Setting up to provide email-only support

Many Zendesk accounts prefer not requiring their end-users to sign in to Zendesk. Removing the sign-in requirement means end-users can't view or track their requests on the Help Center or Web portal. These tasks require users to sign in. Instead, all communication between agents and end-users occurs using channels such as email, voice, or chat.

End-users can still request support without signing in by using any the following channels:
  • Sending email directly to your support email address (for example, support@mycompany.zendesk.com)
  • Submitting a support request using the Zendesk Feedback Tab
  • Chatting with an agent
  • Leaving a voicemail
  • Sending a request using Twitter

Regardless of the channel by which new requests are submitted, requests become tickets that agents manage using views, creating and applying macros, generating reports, and so on. All communication between agents and end-users is captured on those tickets and emails are sent back and forth between both parties.

Setting up your Zendesk to provide support without requiring end-users to sign in involves making the following changes:

End-users can still access your knowledge base on Zendesk to search for answers. The following strategies can help you promote this self-service support option:
  • Providing your end-users with the link to your knowledge base (for example, http://mycompany.zendesk.com/hc)
  • Using the Zendesk Feedback Tab with knowledge-base search enabled

The advantage of using the Zendesk Feedback Tab is that your end-users get a simple request form coupled with a search of your knowledge base and, optionally, live chat with your support agents. For more information, see Setting up your Feedback Tab channel.

Allowing anyone to submit tickets

To allow requests without requiring end-users to sign in to Zendesk, you need to modify your end-user settings. Only administrators can make the following changes to the end-user settings.

To modify account settings to provide email-only support
  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Customers.
    Zendesk Classic: Select the Settings menu, then select End-users.
  2. In the Anyone can submit tickets section, check the Enabled option.
  3. Next, uncheck the option called Ask users to register.
    Note: If you started using Zendesk after August 20, 2013, this option is not visible if you haven't activated the Help Center yet. See Getting started with the Help Center.
  4. Finally, in the User welcome email section, uncheck the Also send verification email when a new user is created by an agent or administrator option.
  5. Click Save Changes.

When an unregistered end-user submits a request for the first time, they are added to your Zendesk as a new end-user. They receive the request confirmation email but not the verification request email. They remain unverified in your Zendesk.

Note: You might be wondering about the Allow users to view and edit their basic profile data and Allow users to change their password options. You can leave these enabled since your email-only end-users will never be able to sign in to do either of these things. Both are still relevant to your administrators and agents.

Allowing ticket attachments

You'll probably want to also allow your end-users to add attachments to their email requests. If you don't currently have this enabled, you can do so by updating the Tickets settings page. Attachments can be either public or private. However, adding private attachments requires end-users to sign in to your Zendesk. So, the only option you have for attachments when providing email-only support is to allow public attachments.

Note: Private attachments are available only if you use the Web portal. They're not available if you have the Help Center. If you're not sure which one you have, see About the different versions of Zendesk.

To allow public attachments in incoming email support requests

  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Settings > Tickets.
    Zendesk Classic: Select the Settings menu, then select Tickets.
  2. In the Attachments section, click the Customers can attach files setting.
  3. Click Save tab.

Removing links to ticket pages from your email notifications

You must sign in to view ticket pages in the Help Center or Web portal. Because you don't want to require end-users to sign in, remove any links to ticket pages from any email notifications sent to end-users. Some of your default triggers create notifications with ticket links. If you signed up to Zendesk before July 12, 2012, the legacy email template also contains a ticket link.

Removing ticket links from your notifications

Remove any links to ticket pages from the default Zendesk triggers that send email notifications to requesters. Here are the Zendesk triggers that need to modified:
  • Notify requester of received request
  • Notify requester of comment update
  • Notify requester of solved request

You'll also need to modify any similar notification triggers (if any) that you created in your Zendesk. Only administrators can edit the triggers.

If you've enabled CCs (Admin icon () > Settings > Tickets > Enable CCs on tickets), you should also modify your CC notification email.

