Providing live chat support with Zendesk Chat
After your Chat channel has been set up and enabled by an administrator, you're ready to accept chat sessions (see Setting up your Chat channel in the Zendesk Administrator Guide)
Customers can initiate chat requests from existing tickets or from a Feedback Tab. From a customer's perspective, the chat functionality is similar to other chat clients, such as MSN Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, or Facebook Chat.
If your administrator has enabled chat, end-users can initiate chat from an existing ticket or from the Feedback Tab (if implemented) when an agent is available. A chat request from an existing ticket does not go to the assigned agent, but it goes to all available agents for anyone to accept.
(number of available agents) X (max number of chats allowed per agent) = total number of active chats that can be accepted at a given time
This is how it works:
- If agents are available when a customer makes a chat request, the request is sent to all available agents. Any agent can accept or ignore the request. The first agent to accept the request begins the chat and the request disappears for the other agents. Depending on how the administrator set up chat, agents might be able to accept multiple chat sessions at once.
- If agents are not available when a user tries to make a chat request, the user sees a message saying no agents are available. The user can add a comment to the existing ticket (if one exists) or submit a support request (if there is not an existing ticket).
- If the request times out or is declined while a user is waiting for an agent to chat, the user sees a message inviting them to add a comment to the ticket (if they came from an existing ticket) or to submit a support request (if they came from the Feedback Tab). Chat requests time out if they are not accepted within one minute.
Making yourself available for chat
If your administrator has enabled chat, you can make yourself available to accept chat requests from users.
You must belong to a group to use Chat. Belonging to a group is a requirement to be assigned to tickets; Chat has the same requirement.
When you accept a chat request, you remain available for additional chat requests (unless your administrator has limited the number of chats per agent to one, or you have accepted the maximum number of chats allowed per agent). If you do not want to receive chat requests while you are in a chat session, make yourself unavailable for chat during that time.
To make yourself available to accept a chat request
- Click the Chat icon in the top toolbar, then select Online.
Zendesk Classic: Click the Chat icon in the menu bar, then select Open chat panel. Notice that the Chat icon () appears in the top toolbar, indicating that you are available for chat.
- Click the Chat icon in the top toolbar, then select Offline in the Chat section.
Zendesk Classic: Close the chat panel.
Monitoring for chat requests
After you make yourself available for chat, you need to monitor for incoming chat requests.
To monitor for chat requests
- Watch for chat request notifications to appear under the Chat icon in the top toolbar.
Zendesk Classic: Leave the chat panel open and watch for chat requests. When a user initiates a chat request, the user's name appears in the chat panel.
Accepting a chat session
You can accept one or more chat sessions at a time, depending on how your administrator set up chat. Once you have accepted the maximum number of chats allowed per agent, you will not receive new chat requests until you finish a chat. You cannot transfer a chat session to another agent.
- Make yourself available for chat by clicking Online.
- When you receive a chat request. hover you mouse over the chat request and click Accept.
Alternatively, you can click Ignore if you do not want to accept the chat.
When you click Accept, an auto-reply is sent to the user asking "How can I help you today?" If you ignore the chat or don't respond within one minute, the user receives a message inviting them to add a comment to the ticket (if they came from an existing ticket) or to submit a support request form (if they came from the Feedback Tab).
- Type a message, then click Send.
Continue the chat as long as needed.
- If you want to view the ticket associated with the chat or the user's profile, click the ticket number or the user name at the top of the ticket.
New tickets are created at the beginning of a chat so either an existing ticket or a new ticket is available during a chat.Zendesk Classic: You can only view an existing ticket during a chat; new tickets are not created until a chat ends. To view an existing ticket associated with the chat, click the ticket number at the top of the chat panel. To view the user's profile, click the user name on the bottom left of the chat panel.
- When you are ready to end the chat, click End Chat. The user can also end the chat at any time.
Identifying the user and handling new accounts
End-users who initiate chat from the Feedback Tab are prompted for their name and email address before they send the chat request. They do not have to be registered users to initiate a chat request. End-users who initiate chat from an existing ticket are already signed in, so they are not prompted for their email address.
Chat requests received from new, unknown users generate new user accounts that include the name and email address the user entered. An unrecognized user might actually be an existing users using an email address that is not in their user profile. In this case, you can merge the new user account with their existing user account. For more information, see Merging a user's duplicate account.
Using a macro to update a chat session
You can apply macros to chat sessions. This enables you to update a chat with a pre-built, standard response. Chat macros are available for Regular, Plus, and Enterprise.
For information about applying macros to chat, see .
For information about creating macros for chat, see .
Working with chat tickets
Every chat session is associated with a ticket—either a new ticket or an existing ticket, depending on how the user initiated the chat.
When a user initiates chat from the Feedback Tab a new ticket is created at the beginning of the chat. You can work on the ticket during the chat session.
When a user initiates chat from an existing ticket you can view and edit the ticket during your chat by clicking the ticket number above the chat window.
During an active chat session the chat is not part of the ticket. When a chat session ends, the full chat session is appended to the new or existing ticket as a comment. You can then make necessary updates to the ticket and submit it.
If a new ticket is created and you find that there is actually an existing ticket for the same issue, you can merge the tickets. For more information, see Merging tickets.
Searching for chat tickets
You can search for tickets that were generated from chat sessions. You can also search for a user's tickets using their email address.
Use the via keyword in a search to search for chat tickets, as follows:
If you want to search for a user's ticket using their email address, you can enter the user's email in your search.
For more information about searching, see Searching the data in your Zendesk.