the ticket.

  • 0

    To Wouter's point,

    It would be fantastic to have an option in triggers that are "first public comment" and "first private comment" so we can build around the scenario he points out.


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