To remove ticket links from email notification triggers
  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Business Rules > Triggers.
    Zendesk Classic: Select the Manage menu, then select Triggers and mail notifications.
  2. Edit the Notify requester of received request trigger by selecting Edit.
  3. Remove the {{ticket.id}} and {{ticket.url}} placeholders from the text in the email body. For example, here are before and after versions of the email text in the Notify requester of received request trigger.

    Before:

    Your request (#{{ticket.id}}) has been received, and is being reviewed by our support staff. 
    
    To review the status of the request and add additional comments, follow the link below:
    http://{{ticket.url}}
    
    {{ticket.comments_formatted}}

    After:

    Your request (#{{ticket.title}}) has been received, and is being reviewed by our support staff. 
    
    We'll contact you as soon as we have an answer for you. 
    
    {{ticket.comments_formatted}}
  4. Click Update Trigger.
  5. Repeat for the Notify requester of comment update and Notify requester of solved request triggers.
To remove ticket links from CC notifications
  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Settings > Tickets.
  2. In the CCs section, edit the CC email text field.
  3. Remove the {{ticket.id}} placeholder from the text in the email body, as shown here:

    Before:

    You are registered as a CC on this support request ({{ticket.id}}). Reply to this email to add a comment to the request.
    
    {{ticket.comments_formatted}}

    After:

    You are registered as a CC on this support request ({{ticket.title}}). Reply to this email to add a comment to the request.
    
    {{ticket.comments_formatted}}
  4. Click Save tab.
Note: The {{ticket.title}} placeholder does not contain a URL back to your Zendesk; it's just the text of the request title.

Removing the ticket link from the legacy email template

If you signed up to Zendesk before July 12th, 2012, your default template contains a header element that has a link back to a ticket in your Zendesk, so you'll want to remove it. Here's what the header looks like to the end-user:

Note: If you signed up to Zendesk on or after July 12, 2012, you can skip this section. You have a different HTML template than doesn't have a link to the ticket in Zendesk.

Only administrators can make changes to the email template.

To remove the header from the email HTML template
  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Channels > Email.
    Zendesk Classic: Select the Settings menu, then select Channels > Email > Edit.
  2. In the HTML email template section, locate and remove the line of HTML code that displays the header (shown in bold below).
    <html><body>
    <div style="margin:0px auto;text-align:center;font-size:12px;color:#A2A2A2;padding-bottom:6px">
      {{delimiter}}
    </div>
    <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="100%">
    <tr>
      <td>
        <table width="100%">
          <tr>
            <td style="font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; color: #fff; line-height: 1.5em;font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; width: 100%;text-align: center;background: #98c332; padding:8px; margin:4px">
              <style>.zd_link {color:#FFF;}</style>{{header}}
            </td>
          </tr>
        </table>
      </td>
    </tr>
    ...
    
  3. Click Save Changes.

You can undo this change (should you need to in the future) by clicking Revert to default.

Removing sign-in links from your knowledge base

Hide any elements in the knowledge base that link to the Zendesk sign-in page. The steps differ depending on whether you have the Help Center or the Web portal. If you're not sure which one you have, see About the different versions of Zendesk.

Note: Your agents, like your end-users, will no longer see a sign-in link for your Zendesk. To access the login page, your agents need to use the following URL: mycompany.zendesk.com/access. This is the login page.

Removing sign-in links from the Help Center

In the Help Center, removing elements that link to the sign-in page involves deleting or hiding template components. You must be signed in as a Help Center manager to edit template components.

Removing the ability to sign-in means that every visitor to the Help Center is treated as an anonymous user with limited privileges. Anonymous users can view the public areas of the Help Center and share links to content. They can't comment on articles or participate in the community. For more information, see Understanding Help Center user roles.

Because anonymous users can't participate in the community, consider disabling your community. For instructions, see Disabling the community.

To remove the links to the sign-in page

  1. Click Customization design in the tools panel on the lower-right side of the page.

    The Help Center switches to Preview mode.

  2. Click Edit Theme to open the Theme editor.
  3. Select the Header template from the HTML menu in the Theme editor.

  4. Delete the following component in the code:
    {{user_info}}

    The component displays a sign-in button on the right side of the header.

