Announcing the Collaboration Add-on (feat. Side Conversations) Follow

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56 comments

  • Avatar
    Abbey Neumann

    Thanks @Toby. So the email addresses typed in can be to an end user, correct? For example, we deal directly with our distributors (Zendesk "end users") and sometimes have to sidebar one of our freight carriers (who are also "end users" in Zendesk) without the customer seeing. So with this new add-on, we could have a case going with our distributor, and then create a side conversation with the carrier, right? 

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    Michael Adams

    When do you think the emails that get sent as part of the side conversation will support the custom domain?

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    Toby Sterrett

    @Maiya thanks for the real talk! 😀 Honestly, it's very helpful to get this type of feedback to make sure we're on the right track for the new things we're working on. We're actually working on a lot of enhancements right now that we couldn't get into the initial release but will hopefully address much of these shortcomings.

    We'll be rolling out support to initiate side conversations from macros soon, which will let you use liquid placeholders in the subject and body to include whatever ticket information you'd need. We're also working on a way to "forward" ticket comments via side convos, as well as easily insert ticket comments and attachments from comments. We'll also be including the message you're replying to on outgoing emails. What context from the original ticket are you most interested in including?

    You can currently attach files to a side convo, but they're not yet embedded as an inline attachment in the message. Is that what you're referring to with the screenshots?

    You're right about the notification emails. We're investigating the best way to make the information from the received message available to the email notification templates. Would you want to reply to the email notifications to reply to the side convo, or just to have the context of the reply to decide if you'd want to log in to reply? We normally recommend using things like triggers to change the status of tickets or manipulate tags in order to move them in and out of views instead of the email notifications, but we're definitely going to be working on improving notifications in general.

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    Josh Keller

    Can Side Conversations sent via email use conversations@mydomain.com?

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    Antonio Naddeo

    Missing macro support!

    This is the solution I have been looking for to escalate issues to third party vendors for a long time, without having to create a separate ticket to the vendor each time. However there is a huge limitation: does not support macros! For our used cases, when we escalate an issue to an external vendor, we use macros for every single type of issue. Side conversations with no macros support make no sense for our used cases. Macros are the core of the Zendesk support, how can you conceive such a functionality without supporting one of the core features of Zendesk?

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    Maiya

    Guys - WHAT were you thinking?  The whole thing is nearly useless.

    The conversation that gets sent has ZERO context for the original ticket.  No way to view / no way to attach even a screenshot...

    Then the notification of the response doesn't contain the response itself... so I HAVE to login to view.

    Unless I misunderstood, the reply goes to everyone on the ticket instead of the side convo recipient.   Why not just send it from a no-reply address then?

    Big facepalm...

     

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    Toby Sterrett

    @Abbey – that's correct and sounds like a really good use case for the feature.

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    Wes Drury

    @Toby - I'm on the old legacy Enterprise account with Light Agents.  So will we be getting this feature as well added to our accounts or is just for those with the Collaboration add-ons.  Normally the Enterprise accounts gets all the updated features. Just need to know how to respond when other users ask outside of this thread.

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    Jonathan March

    > The zendesk Search function does not find text in the Side conversation emails.

    This is a big weakness. Search is fundamental to re-using experience.

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    Toby Sterrett

    @Wes – since Side Conversations is a wholly new, standalone feature, legacy Enterprise accounts with grandfathered Light Agents will not be getting Side Conversations without purchasing the new Collaboration add-on. We do have a promo going right now that lets legacy Enterprise accounts upgrade to the new add-on for 50% off. I believe that will be running for the rest of the month.

    @Rachel – thanks, we'll take a look and contact you with more specific questions.

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    Toby Sterrett

    Apologies for not getting to these sooner!

    @Thomas you can do this now with triggers. You can create a trigger that uses the “Side conversation is created” condition to set the status of the ticket to “On hold” or whatever is appropriate for your workflow. You can also set up an additional trigger that uses the “Side conversation is replied to” along with “Assignee is not (current user)” conditions to fire off an action to reopen the ticket. There are more details in this article.

    @Mie:

    1. like Gab said, we don’t have the capability of restricting access to side conversations at this time, they just inherit the ticket access. So, if an agent has access to the ticket, they’ll have access to side conversations within it.
    2. There’s no way to convert a ticket to a side conversation per se, but we do have some features coming out that will make it really easy to start a side conversation from a ticket’s comments. So if you receive a ticket from a partner and need to pass the message on to another person (your customer in this case) you’ll be able to start a side conversation from the original comment, or create a macro that starts a new conversation with whatever ticket information is appropriate.

    @Antonio:

    A. Macros to initiate a new side conversation is definitely planned. You'll be able to set up a Side conversation macro action that provides the subject and body, and each will accept ticket placeholders.

    B. This is currently possible with the side conversation conditions in triggers, which allow changing ticket status when a conversation is replied to (more details here).

