Core concepts for Getting Started with Zendesk Follow

Important: Be sure to also check out our Getting Started guide.

By Katherine Johnson

Zendesk offers a centralized solution that organizes and tracks all incoming customer support requests from any channel. Use automations to increase support efficiencies, forums to enable your customers to help themselves, integrations with business-critical apps to extend functionality, and reports to track customer satisfaction. It’s simple and easy. You can be up and running in one day.

Navigation: Getting around inside your Zendesk

The following table gives an overview of the main areas in Zendesk. For more information see Introduction to the Zendesk agent interface .
Dashboard Summary information page. View summary information and vital statistics.
Getting Started Task list for configuring your Zendesk. Follow a step-by-step checklist of items to configure to get your Zendesk up and running.
Views Ticket groupings. Views define a collection of tickets based on a set of criteria. You create and use views to group tickets into one area, such as "My open tickets" or "Recently solved tickets." For more information, see Using views to manage ticket workflow in the Zendesk Agent Guide.
Help Center Help Center. Enable and customize the Help Center. Add and manage content in your knowledge base and community.
Admin Manage and settings pages. Browse and install apps or manage user profiles, views, ticket fields, macros, tags, business rules, account security settings and more.
Reporting Analytics of your support performance. Use pre-built reports or create custom Insights reports (Professional and Enterprise) for your business. Measure your customers’ satisfaction and the performance of your support team.

Roles: Who uses Zendesk

Everyone at your company plays a role in supporting your customers. Depending on their assigned role, what they can see and what they can do in your Zendesk changes. For more, see Understanding Zendesk user roles in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

RoleQuick definitionDescription
Owner Person who created your Zendesk

The account owner is a type of administrator. The account name is associated with this person's name, usually the person who created the account. There can only be one account owner; however, account ownership can be reassigned by the account owner to another administrator if needed. The account owner has access to areas of your Zendesk that other administrators do not, such as invoicing, payment options, and benchmarking for the account.

Administrator Person in charge of your Zendesk

Administrators are agents with additional privileges to manage and customize your Zendesk. Administrators can be assigned tickets, like agents, but can do many more things, such as edit business rules, change settings, assume another user's identity, and more. There can be multiple administrators.

Agent Your support personnel

Agents are the customer support individuals on your staff. They are assigned tickets and interact with customers as needed to resolve support issues.

End-user Your customer

End-user refers to people who generate support requests from any of the available support channels (for example, via your Help Center, email, Twitter, or Voice). End-users can submit and track tickets and communicate with agents publicly (meaning their comments can never be private).

Ticket: Record of the support request conversation

Zendesk manages support requests by creating a ticket. for each request A ticket is simply a record of all conversations, from any channel; it keeps everything in one place and keeps your whole team in the loop. By creating a series of recorded events tied to one ticket, agents and end-users can stay on the same page. This also creates a level of accountability that can ensure a problem is solved quickly.

ItemQuick definitionDescription
Ticket Support request with question or issue from customer Support requests received from any of your channels (see Channels: Ways to engage with customers ) become tickets. Each ticket is assigned to an agent to solve, and all activity related to solving the support request is captured as comments within the ticket.
Ticket fields Containers for information about the ticket Ticket data is included in fields such as Subject, Email, Description, Status, Type, Priority, Group, Assignee, Tags, and any other custom fields you create. See About ticket fields in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.
Custom ticket fields Containers for specific information about your tickets You can add custom fields to tickets that are visible to agents only or to both agents and end-users. Custom fields are typically used to gather more information about the support issue or product or service. See Adding custom ticket fields in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.
Status Current ticket situation Each ticket is assigned a status. There are five values for status: New, Open, Pending, Solved, Closed. See About ticket fields in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.
Type Support request category Each ticket is assigned a type. There are four values for type: Question, Incident, Problem, Task. The ticket type is used throughout your Zendesk to generate views and it's also used as a condition in automations, macros, and triggers.
Priority Urgency of the ticket Each ticket is assigned a priority. There are four values for priority: Low, Normal, High, and Urgent. See About ticket fields in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.
Tag Word(s) associated with the ticket or article to categorize it To help you categorize, act on, or search for tickets and forum articles, you can add tags. Once added, you can create views by tags, search for tags and the tickets in which they are included, and use tags in your triggers, automations, and macros. See Using tags in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.
Requester Person who made the support request

Requester refers to the person who opened the ticket and made the support request.