    Tip: If deleting code makes you nervous, use the comment tag to hide the component, like so:

    <!-- {{user_info}} -->
  5. Select the Article template and delete or comment out the following elements:
    • {{vote}}
    • the entire <section class="article-comments"> section and the comment components it contains

    The vote component and the article-comments section prompt users to sign in.

  6. Click Save at the top of the sidebar to save your changes.
  7. Cick Publish changes at the top of the sidebar.

Removing sign-in links from the Web portal

In the Web portal, you add a CSS widget to your Zendesk to hide links to the login page. Widgets can only be added by an administrator.

To add the CSS widget
  1. Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Settings > Extensions.
    Zendesk Classic: Select the Settings menu, then select Extensions.
  2. Select the Widget tab and then click Add widget.
  3. Select the Global CSS widget.
  4. Enter a widget title, for example: Hide end-user access links.
  5. Set the widget's availability to People who are not agents.
  6. Insert the following CSS code into the Content text box:
    li.main.clazz.tab_new, li.main.clazz.tab_requests, #top-right, #voting_control, #footer, #comments_section {display: none;}
    
    body.entries.entries-show .content.content_green {display:none;}
    
    .login .footnotes {display:none;}
  7. Click Submit.

The CSS widget removes all the elements of the user interface that provide access for end-users to log in to your Zendesk.

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    Denise Twum

    Very helpful information. Thank you.

  • Avatar
    Mark Nickson

    Hi

    How do I make the dropbox show both Live Chat and Submit a Question options after first being invoked by a customer?  Am I able to preview this before it goes live?

    Thanks

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Mark I'm not quite sure what your first question is. If you both enable chat and setup a dropbox, both options will be shown when users click the dropbox tab. If you're adding the dropbox to your Zendesk you can preview it before it goes live to everyone by setting the Dropbox Javascript widget to 'People who have logged in and is an agent' and then change it when it's ready to go live. 

  • Avatar
    Mark Nickson

    Thanks Anton.  I think my issue was in the fact that the 'preview' doesn't allow you to see the Live Chat as one of the options.  I'll just implement the code in order to see it working.

     

  • Avatar
    Mark Nickson

    Hi Anton....my mistake! I figured out that I hadn't switched the "End-users can chat with Agents?" option on in the drop box settings....not sure how I missed that :)

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Excellent. I'm working on an article that explains in detail how to set up a dropbox. Glad you figured it out. 

  • Avatar
    Connie Chen

    I'm using the two widgets suggested but then if I try to revert to another user's profile the links in the top-right corner disappear and I can't "revert identity"

  • Avatar
    Simon Stjohn

    It would really help if there were a link to or instructions on how to actually set up the drop box - where is the link to access this feature? I tried searchign help and forums and found nothing!

  • Avatar
    Jeffrey Davidson

    I've just set up this solution, but noticed that leaving "Satisfaction Ratings" turned on provides a link right to our Zendesk site. Is there any way that we can capture this data without sending them to the site? I'd still love to know if they hit the "Good" or "Bad" link.

  • Avatar
    Joshua Vienneau

    We've also setup this solution, but I have noticed that when a user goes to submit a ticket through the site, there is still a line at the top of the ticket with the text: "If you are a registered user, please login first to submit a request." where the "login" text is a link to the login page.

    Any recommendations for a way to hide this text?

    Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Jeffrey Davidson

    Hey Joshua, I've not done this myself, but I'd imagine if you add the custom CSS widget, you should be able to hide the div that that text is showing up in.

  • Avatar
    Skip Moore

    @Connie you can always goto http://your.domain.com/users/revert to go back to your agent account. 

    @Jeffery The satisfaction links will always send them to the web site. We are writing a post on how to hide everything on the page so they only get the ratings part and can not log in. 

    @Joshua, There is no easy way to hide that box if you are running a open helpdesk. You can use Javascript to hide the text for example 

    //check to see if you are on the end users request page

    if (window.location.href.indexOf('access') >= 0) {

    jQuery('h2:contains(New to)').hide();

    }

  • Avatar
    Alexander

    Hi Anton,

    I've followed the instructions and it seems to be working except on the help forum. When one pressed to "add a comment" it still prompts them to log in. Is there any way for them to leave comments just with their e-mail address? 

