Using side conversations in tickets (Collaboration add-on)

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  • Hillary Latham

    I've been playing with this new feature this week.  I'd like to see a few more options for notifying an agent that there is a new conversation reply:

    (1) A view column to indicate there is a new conversation or reply that an agent has not seen/read.  I see that there is a indicator when I open a ticket that there is a reply that I have not seen - something along those lines that could be added to a view would be useful.  Our agents often keep tickets open for days and weeks so it's not efficient to open each ticket to see if there is a reply to a side conversation.

    Side note, I would love to see this for tickets too - a visual indicator in a view that a ticket has an update since I've last looked at the ticket.

    (2) A trigger placeholder with an indicator that a side conversation has been updated.  The agent is notified via a trigger if there is an update to the ticket, which includes a side conversation update.  Without a placeholder, I have to manage two sets of triggers for updates - one set for conversations and one for other updates to the ticket directly.  If I could just indicate that there is a new side conversation or what the last reply to a side conversation was in the existing trigger for ticket updates, I wouldn't have to manage more triggers for side conversations.

    In general, we like to have notifications for our agents in Zendesk views since tickets are often moving back and forth between teams and email is not as efficient for managing their day.  We consider triggers and email as a back up option to make sure you didn't miss an update from a customer, so they are useful but we prefer notifications in views.

  • Toby Sterrett

    @Hillary thanks for the feedback!

    1. We are investigating ways of integrating side conversations into views, and we have some initial ideas that we're currently working on. I'm hoping to be able to take advantage of the read-receipt status per agent in a view column like you mentioned... it's a bit tricky, but we have some strategies in mind to try out.
    2. This is interesting. Would you use liquid conditionals to control the placeholders in the email notifications or something along those lines? Can you provide an example of how you would set up the notification trigger and template?

    Improving notifications for side conversations is a focus for us and I appreciate the ideas!

  • Hillary Latham

    @Toby, right now we have a trigger to send updates to the ticket assignee if the ticket is updated, the status is not closed, and the assignee is not the current user (and a few other form specifics for my teams needs).  The email body contains the last comment:

    As the assignee of this Zendesk ticket, you are receiving an email notification to inform you the ticket has been updated.

    Ticket: {{}} - {{ticket.title}}
    Ticket link: #{{}}

    I noticed when a side conversation had a reply, my trigger sent me an email, but it doesn't have any indication that the update was because of a side conversation.  Ideally I would add some information to the email body similar to the last_comment_formatted for last_side_conversation_reply.

  • Steven Rothberg

    @Toby Correct windows 10 windows +shift + s for screenshots and paste directly into a ticket or ideally a side conversation. We'll never want to save screenshot attachments slows down the workflow. Typically we might have 2-3 images and want some formatting capability to make headings or dot points. 

  • Pedro Rodrigues

    It would also be useful being able to set up automations for Side Conversations.

  • Toby Sterrett

    Thanks @Hillary and @Steven.

    @Pedro what do you envision doing with automations and side conversations? Can you provide some examples of your ideas?

  • Nate

    +1 for Slack integration and +1 for Guide integration and +1 for inline images and attachments on a side-conversation (needed for when contacting a vendor to give them more info about the ticket)

    Side conversations are great for two things that happen all the time in support:

    1) chat discussions with colleagues regarding a ticket

    2) conversations with vendors regarding an issue

    Having a chat log of discussions about a ticket is really handy. Right now we manually copy internal slack conversation into the ticket as a private note all the time.

    However, we need some way to surface side-conversations that were last updated by not-the-assignee (and are thus awaiting a response from the assignee). Maybe a "side-conversation updater" view field, to mirror the "Updater" ticket view field. It would be "you" and "not you" instead of "agent" "end-user", so that you could surface any side-conversations you are a part of that were last touched by someone else.

    Also, having a chat log of discussions about a KB article is also really handy.

    The killer-est feature would be @mentions that open a Slack conversation between the assignee and the @mentioned person in the side-conversation, which shows up in Zendesk as a side conversation. Being able to get instant chat help from a colleague on a ticket and having that information stored in the ticket as a side-conversation would be huge. This also applies to KB/Guide articles.

  • Mie Dohn

    Hi guys, 

    We just love this new feature! 

    I a bit curious of what happens on the other side when someone replies to a Side Conversations, because we are experiencing that if we start a Side Conversation with person 1 and that person decides to forward to e-mail to person 2 who replies to the e-mail, then the reply end up as a new ticket in Zendesk instead of a reply in the Side Conversation. 

