New Side Conversations features and enhancements

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27 Comments

  • Thomas D'Hoe

    Looking forward!

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  • Viachaslau Skorbezh

    Nice!

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  • Anton Mintsev

    🛫 let's go 

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  • Thomas Verschoren

    Slack!

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  • Thomas D'Hoe

    Any news? :-)

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  • Thomas D'Hoe

    I see that adding side conversations with macro's is already working! :-)

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  • Zac

    Not gonna lie I'm still on the edge of my seat here.

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  • Thomas D'Hoe

    me too :-)

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  • Toby Sterrett

    Hey all, sorry for the delay, just updated the article with all of the new Side Conversations updates that will be rolling out. Let me know if you have any questions/feedback about them!

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  • Zac

    LOVE THIS! We are very excited about all of these new features, from signature, to HTML support, to comment features and attachment features (that is awesome). The only challenge I see for us is that for the internal use case, we prefer to personalize replies (show agent names), but for external contacts prefer to show only the company name in the From field. I think this is a minor challenge overall, and am very excited about the benefits and efficiencies we'll find from these enhancements.

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  • Matt Savage

    These are some great feature updates!  Thanks for focusing on important quality-of-use changes that will be key to agent adoption.  Removing the manual handoff of info between the main & side conversations is really key to the effectiveness of this product.

    The potential win I see here is the ability to handle an entire interaction within the scope of a single, centralized ticket instead of a bunch of linked ones (e.g. 1 for you/customer, 1 for you/ supplierA, 1 for you/supplierB).  So much time is wasted with constant context switching between different threads that should be consolidated into branches on a single ticket.  However, I'd still like the ability to handle side conversations with the granularity of independent tickets for reporting purposes so I can answer questions like "how many tickets did we include [conversation partner] in this week?" or "is [conversation partner] resolving their part of the ticket according to their stated SLA?". 

    There are a few features that would make this an absolute priority for me to switch to this process:

    1. Metrics for side conversations: # of unique side conversations on a ticket (which can be aggregated in reporting), # of side conversation comments, side conversation participants (user/org), all the usual time-based measures (resolution, solve, agent wait time, customer wait time, etc.) from SLAs.
    2. Inclusion of side conversations in SLA policies: I'd like to establish custom SLAs for certain types of side conversations, depending on who is involved & ticket attributes, same as regular tickets.  Bonus points for making SLAs that apply to external parties instead of only internal agent ones; this is extremely important when your teams work in an intermediate position that is trying to align customer SLAs with external partner SLA performance.
    3. Setting recipients in macros: this is also a minor gripe about regular macros, but particularly lacking for regular contacts via side conversation (e.g. partner escalations, vendor outreach).  A macro of "Escalate to Partner X" should allow us to set the default point(s) of contact for the conversation to eliminate the chance of sending to the wrong people & standardize processes for a team so they don't all have to individually look up a list outside of Zendesk of "contact ABC about issue XYZ".

    I'm happy to talk about this at great length, as it's pretty core to how we use Zendesk.  Support for this increasingly common interdependency between businesses/customers/providers would be a game-changer, seriously.

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  • Toby Sterrett

    @Zac glad you're liking the new stuff! Your suggestion is interesting, and is another instance where it might make sense to have different behavior when side conversations are purely internal vs. when they include external recipients. Does this seem like something that should be done automatically, e.g. if all recipients are agents/light agents use full names and don't send emails? Or would it be something to choose when the convo is created? Also, what about when there is a mix of internal/external folks or if you have external folks set up as light agents (which some companies do)?

    @Matt the reporting aspects of side convos is something we're thinking about a lot, thanks for articulating them here.

    1. These all make sense as metrics to try to surface. When you say "customer wait time" do you mean how long a side convo recipient waits to get replies from the agent?
    2. One thing I've thought about with SLAs and side convos is if they should be configured to be automatically applied to specific recipients etc, or if it should be more along the lines of being easy to apply them to convos as necessary. For example, if they were available as part of the side convo macro action, it would be possible to create macros for different escalations and they could each have the appropriate "deadline" set as part of it. What do you think?
    3. This is something we hope to address in a future release. Macro actions don't currently have a way to set a freeform email recipient (just agents/light agents CCs via dropdown menus) so we're investigating how we can best address the external recipient use case. It's on our radar though.

    Thanks again for the detail on these items Matt. Looking forward to connecting directly in the future to dig deeper into these use cases!

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  • Zac

    @Toby - for our team, I think it would work as something that's done automatically - if all recipients are agents / light agents, use real names. I don't think an agent would need to choose this on a case-by-case basis, to me that just adds additional work and creates yet another decision point for the agent.