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Alexander, 

    Only registered users can add comments. I updated (and simplified) the code in 'Hiding end-user access links in the Web portal' above so that ALL the login prompts are hidden. 

  • Avatar
    ADIL Younes

    How i can change the color of the link back to the help desk in the header element ?

    Thx

  • Avatar
    Lorraine Joubert

    Hi

    I have a user that has been created on our SSO and as an admin I can see the user on the Manage -> People page.  However, when the user sends an e-mail from their e-mail account, this does not generate a new Zendesk ticket.  How can I rectify this?

    Thanks,

    Lorraine

  • Avatar
    Shane Davey

    Thanks for this, it has been very useful in our transition to Zendesk.

    We would have liked to be able to include the Ticket ID in the body of emails without it being a link however there isn't currently a placeholder for this - I've raised a feature request for this to be considered for the future (https://support.zendesk.com/entries/21445633-add-text-only-non-link-ticket-id-placeholder).

    Cheers,

    Shane

  • Avatar
    Joy Carletti

    Hi Shane,
    The {{ticket.id}} placeholder only converts to a link when preceded by a # sign. If you remove that or put a space between the # and the placeholder, no link will be made.

  • Avatar
    Shane Davey

    Thanks Joy - that's great to know and will help us keep a consistent look and feel from our previous process (until we publish portal access).

    Cheers,

    Shane

  • Avatar
    Nick Parker

    Is there anyway to have the requester mark the ticket as solved via a link in the email?

    We encourage our users to mark tickets as solved if the problem has been solved or is no longer a problem to save us investigating non-issues - it would be nice if we could put something at the bottom of the email that enabled them to mark the request as solved without having to visit the web page.

    Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Nick, 

    We have a feature ( the mail API) that allows agents to do what you're asking, but it's not available for end-users. You might want make a feature request here

  • Avatar
    Nick Parker

    Thanks very much Anton, I will do so :)

  • Avatar
    Marci

    Anton,

    I implemented the CSS above, and one line of it suppressed *all* the comments in the forum.

     

    body.entries.entries-show .content.content_green {display:none;}

     

    I'd like a way to JUST hide the "add a comment" link for non-logged in users. I have been trying to figure it out, but I'm not there yet. Any ideas?

  • Avatar
    Marci

    Actually, you know what I'd *really* like? A javascript method to hide this link, and replace it with something else!

    We use SSO, so this link always sends the user back to our main (parent website) login page. But I want some users to just log in via the main Zendesk sign on, /access/normal.  So if this could be javascripted to offer two links....one for "members" to log in and one for "others" (they know who they are) that would be super helpful.....!

  • Avatar
    Kate

    Hi there,

    We're an ecommerce store so we don't have a lot of need for a knowledge base perse and I really don't want to use one that takes our shoppers out the store (we'd need to integrate our header etc. into the help desk and its more than we can deal with at the moment). So.. we're only going to use ZD for tickets etc. Reading this, I don't see how we eliminate the forums altogether for now. I take it we can't and should just ignore them? 

  • Avatar
    Marci

    As I recall, you can sort of "disable" the forums in the Web Portal section (settings >> channels >> web portal) by unchecking most of the boxes -- and then if you don't create any forums it won't show up. There is also a javascript method to hide links in the menu bar. A search of the other support forums here should turn that up. Hopefully that will get you started....

  • Avatar
    Kate

    Yes, all done. Its sort of funky though - be nice to just plain shut it off with a click and voila.. no web presence period but there is likely very good reason. Thank you for taking the time to comment =) 

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Marci, 

    Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. Try this CSS code instead: 

    .commenting-controls  {display:none;}

     

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Marci (again), 

    About your JavaScript question. I'll have to ask Support to take a look at that.  And, thanks for helping out Kate. 

  • Avatar
    Dennis Vogel

    Very helpful article. Seems like a lot of steps on the admin part though. I would like to think you could take care of this in the background for us via a preference. Email Only ON / OFF.

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