Channels are the ways that you engage with your customers (how they create support requests and how you communicate with them). You choose and configure the channels you want to support. Regardless of the channel by which new support requests are submitted, all requests become tickets that agents manage in Zendesk Support.
Admins are able to add channels using both the admin settings in Support and the Channels page in the Admin Center.
For help using Zendesk Explore to report on ticket channels, see Understanding ticket channels in Explore.
The Zendesk Support email channel enables customers to send email directly to your support email address (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org). Email you receive for Zendesk Support becomes tickets. Your Zendesk Support account allows for an unlimited number of email addresses within your Zendesk domain. In other words, you can use as many email address variations as you need.
Accepting support requests via external email addresses is also supported. If you already have, or want to support, external email addresses, you can forward email received at those addresses to equivalent addresses in your Zendesk domain.
In addition to receiving support requests at your external email addresses and then forwarding that email to your Zendesk account, you can also configure your email channel to process all outgoing email as if it were coming from your own email domain, rather than your Zendesk account domain. Using your own domain requires a little more set up on your part, and much of it is done outside of Zendesk, maybe requiring help from your domain administrator.
All of your email communication is sent using a template that you can customize. The template is in both HTML and plain text. You can customize the template to match your branding. You can also make some minor modifications to the wording.
You can also set up Zendesk Support business rules to generate automatic email replies at each stage in the workflow, such as updating the ticket, solving the ticket, and so on.
For more information about configuring your email channel, see Getting started with email in Zendesk Support.
Your Help Center, which you create using Zendesk Guide, provides your end users with a complete self-service support solution that includes your knowledge base articles and several options for contacting you for support.
Your Help Center includes a web form that your end users can use to submit a support request. Agents can also create tickets from the comments that are added to the articles and community posts in your Help Center. Replies from agents are added as comments.
Your knowledge base articles can also be used by Zendesk messaging (see Zendesk messaging below) in tandem with Answer Bot to automatically assist end users to locate the answers they need. Zendesk messaging and the Web SDK also embed your support solution into websites and mobile apps.
For information about enabling Guide and setting up your Help Center, see Getting started with Guide.
Zendesk Chat enables customers to initiate live chat with an agent. Chat sessions become tickets that agents can update after the chat session. You can add Zendesk Chat to any website or Help Center.
In addition to responding to end-user chats, you can review a real-time list of visitors, what page they're on, how they got to your website, and other details. Using this information, agents can provide proactive support by reaching out to targeted visitors, like ones with items in their shopping cart but are taking too long to complete their purchase.
Agents can also chat with other agents, either one-on-one or by pulling them into a conversation with a visitor.
Zendesk messaging allows you to communicate with customers via asynchronous messaging across multiple sessions and devices (the web, mobile devices, and social media apps). The full conversation history, across sessions and devices, is retained.
You can also create automatic messaging conversation flows using Flow Builder that guide end users to the answers they seek. Answer Bot suggests relevant articles from your knowledge base to address their issues.
You use the Web SDK as a channel to embed Zendesk messaging and automated conversation flows using Flow Builder and Answer Bot into your websites and your Help Center.
For more information, see Working with messaging in the Web SDK.
When you add a social messaging channel to your admin settings in Support or in Admin Center, messages sent to your company’s social messaging channels become tickets in Support. You can send and receive social messages as part of the main ticket conversation flow.
The following social messaging channels are available in Zendesk:
- WhatsApp: A popular chat and voice messaging app with more than 1.5 billion users in over 180 countries. See Adding WhatsApp channels to the Zendesk Agent Workspace.
- LINE: An all-in-one communications app for text, voice, and video calls, moments, photo sharing, and games. See Adding LINE channels to the Zendesk Agent Workspace.
- Facebook: A popular social networking site that you can use for public messaging with your customers. See Setting up your Facebook channel.
- Facebook Messenger: A popular social messaging application from Facebook that you can use for private messaging with your customers. See Setting up your Facebook channel and Adding Facebook Messenger channels to the Zendesk Agent Workspace.
- Twitter: A popular social networking service that you can use for public messaging with your customers. See Setting up your Twitter channel.
- Twitter DM: A popular Twitter feature that you can use for private messaging with your customers. See Setting up your Twitter channel and Adding Twitter DM channels to the Zendesk Agent Workspace.
You can also add Sunshine Conversations more messaging channels to Zendesk. For example, you can also add Viber, Telegram, and Apple Business Chat. Messages sent to these channels become tickets in the Agent Workspace. When an agent responds, the comment appears as a reply in the user's messaging app. See Adding Sunshine Conversations channels.
The Zendesk Talk channel integrates live telephone (voice) support into your Zendesk account. You select a telephone number for incoming calls and set the call queuing options and recorded greetings. You can also customize call greetings.
Agents make themselves available to receive calls and their conversations with customers are recorded and added to tickets. When agents are unavailable, customers leave voicemail messages that automatically become tickets containing the voicemail recording and a transcription. Agents can answer calls through the web browser or they can forward calls to another number.
For information about setting up your voice channel, see Enabling the Talk channel and configuring general settings. For information about using Talk, see Using Zendesk Talk.
Text enables you to respond to inbound text messages, automate alerts, or send proactive texts to your customers.
Whenever you receive a text, it automatically creates a ticket in Support meaning that you can apply all of the advantages of automated workflows, reporting and history to your text support.
For information about setting up Text, see Getting started with Text.
The Web Widget enables you to embed Zendesk Support options in your website or Help Center so your customers can get help without leaving your website or Help Center. Your customers can get quick access to:
- Search for knowledge base articles
- Live chat with an agent
- Contact form to submit a ticket
The widget appears in the bottom-right corner of your website or Help Center, and your customers click the widget to access support options.
You configure the components you want in the widget, then add the widget code to your website or Help Center. After you add the code, you manage changes from your Zendesk. You must be an administrator to set up and manage Web Widget.
The Mobile SDK enables you to embed Zendesk support options in your native app so your customers can get help directly in your app. Your customers can get quick access to:
- Create tickets using a contact form in your app
- Contact agents for support via live chat
- View and comment on existing tickets in-app, without switching to email
- Browse and search your Help Center knowledge base in-app, without being redirected to a browser
- Rate your app in the app store or send you direct feedback
After the SDK is integrated in your app, changes are managed from your Zendesk and automatically reflected in the SDK. Adding the SDK to your app is done outside of Zendesk by your developers using a code snippet generated in Zendesk.
If you're a developer, you can access Zendesk Support functionality through the Zendesk API. For example, you can create a new ticket using the API instead.
The Channel > API page in Zendesk Support lets you configure how API requests are authenticated as well as track API activity against your rate limit. For more information, see Using the API dashboard.
As well as the channels that are built into Zendesk products, you can also add apps that offer additional channels by connecting to many popular platforms on the web. These apps let your agents respond to messages, reviews and comments just like they do with any other ticket.
Remember, you can also use the Channel framework to create your own channels.
To browse the available channel integrations, see the Channels section in the Zendesk Marketplace.