    This also happens when people start to add other people into cc. 

    I guess this has something to do with security etc. but wouldn't it be possible solve somehow? 

    Looking forward to hearing your take on this. 

    Br. Mie

  • Jon Daniels

    Hey Mie,

    That behavior is indeed expected, because the Side Conversation notifications aren't sent using the normal trigger method.

    Since the forwarded messages come into your account unassociated with any ticket, they aren't added to the ticket thread or the side conversation.

    We recommend adding a person into the side conversation within Zendesk to prevent any confusion like this!

  • Mie Dohn

    Using placeholders in Side Conversations.


    Hi guys, 

    I would love to be able to use placeholders and macros directly in Side Conversation.

    I see that you have now added the ability to show the signature in Side Conversations but since we are using a placeholder (dynamic content) in our signature it only shows the placeholder instead of the actual signature. 

    Also it would be nice if we could use the macros directly in the side conversation. Right now I have build a workaround with regular macros creating a new side conversation with som default text, but this only works when you want to start a new side conversation. If you want to use a text template in an existing side conversation this is not possible.


    Thank you in advance. 

    Br. Mie

  • Mie Dohn

    Hi guys, 

    I really need to add another comment here. 

    We have been working with Side Conversations for a while now and one major problem that we experience is that if a new agent takes over the Siden Conversation the conversation history will not be a part of the reply to the receiver of the Side Conversation. 

    We are having a lot of conversations back and forth with our partners and if a new agent takes over a ticket where a side conversation is already initiated and replied to the side conversation then the receiver will only see the latest reply ad not the whole history. That is not logic. To me this should work as a regular e-mail client. 

    Ant takes on that? 

    Br. Mie

  • Thomas Sparrow

    @Toby Sterret,

    we started using side conversations last week with one of our third parties and we fell at the first hurdle.

    They use a support system and the emails are received as being from so when they were replying it was going to that email address and not the collaboration+convid email address that is required.

    Is there any update on the first comments about improving this as unfortunately a great addition to Zendesk we cannot use at the moment?

  • WinCo Foods

    @Toby Sterrett, really appreciate the improvements that have recently been made to Side Conversations; auto-populating email addresses and an inclusion of agent signature are great.  Any update on being able to embed the original ticket comment, or a specific public comment from the ticket, into the side conversation?  Thank you!

  • Ben Koehler

    Hello Mie,
    Thanks for sharing your feedback! This product is continuing to grow and evolve, as we work with users to gain insight. I saw that the product manager for this feature, Toby Sterrett, addressed a similar feature request in the comment linked here.

    Please continue to share how this feature can meet your needs, and keep an eye out for updates!


  • Conza

    Hi team,

    Not sure if this has been mentioned... but including side-conversations in macro's at the moment... when it is added with everything else (I tend to use macro's to fill out all ticket fields)... the side-conversation does not actually trigger (and get created/prompted)[!]

    When creating a macro specifically just for side-conversations though, that does work. 

    It would be very helpful if it worked in the first instance, so I have one macro that does everything for the agent... instead of them having to use two, and I am forced to split them up. 

    Use case:

    Customer asks for ETA on a product - where is it? It has been shipped with tracking. Agent uses macro "ETA Update" (in this macro this fills out every field, including comment response)... it is also meant to create a side conversation - w/ email template to the Courier Company. 

    Generally speaking, everything gets populated, except the side-conversation does not appear or get actioned. 

    Any ideas? 

  • WinCo Foods

    The option to embed comments is working great, thank you for your hard work on improving this feature!

  • Jimmy Rufo


    We are testing using the Side Convo feature for escalations to internal agents and/or light agents, as well as end users.  Here are some items that are big limitations for us, specifically the lack of usage on placeholders.  Do you have an update on feature changes related to any of these?


    • Side convo has no ability to use ticket placeholders (i.e. Ticket URL, Ticket ID), if you’re escalating a question to an Agent/Light Agent
    • Initial side convo initiation does not generate private ticket note/reply
    • Side convo email sent to recipient does not include ticket ID/link;  Just the text of the side convo written. (Related to lack of ability to use a placeholder).  If I'm escalating to an agent/light agent, I should have an option to include this info programmatically.
    • No notification goes to assignee by default when side convo is replied to. In app notification shows up in browser.
    • Can’t seem to reply and mark note as “Done” at the same time.  Comment, then mark as done, as necessary.
    • Side Convo not searchable via Zendesk keyword search (for knowledge retention purposes).  Ideally for this purpose, we can search ticket notes but it doesn't seem Side convo notes are in scope for search.
  • Rob Baker

    Turned this on and used it yesterday for the first time.  Was able to have a side Convo with another party who worked for the same company re the ticket opened by the requester.  This happens often with permission/role related questions, and previously required a very complicated setup using a 3rd party hack called fork in order to have two separate but linked conversations.  Bravo on this feature and Light Agents too!