    C. We’re currently working on autocompleting previously addressed side conversation recipients, so you’ll only manually address the vendors once, then there will be suggestions on subsequent conversations.

    @Eckhard as mentioned above, we’re working on autosuggesting/completing previously addressed recipients in side conversations, so that should make it a lot less manual than it is now.

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    Toby Sterrett

    @Rachel – one idea we've had for this situation is to let the incoming email go ahead and create a new ticket if it's in reply to a side conversation that belongs to a closed ticket. The thought being that the reply to the side conversation is probably more of a shortcut for them to start a new conversation rather than to discuss something about a ticket that has long since been solved. I guess the question here is would it be better to just let it create the new ticket to have the conversation with them, or create the follow-up ticket (even though it wouldn't be because of activity from the original requester)? Or, would it be preferable to just continue in the original side conversation in the closed ticket (as long as you got a notification to be aware of it)?

    As for remembering/autocompleting email addresses in side conversations, that's something we're working on :)

    @Niclas – I see. You're correct that we don't currently have placeholders for side conversation information in triggers. We're investigating what it would take to enable this. In the meantime, I'm wondering if you could perhaps add the shared email address as a recipient in the side conversation directly, and when people reply-all a copy will get sent to it?

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    Thomas D'Hoe

    Question:

    Is it also possible to sent Side Conversations to other Zendesk Support email addresses?

    Thanks!


    Thomas

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    Eckhard Doll

    @Antonio, indeed, "C" would be a very welcome addition to the side conversations for us as well. Having the same addresses to choose from as with the change requester feature would be fine.

  • Hi Toby,

    Some small questions we have regarding Side Conversations.

    When a Side Conversation is reopened by someone responding to the thread, the side conversation does not actually reopen, it stays in the 'done' state. It seems to me that the thread in its entirely should be reopened.

    When a ticket changes the status to open from pending with one of the side conversations triggers, I get no notification in my Zendesk Support App. Is this something which you have tested as well? 

    For now this is it, thanks for looking at these points!

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    Rachel Christie

    Hi Toby. Sometimes we have tickets where side conversations could be replied to well into the future by contractors. I would just hate to miss the email if there was no notification after the ticket was closed. I have noticed that if the ticket is solved and the side conversation is replied to it will reopen. Best outcome is a notification that there has been a reply and perhaps the ability to reopen the ticket or create a follow up? Also it would be amazing if the side conversation could remember frequently used email addresses too, rather than typing it all out. First world problems.. I know :) 

    Thanks for your reply!

  • Avatar
    Antonio Naddeo (Edited )

    This feature will be interesting for our use case “escalation to third parties vendors” only when:

    A. You add support for macros in the side conversation (super important).
    B. You support the ability to change the status of the main ticket to OPEN when the vendors respond to the side conversation.
    C. You are able to support an address book of the email addresses of the different vendors.

    As it  is now this functionality is not complete and not useful for for escalations to third party vendors.

    Today we create a new ticket for the vendor that is connected to the customer ticket only by the order reference number.  Here you are forced to use the search box, to locate both ticket.

    I have been looking forward for a very long time to avoid duplication of ticket for single customer support request, when you need to contact the vendor with a separate ticket, it would absolutely fantastic if you didn't have to create separate ticket for vendors for each customer support request.

    This feature is incomplete and cannot be used for tickets that in order to be solved requires supporting one of our several third party vendors.

  • Avatar
    Thomas D'Hoe

    @Toby,

    Is the add-on available for free when you have an old (existing) enterprise account?

     

     

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    Toby Sterrett

    @Abbey – side conversations can be addressed to agents, light agents, or to email addresses that the agent types in

    @Sergio – it is rolling out to accounts that have the paid Light Agents add-on right now, so if your account already has the Light Agents add-on, you'll be migrated to the Collaboration add-on soon and you can take a look at your Ticket settings to see if it's hit your account yet. If you don't have the paid Light Agents add-on, you can purchase it through your account rep.

    @Thomas – it will not be available for free to the legacy Enterprise accounts, but you can definitely talk to your account rep to see what they can work out for you.

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    Niclas Kårlin

    One more thing I found:
    The zendesk Search function does not find text in the Side conversation emails.

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    Eckhard Doll

    Hi,

    Maybe this has been discussed before but  I cannot find it:
    Is it possible to include the ticket history so far into a side conversation? For some tasks, it would be helpful being able to forward this to external recipients as well.

    Cheers,
    Ed

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    Niclas Kårlin

    I guess it's the same response for forwarding the side conversations as email, using a Trigger? 
    I couldn't find a way to do that, but maybe there is? I got this far, but could find a placeholder for the email content.

  • Avatar
    Toby Sterrett

    @Maiya thanks for the additional detail! Replies below:

    "If I'm having a side convo, I would like for the recipient to either have all of the ticket details in the email itself (just as they would if you had cc'd them on a customer response) OR be able to link to a view-only ticket and its attachments."

