Using side conversations in tickets (Collaboration add-on)

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157 Comments

  • Mikael Johannessen

    I'm looking forward to this feature being enabled for our instance of Zendesk, but I am wondering about the following statement:

    • When someone replies to a side conversation through an email notification, the reply becomes a public reply on the ticket, not a reply to the side conversation. This means that they are replying to everyone on the ticket, including any customers on the ticket, instead of a limited subset of people in a side conversation.

     

    If I understand this correctly, if I open a side conversation with an internal party, I need to explicitly ask them to not respond to my email, as any internal discussion will thus be sent to the customer/requester. 

    If this is correct, are there any plans to improve this? With such behavior, it will be tough for me to implement it knowing we're only one simple human error away from leaking confidential information to customers.

    7
  • Ola Thoresen

    Side conversations looks great, and is a feature that I have been missing.

    However one thing that would help us a lot is if the From (and maybe the Reply-To) addres would use our domain name instead of zendesk.com

    I would often like to send emails to internal systems that only accepts emails from our domain, or which behaves like Zendesk, and using the sender domain to identify which organisation-entity the email should be mapped to.   So I can not simply add zendesk.com as "our" domain in those systems.

    So by using the default support address (as configured in Settings) in some <UID>+email@domain format would help a lot.

    6
  • Toby Sterrett
    Zendesk Product Manager

    @Ola @Sebastian – the From: address is something we're investigating. There are a few things we're thinking of as possibilities:

    It sounds like most of the concern is around the From: address being from the right domain vs. zendesk.com, right?

    6
  • Sebastian Kochanowski

    I would rather prefer to have Threads using a email address applicable for the ticket than the 'default email address set in Settings'.

    That would be beneficial for wide teams having multiple mailboxes linked with Zendesk.

    4
  • Toby Sterrett
    Zendesk Product Manager

    Hi Mikael – that statement only refers to notification emails that are sent via a trigger that you would set up to notify the assignee of the ticket. This trigger does not exist by default and is unnecessary unless you really want the assignee of the ticket to get an email to let them know a side conversation has been replied to. We recommend changing the status of the ticket for views and using the in-product notifications instead.

    Replies to the regular emails that Side Conversations send to recipients will not add any comments to the ticket or send emails to the ticket requester. So the internal use case should work just fine for you.

    Thanks for bringing this up. We'll likely revise the wording on this to make my above explanation more clear!

    4
  • Michael Adams

    Is it just me or are all the side conversations not forming a thread. As I test it out and we send side conversation emails back and forth... a thread forms on the Zendesk side, but not for the person who is getting the email.

    So if I send a side conversation that is asking a question, that person doesn't respond, so I send a followup comment that says "Hey did you get this"... the email the person gets is literally "Hey did you get this" and not the initial comment + "Hey did you get this".

    Is that an intended function? If so, I don't know how I could use this anymore...

    4
  • Patrizia Eberhart

    We have been waiting for this feature for a while. We are currently testing it.

    Feedback + questions:

    1. would it be possible to have the same contact search available in the side conversation similar to the one in tickets? Currenty the system only automatically prompts the names of the agents, but none of the other existing contacts.

    2. Currently the enduser has access to his ticktets and the tickets he's on cc: in guide. Are there any plans to include the side conversations in the guide module?

    4
  • Gal Zohar

    @Toby

    How we use Slack: in a pretty basic way :)

    All teams have their slack channels, and additional channels exist for asking questions about different domains of the platform. 95% of slack channels are public, so anyone at Kenshoo can jump in, ask a question, get the answer from whoever is active, and leave the channel (optionally).

    The Support teams often do this to get answers. It's easier than email, because you don't need to know who exactly may know the answer for your question. Channels naming conventions _usually_ allow you to understand what they are about, and this way to address multiple people you don't even know (650 employees company, with offices across the globe).

    All of this is not documented in the ticket, of course. As an agent, I would go to slack, ask and get answer, and go back to my ticket to continue the conversation with the requester.

    As said above, what we are trying to solve are internal conversations discussing the ticket with light agents, usually started by them and not the agent. If we could integrate THOSE into slack as well - that would be amazing. Starting an ad hoc conversation in slack (channel+DM) from within a ticket, and having this conversation logged in that ticket is probably the holy grail here... 

    Hope this helps! Do feel free to contact me offline if anything is cooking in your product team that I can help steer towards this use case, review, give feedback etc.

    3
  • Toby Sterrett
    Zendesk Product Manager

    @WinCo Foods ok great, thanks for the example! We are indeed working on a few different ways to accomplish getting ticket comments into a side conversation:

    • Starting a side conversation from a comment – opens up a new side conversation with the subject and the text from the comment included
    • Comment insertion – when composing a side conversation message, you'll be able to insert a ticket comment via a menu
    • Macro initiation – a new macro action that will let you specify a new side conversation's subject and body, including standard ticket placeholder replacement. This feature will enable you to include the ticket's description (first comment), ticket ID, custom field value, etc.

    These new features are in development and undergoing internal testing. We don't have a firm date on if/when these will ship, but we are definitely thinking about these types of problems and how to make the workflow you've described easier!

    3
  • Gal Zohar

    This a feature we have been waiting for for a while, but there's one thing that does not make much sense to us:

    "Keep in mind that the creator of the side conversation doesn't automatically receive email replies to side conversations. That’s not the default behavior.

    We recommend that only the assignee of the ticket creates side conversations."

    Why? The creator of the side conversation is the person interested in the response, sometimes more than the assignee. That could be a light agent (for example) that manages this account, or any other person that is not directly handling the ticket. This almost cancels the value of side conversations for us. Are there plans to change this behavior?

