Understanding when email replies become public or private comments

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54 Comments

  • RJ Hines

    Thank you, Amy, this guide has been exceptionally helpful!

    One quick note - under 'When Replies Become a Public Comment':

    • "If a requester or CC replies to a ticket notification, and the requester is not on the reply, the reply becomes a public comment. It doesn’t matter whether the author of the email is an end user or agent.

    This particular criteria (in bold) is identical to the first criteria for under 'When Replies Become a Private Comment'. Is this a typo in the Public Comment section? I feel like it should read 'and the requester is ON the reply' instead. Would you be able to clarify this, please?

    Thank you!

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  • Amy Malka
    Zendesk Documentation Team

    Hi RJ—I checked with our team and you are correct.

    Under “When replies become public comments,” the first bullet item should say “and the requester is on the reply.” I’ve corrected that. Thanks for pointing this out!

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  • Zach Hanes

    I understand the logic of "If a requester or CC replies to a ticket notification, and the requester isn’t on the reply, the reply become a private comment."

    However, this has created a separate issue for us. When a CC makes a private comment, the "next SLA breach" counter is not reset. We use that counter to sort our queue by customer wait time. This means these tickets sink to the bottom, and it happens several times a day. 

    Am I out of luck? Is there no way to trigger the "next response" SLA on end-user private comments?

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  • Kristal Lam
    Zendesk Product Manager

    @Zach - Thanks for sharing this. Would you mind creating a ticket with support@zendesk.com and we can look into this. Thanks! 

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  • Zach Hanes

    Thanks, Kristal. I have an open ticket (#4551210), and I've made a community post:

    https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360030119913-CCs-and-follwers-Tickets-reopened-by-a-CC-get-no-SLA

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  • Neil

    So if an agent, assignee or requester CCs an email address not associated with a user in Zendesk, what happens? And what happens if that non-user then replies-all either to the notification, or the original email?

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  • DJ Jimenez

    (strikeout below)

    If the original security concern of a third-party reply making an update to a ticket is the fact they can cc themselves to a ticket and continue to receive updates, is converting the update to private comment part necessary then? If they are unable to receive ticket responses through the cc function, is there still a security concern if the third-party update comes in as a public comment?

    (strikeout above)

    Nevermind - yes it is. That third party could pose as an "agent" or collaborating customer and ask the requester to click a dangerous link.

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    @Neil if the agent/assignee/requester CC's a new user then a profile is automatically created for that user that's CC'd. Assuming you have Enable CC's on tickets enabled under Admin>Settings>Tickets. If the CC'd user replies to the notification then that comment would then be added to the ticket as a public response. If an agent/requester were to instead forward the email without actually CC'ing the user and then that user replied, their response would show up as an internal note.

    @DJ thanks for sharing this!

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  • Bryan Matias

    Is this a forced rollout or will we be able to stay on the old experience?

     

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Bryan,

    Eventually, the old experience will be removed and you will automatically be migrated over to the new CC experience. We don't have an ETA of when the old experience will be deprecated at this time. 

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

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  • Mark Ellers

    With our use case, there is never a need for comments to be private/internal notes. This only seems to happen when the end-user (CC'd on ticket) Uses "Reply" instead of "Reply all." I've tried to set up a trigger to send an email with the reply to the requester and all CC's on the ticket, but it hasn't seemed to work. 

     

    Shouldn't a trigger like this solve my problem?

     

    Would the fact that I have other active triggers with somewhat similar conditions cause issues with this firing?

     

    Thanks!

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  • Mike Schepker

    This completely breaks our workflow now. Agents that worked cases that are sent to development get added as followers to the ticket and the assignee is changed to a dev assignee. Now, if a customer responds to a ticket that is in the dev queue, all agent responses via email are added as internal notes instead of public notes. There's no trigger action to add the agent as a CC, only a follower. 

    Prior to this change an agent could reply to the email, no matter if they were a CC or follower and the comment would be public.

    How can we make it so agent replies via email are always public like it used to be? I remember one of the highlights of Zendesk when it first launched was the ease of use to work tickets via email and now it seems with every change you make it harder and harder to use Zendesk in that way.

