If side conversations are enabled, it's the perfect way to reach out to other departments or external partners. However, for many teams, they can become repetitive, especially if there’s a specific structure to the initial messages. You can use macros to start side conversations to ensure that key information is included automatically when the conversation is started.
- The requester’s initial message
- Some additional questions from the agent
- Some custom field values
- The originating ticket’s ID and URL
About macros for side conversations
You can add a Side conversation action to any macro and when it runs, a new side conversation is started and immediately pops open. Ticket information and some extra boilerplate text are added automatically to the body by means of placeholders, leaving you to add any additional recipients or information that you want to include.
There are a few important things to note about how this feature behaves:
- When you use a macro to start a side conversation, the macro is not applied to any of the side conversations that are already on the ticket. It is only applied to the new side conversation that you're starting now.
- Keep in mind that your macro may include other actions that change ticket fields. If you don't submit the ticket, those changes will be lost.
There are three Side conversation actions in macros:
Side conversation via email: When you add this action to
a macro, you can also enter the email addresses of the users
that you want to include in the email notification.
If you manually enter an email address into the To field, make sure that the email address is correct. The email addresses you enter will become the recipients of a side conversation when the macro is used.
Side conversation via Slack: End users receive ticket
updates in Slack (see Using Slack in side
When you add this action to a macro, you can specify only one Slack channel and must enter its name manually. Enter an existing Slack channel name so that it automatically populates the "To" field in the side conversation when you apply the macro.
If you enter a partial Slack channel name when adding this action, the "To" field will display a list of all channels that contain the partial name when the macro is applied. You can then select the channel from the list.
- Side conversation via child ticket: When you use this action, you create a side conversation on the original ticket and a new child ticket is created (see Using side conversation child tickets).
Creating macros for side conversations
Anyone (agents or admins) can create a personal macro for side conversations. Administrators can also create shared macros for side conversations. You cannot create macros for specific channels.
You may want to use macros to start side conversations to ensure that key information is included automatically when the conversation is started.
To create personal macros for side conversations
- In Admin Center, click Workspaces in the sidebar, then select Agent tools > Macros.
- Click the All shared macros drop-down menu, then select Personal macros.
- Click the Add macro button.
- Enter the macro name, and add actions for your macro as described in Building macro action statements.
- In the Actions section, choose one of the Side conversation actions from the drop-down list, enter then enter a subject and your message.
- Fill in the To, Subject, and Message fields
for information you regularly need or use.
You can use placeholders in these fields for information that you regularly need or use.
For example, this macro starts a side conversation and includes the first message from the requester, plus some information from the original ticket:Note: You cannot add images. Markdown in agent signatures does not render in emails sent through side conversations.
- Click Create.
Applying macros to side conversations
Macros for side conversations create a new side conversation and automatically add ticket information and some extra boilerplate to the body of the message.
To apply macros to side conversations
- From the ticket, click the Apply macro button in the
- Typically, your five most commonly used macros from the past
week appear at the top of the macros list.
You can select one of these, begin typing the name of the macro, or scroll through the list to find the one you want to use.
The most-used macros display can be disabled, in which case, you'll only see the all macros list. For information, see Disabling the most-used macros option.
The actions defined in the macro will be applied. If the macro updated the ticket comment, you can edit the text before submitting the ticket.
- When the macro with a Side conversation action runs, it
immediately starts a single new side conversation with the
ticket information and boilerplate text specified by the
macro. The side conversation is not saved though until you
add a recipient and click Send.
- Add a recipient to the side conversation.
- If needed, change the subject of the side conversation and add, remove, or change information in the message.
- Click Send.
- If the macro updated any ticket fields, make sure that you also submit the ticket. For example, if your macro starts a side conversation and also changes a ticket's group, the side conversation will be opened, but the ticket group change will not be saved until you submit the ticket.
Can we get rich text formatting or markdown support for these macro's similar to how it is currently supported when creating side conversations via the Agent Workspace?
I would like to add text fields in side conversations. We have a macro for a side conversation, which details the required information to be sent to programming when there is an issue. However, we have to place the cursor at the end of the requirement to add information to the ticket. It would save "click's" if we could just tab through the required fields. One thought I had was to add a table, however, I would like to use something that is native in Zendesk. Thoughts?
Can we add attachments to the side conversation Macro please?
Are you able to create more than one side conversation with the same macro? We run two sub processes and I'd like my agent to only use one macro (so they don't forget to run a second).
I created a macro that allowed me to do so, but when I run it I only get one of the send windows.