    If there is a mix of internal / external folks on a Side Conversation email, it would make sense to hide the agent name, following the Personalize Replies setting in Support. If there are external folks on the ticket that are Light Agents, I would (at present) count them as "internal" from the perspective of whether I show agent name to those individuals. I would imagine there would be some widely different opinions between customers on that last point.

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  • Toby Sterrett

    @Zac thanks for the input! What you're describing is pretty much in line with what I was thinking.

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  • Daniel Cooper

    I'm curious if the idea behind light agents changes with Side Conversations.  In the past, the use case for a light agent was to get someone to collaborate on work that wasn't a primary user in the system.  Side conversations kind of side steps that in some regards.  I'm sure there are users that would love light agents to not see real names, but I wonder if the answer to that is to point them towards using side conversations with those individuals instead of making them light agents and keeping light agent functionality in line with agent permissions as far as seeing agent names. 

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  • Toby Sterrett

    @Daniel While the idea behind light agents isn't necessarily changing with the introduction of side conversations, it does mean they no longer have to be used as the only way to get non-agents involved in tickets and as a result won't need to be as overloaded. I think what you're getting at is that light agents have always full access to the tickets they're included in, so using them in situations where they need full involvement (including the agent names) is the way to go, whereas side conversations provide a different level of involvement that could, for example, reflect the personalized replies setting. I think that's the right way to think about it :)

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  • Daniel Cooper

    @Toby, I think we are on the same page on how I'm starting to think about Light Agents and Side Conversation participants. In the absense of granular permissions for how a certain user would see an email related to display names, this does provide another option for teams to control visibility for those teams that may not necessarily be all in on a Zendesk instance.

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  • Dennis Duin

    Hello Toby,

    Is there any update/estimate as to when it will be possible to send our side convo's from our own emailadresses?

    As customers are pretty jumpy about receiving messages from adresses they or their system won't recognize, this little detail is currently a big thorn in our side regarding the use of side conversations, where we're pretty excited about this feature overall!

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  • Mary Thomasson

    Great new features!  Just wanted to note that the {{agent.name}} placeholder we use in our signatures is not working in side conversations.  Also we wish we could configure the side conversations signature -- we use them internally only, so our customer facing signature is not necessary, and we would like to leave a note about responding directly to the side conversation email instead of our regular signature.

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  • Anthony Bethel

    One issue I have currently is the email address showing when using the side conversation is very obscure and some legal firms consider it as spam. Will the Personalized Replies setting correct this concern?

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  • Toby Sterrett

    @Dennis and @Anthony we're getting close to sending and receiving all emails from the same address that the ticket it belongs to would use instead of the collaboration@ address. Make sure you're signed up for the early access program and we will get your account set up to test this new functionality out:

    https://goo.gl/forms/k54qfF6HLkERnSX72

    @Mary thanks for bringing this up, we're going to dig into how we can support the dynamic placeholders. As for a side conversation specific signature, we don't currently have plans for that, but you could potentially use macros to initiate new side conversations and set the note about responding in the macro template (along with any other dynamic content that may be relevant). The agents would then start side convos from the macros menu and get the note in the body of the message by default.

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  • Shannon Greene

    This is a great tool...much better than what we are using now!

    But, as I was demoing it to our team, they recognized that there was no CC available, so that they can copy managers or other people that might need to know what is going on, but not expect replies from them.   They said it was part of their current process in the tool they are using (we are in the process of switching them over to Zendesk).

    Are we just missing something in configuration, and if not, can it be added in a near future release?

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  • Toby Sterrett

    @Shannon while side conversations doesn't have an explicit CC field when addressing a message, you can put multiple recipients in the "To:" field in order to send it to multiple folks. Does your team need explicit CC recipients for their workflow?

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  • Shannon Greene

    Our team built processes around this.  Basically, the people that we were expecting to answer was put in the "To:" field, and their managers were copied in the "CC" field (most of the managers had rules in their mailbox to move to another folder so they would have them, but did not need to worry about answering).  This way, when their managers got complaints from our team that their people were not being responsive we(and they) had proof.  Also, sometimes the managers would know more about the issue, and could provide additional detail if needed.

     

    This would be a good feature to have.

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  • Toby Sterrett

    @Shannon ok great, thank you for following up with that clarification!

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  • Paula Nunez

    Hi, can you help me on how to search including side conversations text? For example, I remember that I send a message a week ago via side conversation and I know to who I sent it, but can’t remember who was the requester on the ticket. Using Zendesk sidewide search is not showing me the text included on side conversations

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  • Lennart Hedegaard Thomsen

    Hi, Is it possible to change the order of how new mails are displayed in side conversation?

    Our agent wish that new mails is displayed in the top, and as now in the bottom. 

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