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Mike,

    I'm wondering if you have Agent comments via email are public by default disabled under Admin>Settings>Tickets. Screenshot below: 

    Let me know if that doesn't resolve the issue for you.

    Thanks!

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  • Mike Schepker

    No, it is checked so agent comments via email should be public. 

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Thanks Mike.

    I'm going to create a ticket on your behalf so our Customer Advocacy team can dig into this further and confirm what expected behavior is here.

    You'll receive an email shortly stating your ticket has been created.

    Cheers!

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  • Neil Lillemark

    Can someone explain to me the reasoning behind having a CC'd user clicking "REPLY" rather than "REPLY ALL" should result in making the ticket update private?

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  • Devan - Community Manager
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hello Neil Lillemark,

    So the reasoning is if they are on CC’s and Followers and do not include the requester in the reply email (hitting reply, instead of reply all) it will make the comment private.

    Best regards. 

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  • Ian Morgan

    Thank you Devan for the clarification but as I think the other comments suggest this doesn't actually explain why this is a good idea.

    In our case if the reply comes from an agent then it should be a private comment. If the reply comes from an external email address who is cc'd (not marked as an agent and sent as reply, not reply all) then it should be public.

    Along with the other requirements from fellow users above this also means that if filtering a ticket to see only public messages those comments from the cc'd external user will not appear. 

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Ian,

    I can definitely see where the confusion is and why it would be useful to have the reply show up as a public comment as well.

    I'll be sure to pass this along as feedback so the product managers are aware of this roadblock.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this with us!

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  • Natalie Doran

    Oh dear. This answers some questions about why so many people are missing ticket updates. 

    In our case, if someone updates a ticket via email, it should always and without exception be a public comment. How do I turn off these "if you reply instead of reply all it becomes private" rules? 

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  • Natalie Doran

    As a result, agents may need to do these things:

    • If the reply needs to be a public comment, then the agent must manually copy/paste the text into a public comment on their behalf.

    I'm sorry, this is incomprehensible to me. Do you have a script for this?

    "Sorry Maria, our ticket portal is acting up and nobody saw your response but me for some reason. I'm recopying it here so everyone else can see." How could this possibly be an intended change?

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Natalie,

    I'm not aware of a way to change this functionality so the comment shows up publicly. It may be possible to temporarily opt out of the new CC/Follower functionality by navigating to Admin>Settings>Tickets and selecting the opt out option under CC's.

    I did some additional digging on my end but was unable to find an alternative solution for you at this time.

    Let me know if you have any other questions for me.

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  • Ben Ballard

    Hi Brett,

    I had an embarrassing incident yesterday where an intended internal comment was made public, and based on the rules explained above, I don't understand how it happened. It should have been private.

    A customer opened the ticket by email, and CC'd two employees who are not agents (members of sales). 

    One of these CCs replied only to our support@company address, which is the default email address for Zendesk. They removed the respondent. This should have been added to the ticket as a private comment which was what he intended by removing the repondent. But it was made public, which is not according to the rules explained above in this article.

    Replies to ticket notifications sent from email become private comments in these cases:

    • If a requester or CC replies to a ticket notification, and the requester isn’t on the reply, the reply become a private comment. If the recipient of the ticket notification is a follower, and the ticket already includes private comments created from email, the reply becomes a private comment.

    But your comment above from 7 months ago seems to contradict this:

    "@Neil if the agent/assignee/requester CC's a new user then a profile is automatically created for that user that's CC'd. Assuming you have Enable CC's on tickets enabled under Admin>Settings>Tickets. If the CC'd user replies to the notification then that comment would then be added to the ticket as a public response."

    In our case, the person who was CC'd was not a new user, he had been created as a user 3 months ago when he had been CC'd on some other ticket. I'm not sure why that would matter. In any case, he didn't reply all, he removed the respondent (our customer) when he replied. That should have been private, but instead it was public.

    Could this be due to the fact we had Agent comments via email are public by default enabled? That shouldn't have affected this CC since he is NOT an agent, but I'm wondering if this setting has wider implications than the label suggests.

    Could you shed some light on this?

