In Zendesk Support, new tickets have always begun with a public message --- one that customers can see. We’ve always looked at a ticket as the start of a conversation. Over time, though, many of you have made the request that you’d like to begin a ticket with a private comment; to keep the ticket internal, while still associating it to a person in the requester field.
Beginning the week of February 20th, we’ll allow you to create a new ticket with either a public or private comment. Tickets with no public comments will be called private tickets, and will stay internal, hidden from customers.
Some things are different about private tickets
All in all, private tickets are just tickets. Since private comments have always been kept hidden from end users, a whole ticket full of nothing but private comments is pretty self explanatory. That said, we’ve made a few small changes:
- They don’t show up in a user’s “My Activities” list or in Help Center search
- Comments added to a private ticket default to private unless the agent overrides this
- We show warnings to agents when switching to public, just in case
Many things are just the same
They’re still tickets, though, almost everything you’ve come to expect from tickets is still true. You can still build business rules (triggers, automations, and SLAs) and trust that these will affect your private tickets. You can also add a condition to any rule to exclude them. Private tickets can be assigned, and go through all the normal status changes. Because you can switch to public any time, these are just silent tickets, being worked on like any other, or waiting to begin that conversation.
Creating and using private tickets
Creating a private ticket is a breeze. We’ve added the same selector for public versus private tickets to the new ticket page that you see every time you update a ticket. This is true in our mobile apps as well.
If your account was created before April 8, 2017, you’ll need to enable your agents to create private tickets. The new setting will be found on the Tickets menu, under setting in your Zendesk Support admin menu.
If your account was created after April 8, this setting doesn't appear. Agents can create private tickets by default.
To provide a little bit more certainty that internal tickets aren’t accidentally made public, new comments default to private when you update the ticket. We’ve also added this warning, which agents will see when they start to add a public comment. You can opt out of this warning at any time.
Once you create a public comment, the ticket starts to be visible to the requester. Email notifications will go out as usual. Remember that the subject you choose becomes visible, so don’t put any sensitive information into the subject line!
Some triggers and automations send email. While private comments are never sent out in email notifications, some of these rules may still cause an email to be sent as part of a private ticket. You may want to take some time to prepare your business rules before starting to use this feature. We’re created a guide for this process, which will be available soon.
For more information about enabling and creating private tickets, see Creating a private ticket for an end-user.
Things to do with private tickets
There are many uses for a ticket that's completely internal. For a few ideas, here are some things to try:
- Make records of calls and meetings with your customers. These can be stored as tickets, meaning you get a more accurate picture of your Support team's effort, without bothering your customer.
- Take action on issues that you can't share. Sometimes tasks need to be carried out on behalf of a customer account -- investigations or corrective actions -- that might be sensitive. With a Private Ticket, this can remain internal.
- Prepare for an interaction before communications open up. Because Private tickets can be shared just by adding a public comment, you can use the ticket to gather materials, prepare, or take notes. Until you add a public comment, the ticket helps you get ready. When it goes public, it's just like any other ticket.
- Send someone else a task. Throw together a private ticket, record some steps or actions that need to be taken (maybe use a macro if you're going to do this a lot?), and assign it to someone else, or set it in a queue for the next available person.
All of these things have two things in common. You get to associate it to a customer, meaning the record is there for future reference, and you get the value of reporting, whether that's accurate accounting of what your team is doing, or the amount of work you're doing on behalf of a particular customer or organization.