    A couple considerations here:

    1. You could potentially add the recipients as light agents to your account, which would allow them to log into Support and view the entirety of the ticket. This would allow you to set up a macro to initiate a side conversation that includes a link and reference to the main ticket and then address it to a light agent. The initial message could give them whatever context is appropriate and then they could open Support to view the whole ticket if necessary. They could then reply to the side conversation from within the ticket or by replying to the original email.
    2. A way to “forward” the entire ticket in the body of the side conversation (along with attachments) could provide the full context of the ticket at the time it was forwarded, especially if we could include ticket field information as well. The recipient would be able to reply via email instead of logging in. However, that information would of course be static in the email vs. logging in to view the latest state of the ticket.

    "BUT they're already confused which messages they are allowed to reply to, and which ones will result in an embarrassing situation with the end customer (as happens more often than we'd like)."

    This is actually one of the things we hope to alleviate by encouraging side conversations rather than commenting directly in the conversation with the requester. A recipient should always be able to safely reply to an email they’ve received as a recipient of a side conversation. They’ll be able to see who the recipients of the reply are since we’re including the conversation itself as a recipient instead of relaying everything through the conversation itself.

    "What I would actually like is to be able to start a Slack DM or channel message as a side conversation and then allow Sales Execs to view ticket details in Slack (or again, via some link to a view-only ticket). "

    Stay tuned... :)

    "But back to the current implementation:  In the notification email, I would like to be able to reply to the side convo only from my email.  For that, I need to see what their response was."

    Yup, this is something we're still working out. We're aiming to make letting agents know about side convo activity in general better as we go, but notification emails would need some additional work to provide side convo information and new placeholders. It's on our radar though.

    "I should be able to just add external recipient to an internal note. They get the whole ticket and context over email. If they respond, their response is only added as an internal note."

    You could do this now by adding the recipients from other departments as light agents, which are limited to adding internal notes to tickets. You could then @mention them in the internal note, they’d receive the full ticket update email, and their replies to the notification emails would be stored as internal notes on the main ticket.

    Side conversations were built to have truly separate conversations within a ticket, where the agent could control the content and recipients to have targeted convos with folks, both internal and external. This is why we made it so that recipients don’t receive anything about the ticket by default, since it’s not always appropriate for e.g. external folks to have all details of a ticket and receive updates on everything that happens, but only be consulted for certain aspects of it. We’re working toward making it possible to have more context from the ticket available to side conversation through things like macros and comment insertion, but if the recipient should truly have full access to the ticket and be able to leave internal notes, then light agents sound like a good tool to have in your arsenal. Both light agents and side conversations are both available as part of the collaboration add-on, so you can use each tool as appropriate.

    Hope this clears up some of our thinking, and thanks again for taking the time to provide detailed feedback! Let me know if you have any additional questions or thoughts.

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    Toby Sterrett

    @Rachel – hmm, that definitely doesn't sound right. If you'd like to provide me with some ticket numbers where this happened we can look into it.

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    Niclas Kårlin

    @Toby - We're using a shared email inbox for notification on case updates. We forward all case comments there, and currently the side conversations are not forwarded there.

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    Abbey Neumann

    Will you be able to use the side conversation with an end user as well? Or just light agents?

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    Jonathan March

    @Toby

    >> I would just hate to miss the email if there was no notification after the ticket was closed.

    Exactly. Not common, but you never want to ignore incoming communications.

    > I guess the question here is would it be better to just let it create the new ticket to have the conversation with them, or create the follow-up ticket (even though it wouldn't be because of activity from the original requester)? Or, would it be preferable to just continue in the original side conversation in the closed ticket (as long as you got a notification to be aware of it)?

    I'd prefer the third option (don't create another ticket). It's so hard to predict the purpose, but most likely it would just be a followup comment for the record. If that's not feasible because of constraints on archived tickets, then I'd prefer an internal-only followup ticket to keep the connection without in any way disturbing / confusing the original requester.

    Thanks!

     

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    Thomas D'Hoe

    Hi Toby,

    Q:
    However, sending to an address within the same account will not work.
    What is the general use case you have in mind?

    A:
    It's like working with "linked tickets" but easier.
    Sometimes tickets need to be followed up by more than 1 agent group. With this function you can create a side conversation to another support address (that's also an agent group).

    By example in our company we have two support addresses (that are also agent groups): 1 Facilities and 1 Warehouse.


    When we receive a ticket to the Facilities support we sometimes also need support from the warehoude on the same ticket. Starting a side conversation for this one would be great to follow up and stay the owner of the parent ticket.

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    Rachel Christie

    Hi Toby. When a ticket is solved and eventually closed and someone replies to your side conversation, will there be an alert that there was a reply?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Rachel Christie

    @Toby - I have just noticed today that when a third party replies to a side conversation, it will go into my Gmail and not the side conversation on Zendesk. Has something changed? It's happened with two different third parties.

    Thanks!

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