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  • Mike Schepker

    Ben Ballard I hope you get some clarity on this. They have made email replies infinitely more confusing and then the system doesn't obey by the own rules Zendesk states. We've had a few tickets open because of issues like this and it seems like every support person we've worked with has told us something different with regards to how all of this should work.

    In my opinion these changes shouldn't have been made until it was thoroughly thought out and tested. It doesn't seem like it was. The implementation feels like a band-aid approach instead of doing it properly, which is why support, knowledgebase articles, and the agent interface all tell you conflicting things.  

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  • Neil

    I feel like we need some kind of matrix to properly explain how it works now. There is clearly mass confusion.

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  • Hope Notz

    Neil, my thoughts exactly on the matrix. This needs much more clarity. I feel like the article contradicts itself as well. 

    Example:

    "If a requester or CC replies to a ticket notification, and the requester is on the reply, the reply becomes a public comment. It doesn’t matter whether the author of the email is an end user or agent."
     
    Seems to contradict: 
     
    "If the requester replies using Reply (instead of Reply all), the reply becomes a private comment (because the requester is on the reply) and CCs are removed from the ticket."
     
    This whole process needs some major simplifying. Maybe one rule: "If the requester listed on the ticket is NOT on the reply, the comment becomes private." Agent reply rules can remain the same as the were originally.  

    This is probably too simple, but something needs to be done. I spend more time as an administrator trying to explain to my agents why their replies are public/private then I do actually improving our Zendesk instance. Emphasis on "trying to explain" because most of the time I don't understand it myself. 
     
    Maybe a Zendesk user workshop would be a good idea?
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  • Ben Ballard

    I tested my theory that the reply was made public because we had Agent comments via email are public by default enabled. I changed it to disabled, and asked the person to send another innocuous reply in the same way, leaving off the requester. But that one was made public also. So it's not due to that setting.

     

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  • Brett Bowser
    Zendesk Community Team

    Hey Ben,

    Out of curiosity, if you use #note at the beginning of the agent's email, does that then add the comment as an internal note? More information in our mail api article which I've linked for you.

    Additionally, after you've disabled the Agent comments via email are public by default option, can you confirm you selected Save Tab at the bottom of the page?

    I'll also create a ticket on your behalf as our Customer Advocacy team will most likely need to take a look at a couple of ticket examples.

    Cheers!

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  • Ben Ballard

    Brett,

    Thanks for creating a support ticket for me. I'm hopeful we'l find the answer, and I'll share my learnings here for those who are interested. 

    I appreciate the #note option and other notations. We're still somewhat new to Zendesk, but over time I think my agents will learn to use things like that. But I don't expect non-agents to learn these things, and in this case the Sales guy removed the customer (respondent) from his reply, so according to this article, it should have been private anyway, but it wasn't. I'm sure Zendesk support will help me get to the bottom of it. I'm getting assisted by the product manager for email. 

    In my test, I did save the tab after changing the Agent comments via email are public by default setting. It didn't make any difference. But this was only a theory of mine, and the reply was not from an agent, it was from an employee who is not an agent, but was cc'd by the customer, so this setting shouldn't apply to him anyway. It was just a theory.

    UPDATE: I did not have the new CC's and Followers feature enabled, so I was running with the older functionality.

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  • Ben Chapman

    I've tested the following common three scenarios independently and arrived at different results.  Has this been modified since originally released?

     

    1. If the REQUESTER replies and only removes some or all of the end-user cc’s, then the reply shows to you as ‘public’ but the cc’s that are non-agents will have been removed, and those that are agents will have been retained as followers.  If the agent desires to re-add a cc, they will have to do so.

    2. If a CC replies and removes some/all of the other CC’s then the reply shows as ‘public’ and only goes to the individuals that were on their email, but DOES NOT change the cc’s on the ticket.

    3. If a CC replies and removes the REQUESTER from the reply, then the reply shows as ‘internal/private’ and only the ASSIGNEE and FOLLOWERS will see the reply. In these cases, if necessary for other end users (non agents) to see, the agent would need to copy the response and update the ticket for everyone to see.

    Item's 1 and 2 disagree with your stated function rules.

     

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