Understanding soft delete vs. permanent delete
This article describes two types of user deletion, and both types can be performed from the Support interface. Neither type of deletion can be undone. Here are some basic definitions to help you understand the difference:
- delete (soft delete): deletes the user from the account, but does not permanently delete the user from the Zendesk database.
- permanent delete: permanently deletes the user from the Zendesk database.
Since you cannot undo user deletion, be very careful when performing any type of user deletion and make sure you select the correct user. Zendesk cannot recover deleted users for you. This article describes deletion (or soft deletion) in the next section, and then permanent deletion in the last section.
Deleting users to remove them from your account
Deleting users from your account soft deletes them, and that means that the users are still in the Zendesk database and accessible on a limited basis only to Zendesk employees with certain database privileges.
Both agents and administrators can soft delete users in the agent interface in Zendesk Support. Agents with permission can delete end users, while administrators can delete all users except the account owner. Zendesk retains information about the account owner to continue providing its services. When the account is terminated, Zendesk follows its Data Deletion Policy to purge remaining profile data.
Agents must have permission to delete users and must have access to all tickets to delete users. On Team and Professional, permission to delete users is provided by default based on the Agent role and access to all tickets is set in their agent profile. On Enterprise, permission to delete users and access all tickets is set in the custom role.
You can't delete an end user or team member who's a requester on a ticket that hasn't been closed yet. See What is the difference between a Solved ticket and a Closed ticket? First, the ticket must be solved before it can be closed. Second, the solved ticket must be closed by a trigger or an automation. The ticket can't be closed directly in the agent interface. To close the ticket immediately, you can create a trigger for the specific purpose of closing the ticket. For details, see the tech note How can I manually close a ticket?.
If the deleted user was the requester or assignee on a closed ticket, you can still find the closed ticket by searching the ID. If you try to access the deleted user's profile from the ticket, you will receive an error.
No Help Center content is lost when you delete a user.
- Open the user's profile by doing one of the following:
- In Support, click the Customers icon () in the sidebar. Then locate the user and click their name.
- Click the user's profile name or picture from a ticket.
- In the user's profile, click the user options arrow in the upper right, then select Delete.
- When prompted, click OK to confirm the deletion. If you want to cancel the deletion, click Cancel instead.
- In Admin Center, click the People icon () in the sidebar, then select Bulk actions > Delete end users.
- (Optional) On the Bulk Delete page, change the sorting by clicking one of the column heads.
By default, users are sorted by their creation date, from most recent to oldest.
- Select the checkbox for each user you want to delete.
- Click Delete user(s).
- Click Delete again to confirm the user deletion.
The selected users are deleted. This might take a few minutes.
If your organization must adhere to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the user wants to be forgotten, permanently delete the user as described in the next section.
Permanently deleting users
If your organization must adhere to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the user wants to be forgotten, after you delete personal data from all resources in Zendesk products, you must also permanently delete the user from Zendesk Support. Permanently deleting the user in Support also permanently deletes the user in Guide, Chat (for agents), Message, Talk, and Explore. The user is also permanently deleted from all product reports.
You should permanently delete a user only as the last step in the process of deleting all the user's personal data to comply with GDPR. The order of the tasks is important because you need the user's profile data to find their personal data in tickets and in other resources. If you permanently delete the user first, finding their personal data will be more difficult. For details, see Forgetting a user in Zendesk in the cross-product Help Center.
Deleting a user permanently is a two-step procedure:
- Soft delete the user (as described in Deleting users to remove them from your account).
- Permanently delete the user (as described below).
You can't permanently delete the user unless you soft delete them first.
Only administrators can permanently delete an end user or agent.
It may take some time for the system to permanently delete users depending on the amount of data currently queued for deletion.
To permanently delete an end user or agent
- Delete a user as described in the previous section.
- In Admin Center, click People in the sidebar, then select Deleted users > Deleted users.
- Click the user you want to permanently delete from the list. A screen appears with the user's name and their associated tickets.
- Click Delete User.