Currently I am testing out a trigger where the macro adds a tag, and that tag triggers another side conversation (I'm also testing out the 'side conversation is created' condition), but this wouldn't allow the agent to customize that second side conversation email.
That is a good question! Looking into this, I'm getting a bit of a yes/no answer. When going to create a macro with an action to start a side conversation, once you select an option (ex. Side conversation via email) - you are unable to select that option again when adding an additional action. That being said, there is no restriction on adding a different kind of side conversation. In theory, you could set up a macro that allows you to create a side conversation via email and then one via child ticket at once. You will only see one of the side conversations pop up at once; however if you click on the "+" sign by "Side conversations" on the ticket and select the option that didn't automatically pop up, you will see the other side conversation created by the macro.
I hope this gives you an option that can work for your team!
Is there a way to apply multiple macros to one type of side conversation? Use case: We have a team that sends task requests to another department (B to B). These requests are broken down by type, however, it could be 1 account/client that has multiple types of requests. The way we are doing it now is that we need to send 1 side conversation per type. Due to the other company's limited support features, they can only sort their incoming tickets one way. We've chosen newest to oldest. However, we're finding that some of their agents are solving ticket requests for one account/client at different times in different orders.
What we are looking for is the ability to apply multiple side conversations or "text" (say a macro) to just one side conversation, this way it would be 1 side conversation - email and the body would have the 1-6 requests within the body of the email. Kind of what we do with macros already but macros cannot be applied to side conversations unless the macro is built WITH the side conversation condition. And we can't apply multiple side conversations because it just replaces each other.
1. Create additional macros to support these complex side conversations. Creating macros to support multiple requests in a side conversation will allow you to accomplish your goal by applying a single macro. This also gives you an option to have the macro tag the ticket for tracking purposes.
2. You can use the free Project Management app to create multiple child tickets from one parent ticket.
If neither of these options work for you, I encourage you to share some more details of your use case in this product feedback thread where others are discussing ways to improve side conversation functionality. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!
Is there a way to create a rich text format template for side conversations in email?
We are trying to match the format that we have in the emails with side conversations without success.
There are certain limitations with the composer of the side conversations:
Thank you and have a wonderful day ahead!
I agree with Emilie; please allow for attachments in side conversation macro actions. It's currently missing and would be super useful.
Yes, I am aware I can manually add attachments each time I use the macro.
Hello, when do you expect macros to be available within the side conversations themselves? Thanks
Hi Guillermo, thanks for writing in!
We can't guarantee a timeframe and provide any information from the road map but for this particular feature, it looks like it is not yet there. We recommend posting this on our Support Product feedback page so you can get engagement with other users needed that functionality and our product managers will also share information. You can post it here: Feedback - Ticketing System (Support). You can also check our product updates page from time to time. Thank you!
Hey Guys, I am trying to figure if its possible to use macro to update an existing child conversation ticket instead of creating one.
I can't seem to find any condition in the macro that can update existing side conversation ticket.
As it turns out, only Side Conversation creation is supported via macros.
However, you can update a side conversation ticket using a macro by opening it directly in Support and treat it as a normal ticket.
Please refer to Building macro action statements.
Hi Dane - I know for a fact but what I am really looking is if we can possibly update the side conversation by macro and you've answered it NO.
Hope we can have this feature in the future and there's no need to go with the child ticket to update the side conversation on the ticket itself.
Is it possible to expose the conversation thread ID so that we can ensure that our third parties can pick it up and put it in their own automated replies? Is the conversation ID available as a placeholder in Macros?
Hi Tim, thanks for writing in! To confirm, you are going to send the side convo via email to your 3rd parties, is that correct? and how do you intend to expose the thread ID? However, upon testing, the conversation ID is part of the message ID, and event ID when you look for it in the original email or headers. Looking into the behavior, I'm afraid, this cannot be exposed at the moment. And the conversation ID is not available too as a placeholder in macros.
Hi Jupete, thanks for commenting.
That's right essentially we are raising side conversations that are being responded to by 3rd party ticket management systems that strip out the message header, and create new tickets as a result. I found that with side conversations there is a hidden thread ID which is included as point 1 white text at the bottom of the e-mail. Including that in the response will ensure the thread is matched. But it sounds like this is not something that can be exposed, or altered via the templates and we will have to work with our suppliers around their system messages.
Thank you for your update, Tim! Yes, that is right, the thread ID is not yet possibly to be exposed. Appreciate your cooperation!
Are there any future plans to allow agents to use a macro to open side conversations via Slack?
Please sign in to leave a comment.