    2
  • 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!

     

     

    2
  • Patrick Bosmans
    Zendesk Customer Advocate

    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!

    2
  • Peter Hochstrasser

    HI Ulrich Spies

    I created a simple macro to create a side conversation and add context to it. If you just create a side conversation, the party to be involved has absolutely no idea what the SC mail is referring to:

    2
  • Nelson Oliveira

    Hello

    There is an issue with a response to a side converstion on a closed ticket.
    As the agent to does get the info that someone replied.

    We thought we could have a trigger on the event so that we could inform the person replying to use an other entry point.

    But the trigger does not work either.

    Very disapointing. This really breaks the relationship.

    In the end, this means that we need to keep tickets in solved status for at least 60 days. 

    2
  • Sonia Radaelli

    Is possible to measure the side conversations in the reports?

    Is there an example?

    regards

    Sonia

    2
  • Troy Catherall

    @toby 

    I am in the same place as Ola and Sebastian, and heartily agree. The only thing stopping us from wide-spread acceptance and implementation of Side conversations. 

    In our use case, we deal with the government a lot, and they dislike any sort of change in where we send emails from, and I know they will start a fuss if we try to send things from collaboration@subdomain.zendesk.com

    This option works best for is one you mentioned:

    • Send the message From: the address that ticket replies would normally come from, and have the Reply-to be that address +identifier. Ex: From: support@acme.com, Reply-to: support+1234@acme.com

    Thank you so much for this wonderful addition to Zendesk, and I look forward to future tweaks to make it as near perfect as the rest of Zendesk.

    2
  • Toby Sterrett
    Zendesk Product Manager

    @Patrizia answers below:

    1. Autocompleting previously addressed side conversation recipients is in the works
    2. We don't have plans to integrate side conversations into the Guide view at this time, but I'd love to hear about some use cases where this would be desirable. As it stands, side convos are optimized for conversations outside of the one with the requester, so we haven't planned any integration into the requester view in Guide, but would love to hear your thoughts.
    3. Including the previous quoted messages in replies from within Support is something we have planned

    @Troy & @Mike sending/receiving emails from custom/brand emails is in the works!

    2
  • Michael Adams

    @toby... it is grouping the emails in the email client... that's not the concern. The issue is that the email itself doesn't have the email chain as comments are posted back and forth. 

    Follow these steps to check.

    1. Zendesk user sends a side conversation to Email user saying: "Please order product A"
    2. Email user does nothing and does not respond.
    3. Zendesk user adds a comment to the side conversation saying: "Did you get this? (see below)"

    The expected email to be sent, and what you would expect get if using plain email would look similar to this below:

    Did you get this? (see below)

    On Aug 7, 2018, at 3:38 PM, Michael Adams (Workforce Support) <collaboration@mydomain.zendesk.com> wrote:

    Please order product A

     

    What Email user gets instead is a single email that simply says

    Did you get this? (see below)

     

    See there is no other context that email that includes the prior email. 

     

    Does that make sense?

    Thanks!

     

     
     
     
    1
  • Steven Rothberg

    Hi Toby, the ability to paste screen captures into a side conversation and have a viewer for side conversation that is a little more full featured and displays embedded images would be a great advantage. We'd love to use side conversations to reach out to vendors which support tickets relate to but we need to supply screen captures regularly so they can trouble shoot our problems. Could you look at this in the future.  

    1
  • David Peat

    Hi Toby,

    I've just got a trial of Side Conversation and it looks interesting.

    I noticed the comments in this thread from Jimmy Rufo which don't seem to have been answered i.e.

    • 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
    • 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.

    I completely agree with this.

    Our use case is escalating to a developer to further investigate for us. The first thing they are likely to do is to go and read the full history of the ticket. So it would be a great help to have a way to include the ticket ID and/or link automatically.

    David.

    1
  • Patrizia Eberhart

    another question:

    1. The agent started a side conversation on the ticket and received an answer. If the agent now replies to this side conversation to the same external recipient, the system does not include the previous email chain, but only the new message. Is there a way of including the whole previous email chain when the agent replies out of support?
    1
  • Hillary Latham
    Community Moderator

    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.

    1
  • Ola Thoresen

    The actual implementation can of course be discussed. The main point is that the sender domain should be our domain, not zendesk.com.  "Default email address" was just a simple way to not introduce any new complex settings.

    1
  • Jeremy Holmes

    We came across the same issue Mike stated. I agree that this greatly reduces the functionality. The main reason we are look at this feature is so we can have communication with other services on problems tied directly to the customer ticket they are associated with. If the chain is broken with each message, it will potentially cause much more confusion than having to track separate tickets like we are doing now. 

    1
  • Toby Sterrett
    Zendesk Product Manager

    @Ola – thanks for the follow-up. We'll have to look into the deliverability of emails with a From that includes the +identifier.

    @Maurits – glad to hear you're enjoying the feature! Signature support is something we're looking into. Would the same signature that agents have for ticket replies be good for side conversations or do you think they would need a different template?

    1
  • Maurits Vos

    Thanks for enabling this feature widely! I was part of the EAP and really like the feature

    I agree with Ola and Sebastian. 

    Selecting an email address or setting a default address per brand/agent would be beneficial. Also, would it be possible to add the agent's signature to the email by default?

    1
  • Sebastian Kochanowski

    Yup, makes sense in general :)

    1
  • 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.

    1
  • Nicole S.
    Zendesk Community Team

    The product manager indicated that the fix had already been rolled out. Obviously make sure that you've got current versions, cleared caches, etc. If you're still not seeing it work, you may want to raise that in your ticket as well in case there's something else going on.

    1
  • 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.

     

    1

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