We're happy to announce a brand new version of Community for Zendesk Help Center. The new Community offers more flexibility for different types of content, includes many new features, and includes an API.
Why is there a new Community?
The new Community enables you to offer the type of community you want to support. The previous Community focused on Community as a support tool -- where users ask questions and get answers, similar to a ticket interaction. The new Community offers more flexibility. Instead being limited to "questions" and "answers," in the new Community users create "posts" and add "comments".
So it's not just about support interactions anymore. Now, you can focus on interactions where the main objective is to get end-users to engage with each other. And you can build the type of community you want -- whether it's a support community, a place to gather feature requests, or an engagement platform where people discuss with one another.
What’s in the new Community?
MORE CONTENT TYPES
The new Community moves the focus to also support other community types. The existing Community mostly supported customer support interactions, similar to the interaction you find in tickets, except publicly visible. The new Community also supports interactions where the main objective is to have end-users engage with each other. This allows users to build relationships with other people around a brand.
In the new Community end-users no longer post "questions" to which they receive "answers”. Instead they create "posts" and other users "comment". This allows you to build the type of community you want:
- a customer support centric community
- a place to gather feature requests
- an engagement platform that facilitates discussion.
- a combination of community types
A community is only as good as the discussion it generates, so we’ve put in a new features to facilitate discussion.
Follow new posts or new posts and comments. Your users can opt to receive a notification for every new posts or for each new post and any comments on the post.
Set status on a post and filter by status (Planned, Not planned, Completed, Answered). Community managers can add a status to a post to clearly communicate where a feature request or post is in a life cycle. Users can then filter posts by status to get visibility of where the action is happening.
Users can also use sorting options to find the most voted comment or the most recent comment in a post.
Format posts and comments. Format headings (posts only), add bold and italics, insert unordered or ordered lists, add images, and link text.
Community managers can disable commenting on individual posts as needed.
Note that with the WYSIWYG you can no longer use Markdown in posts and comments.
PROMOTING COMMUNITY CONTENT
Not all content is created equal, we know there is some content that is important and that you want to highlight in your communities. We’ve created new sorting options to help you find the most active or recent discussions.
New sorting options; Post creation date, Recent activity, Number of votes, Number of comments.
Feature a post. Community managers can get traction for certain posts by featuring them in a section that can be placed anywhere in your theme.
You can also call attention to a specific post by pinning it to the top of a section. If a post is pinned it will always appear on the top regardless of sorting.
DEFLECTION & ESCALATION
Community v2 brings you guaranteed scalability wins as your users will now see similar post suggestions when they begin to create a new post. This gives them immediate suggested answers and prevents the creation of duplicate posts making your community easier to manage.
If they don’t find a similar post that answers their question and end up deciding to submit a new post you can now not only respond publically within the community but also escalate any comment or post to a ticket in your Zendesk. This allows you to move community discussions with personal information or that need to be escalated directly into a ticket.
List of features in new Community
- Customize your Community. You now have access to Community templates giving you the full flexbile theming options as the rest of Help Center.
- Format posts and comments. Format headings (posts only), add bold and italics, insert unordered or ordered lists, add images, and link text.
- Follow new posts or new posts and comments. Opt to receive email notification for every new posts or for each new post and any comments on the post.
- Set status on a post and filter by status (Planned, Not planned, Completed, Answered).
- Sort posts with more options (Post creation date, Recent activity, Number of votes, Number of comments)
- Close a post for comments. Disable commenting on individual posts.
- Pin a post to the top of a section. Pinned posts appear on top no matter the sorting chosen.
- Create a ticket from a post or comment.
- Sort comments by date or number of votes. Find the most voted or most recent comment.
- Show similar posts when creating a new post.
- Feature a post. In a component that can be placed anywhere in your theme.
Is there an API? Yes!
With the new Community you can use an API to create posts, update votes, or see who is subscribed to posts. Find all the details here:
Mark an answer as "Accepted" and "Open questions"
An answer can no longer be marked as answered by end-users. Instead agents can mark a post as Answered.
The original purpose of this feature, was for agents or highly engaged end-users to find the questions that hadn't been answered. Our research found that it was very rarely used. Most communities had a long list of unanswered questions, even though they had received an answer. We also found that marking an answer as accepted, was mostly done by an agent and not the end-user asking the question.
"Recommended", "Trending" and "Related" questions
It is no longer possible to filter posts by Recommended or Trending. While the use case it was trying to support (showing interesting content) is something we will continue to look at. The implementation didn't provide users with posts that really were recommended or trending. The same applies to related questions, which you could view when reading a question.
How do I get the new Community?
If you currently have Community enabled in your Help Center, exactly how you can upgrade to the new Community features will depend on your theme. Please note that once a you have published a theme with the new Community you are upgraded and will no longer be able to publish themes in the old version.
If you start customizing your Help Center from a completely new Standard theme you will have the new Community features immediately without further notifications or required actions.
If you are using one of the five standard themes (The Swiftest Elk, The Noble Feast, The Humble Squid, The Curious Wind, The Wiry Merchant) your Community will be automatically updated with the new Community features. If you’re unsure on how to identify if you are using a standard or custom theme? Learn more
If you are using a customized Help Center theme there are some actions you will need to take in order to upgrade to the new Community.
Read this, to learn more about how to move to the new Community from a custom theme.