Channels: Ways to engage with customers

Channels are the pathways in which you can engage with your customers and receive support requests.

Channels include:
  • Email
  • Your Help Center
  • Twitter
  • Chat
  • Voice
  • Web widget
  • Zendesk API

For information about these channels, see the About Zendesk channels in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Features: A quick intro to some features

The following table introduces some of the key channels and workflow features in your Zendesk.

FeatureQuick definitionDescription
Trigger Automatic event that occurs as the result of another event

Triggers automatically modify tickets and send email notifications. For example, using triggers, you can automatically assign a ticket to a specific support agent based on the email address it was sent to or based on keywords in the request. See Streamlining workflow with ticket updates and triggers in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Macro Prepared response you can use again and again

A macro is a prepared response or action that agents can use to quickly respond to support requests that can be answered with a standard response or to modify a ticket. Macros contain actions, which can be updates to ticket properties. See Using macros to update and add comments to tickets in the Zendesk Agent Guide.

Web widget Quick link to submit a request, search knowledge base articles, or initiate a chat

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. See Using Web Widget to embed customer service in your website.

Chat Live chat between your customers and your agents

Zopim Chat offers expanded chat capabilities, like multiple conversations and inter-agent chat, while integrating with your existing Zendesk ticketing workflow. See Setting up Zopim Chat in Zendesk.

Customer satisfaction rating Feedback from your customers on how your support team is performing

Your customers can provide feedback about their support experience by rating their solved tickets. See Using customer satisfaction rating in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Voice Telephone support with Zendesk

The Voice channel integrates live telephone support into your Zendesk. Agents can receive calls, and their conversations with end-users are recorded and added to tickets. When agents are unavailable, end-users leave voicemail messages that automatically become tickets containing the voicemail recording and a transcription. See Getting started with Zendesk Voice in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Help Center: The customer-facing support site in your Zendesk

Your Help Center is the external-facing view of your Zendesk. It is available to end-users to submit tickets, track their support requests, and access your content. It consists of a knowledge base and a community platform.

  • The community is where users ask questions, provide answers, or share ideas.
  • The knowledge base is where users look for the official content provided by your company or organization.

You can customize your Help Center to make it an integrated part of your company website.
  • Domain mapping or host mapping is using your URL (such as

    Host mapping (also referred to as domain mapping) enables you to replace your default Zendesk domain URL with a different URL. For example, rather than using, you might want to remove “Zendesk” from the URL and make it look like it is a part of your website, For example, you can use: You need to configure this with your domain provider. See Changing the address of your support website on Zendesk (host mapping) in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript customization is code to modify look of your external-facing Zendesk.

    To more closely match the look of your company's website, you can modify the elements and styles in your Help Center. See Customizing the Help Center .

Email options

The following table provides an overview of some ways you can customize your email. For a complete introduction, see Getting started with email in Zendesk in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

EmailQuick definitionDescription
Personalized email replies Your reply-to email name

The email address used in replies to end-users can be configured to show the agent's name as the friendly name rather than your Zendesk account name. For example, "Claire Grenier < >" instead of "MondoCam Support Center < >". See Enabling personalized email replies in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Email forwarding Send email from your company support email address to your Zendesk

When you set up your Zendesk account, a default email address is created that end-users can use to submit support requests. You might prefer to use your own email address rather than the Zendesk-provided address. You can use email forwarding to accept email at your own address (for example, and then forward it to your Zendesk address ( See Forwarding email from other email providers in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

External email domain Change email address “From” field

You can change your email address to an email domain other than, making it appear that it originated from your own email address ( ). See Using an external email domain in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Email pass-through Identical reply-from email addresses

When forwarding email from external email addresses or using an external email domain for outgoing email, the Reply-From address (the address that end-users see in email responses to their support requests) can be configured to use the same email address that was used to submit the request. See Setting up email pass through in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

Reports: Summaries and graphs of how your support team is performing

Zendesk includes pre-built reports that include analytics and insights on metrics such as new tickets, solved tickets, agent first response and resolution times, customer satisfaction, and more. See Using the Reporting dashboard in the Zendesk Administrator Guide.

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