  • Jennifer Rowe

    That's great! Glad to hear it Rob.

    Thanks for letting us know!

  • Conza

    As I commented on the JIRA integration page, but also relates to this feature:

    Hi team,

    Read most comments, could not see an answer. Re: collaboration (side conversations) and JIRA integration.

    Essentially - we have a macro that creates a side conversation for our agents, to contact the finance team (who use JIRA). It has a template for the agent to fill out. 

    This sends to an email, which creates the ticket in JIRA. The finance team respond - but at the moment, this response - goes nowhere? collaborations@[url] gets lost in the ether via JIRA. 

    I can't see it in suspended tickets, and it doesn't come through anywhere else. We've attempted to adjust JIRA & ZD but nothing works it seems.  

    What would be the solution here? *We have the JIRA and Zendesk integration app - but it requires a real crummy work around for both parties, when the collab would be so much better (if their responses in JIRA came back to that side-conversation). 

    I don't think many are aware - we had to ask why there was no response to our side-conversations, and the finance team advised us they had, and that we had not responded to their follow ups! Bit frustrating.


  • Thomas Sparrow

    @Conza - v similar use case to us.

    We have a convoluted workaround to be able to use side conversations with a third parties support system.

    Originally their response was not received as where does a reply to collaborations@[url] go?

    Then everytime we replied we created a new ticket in their system.

    Luckily we don't have to use side conversations a lot but if we did this would definitely be a pain

  • Naz Sam

    It would be super cool if you add red spot near to ticket number in the list of tickets in folder view. This red spot can show to agent that there are unread replies in the side conversations. 

  • Eckhard Doll

    Thanks for all the improvements on this feature so far!

    Maybe I am missing the obvious or this has been discussed before but if I include ticket comments in a side conversation, I'd like to have the email address of the requester included.
    Sometimes, non-Zendesk colleagues want to take over a forwarded ticket and it seems like I need to add the email address of the customer manually.

  • Dave Hall

    We have just started using the Side Conversations feature, and have benefited from all of the above improvements. Thanks.

    I would be great if the conversations could be color-coded, and not white. This will would be especially helpful when you have multiple conversations with different parties, each thread would be colored differently.

  • Anthony Bethel

    Is there a way to track how many side conversation an agent is having? I cannot see a metric or attribute related to this.


  • Patrick Bosmans

    Hello Anthony,

    It does not appear that there is currently a native way to count all active conversations.  However with a couple of triggers and a view you could filter for these tickets.

    Trigger to add a tag to filter for active conversations:

    Meet All: Status is less than Closed

    Meet Any: Side Conversation is Created 

                     Side Conversation is Reopened

    Action: Add Tags > example_tag

    Trigger to remove tag when conversation is closed

    Meet All: Status is less than Closed

                   Side Conversation is Closed

    Action: Remove Tag > example_tag

    Once these 2 triggers are created, you can create a view to filter for these tickets, or a report in Explore/Insights to return all tickets with that tag

    I hope this helps!

  • Peter Hochstrasser

    Hi all

    Sounds like a very interesting feature. Being a bit careful, we did what we expect to be the safe option: Check it in Sandbox.

    Guess what:

    Production configuration:

    Sandbox configuration



    Too bad.

  • Peter Hochstrasser

    @Patrick Bosmans:

    The trigger you describe adds the tag for the first side conversation that is opened, and removes it for the first side conversion that is closed.

    If you have multiple side conversations, you will stop noticing all of them after one of them is closed.

    You would need a counter to keep track of the number of conversations, or assume that you have a max number of side conversations, add a separate tag for each one, and remove them in reverse order.



  • Chris Fassano

    @Peter Hochstrasser

    I have a similar issue with sandbox. Every time support adds side conversations in sandbox, it's only available temporarily.  

    I'll test something and a couple of weeks later it disappears.

  • Thomas Wang

    Hi, I'm not sure whether someone has asked this question before... Is anywhere in the Insights I can see how many side conversation an agent has send out in a daily basis ?


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