Announcing changes to the Zendesk customer support experience

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  • DJ Jimenez

    Option 1: Contacting Customer Support from within a Zendesk product

    You can seek Zendesk help directly from your account by following these two simple steps:

    1. Click your profile Avatar in the upper right hand corner of any product.
    2. Click Help and this will launch your new messaging experience.

     You can self-serve right there, or we can connect you with someone at Zendesk to help you get the best support possible and the fastest resolution.


    Is it possible to restrict which agents can use this help feature? We would restrict this feature to admins only for 2 reasons:

    • Our Zendesk admin team should be looped in for any and all issues related to Zendesk
    • The Zendesk admin team is the first line of support for issues / inquiries questions due to how we customized the instance. This speeds up our resolutions and keeps messaging  about the instance consistent
  • Mark Powell

    This style of support really does not meet the needs of a business to business customer with complex queries about the product/service. We need a proper enterprise solution that uses email/ticketing system; we don't have time to "chat" to a representative all day. We need to be able to create a ticket and have it worked on while we are able to continue with our own work. Please do not neglect how you used to support your customers so successfully in the past!

  • CJ Johnson

    If I'm reading this correctly, this means that you will no longer be utilizing email or forms for any Support requests, unless an account pays for Premier support, is that correct? 

    And there is now no reply time SLA for *any* level of Zendesk support, is that correct? 

  • Kelly Danner

    Hi @... -

    Reply Time SLAs are available with all of our Premier plan subscriptions - that won't change at all. You can check out those plans above and in the link to the website, or you can contact your sales representative for additional information.

    Email and forms will be used, but much more rarely. Your primary way to get in contact with us will be over messaging. From that entry over messaging, we may do a channel switch to email or phone, but we'll be shooting to resolve your issue right within the widget. Email and forms have served us well for many years, but we're excited about the opportunity for authentication and rich, conversational experiences that messaging bring.

  • CJ Johnson

    @... Can you clarify how messaging has better authentication that email and forms requiring email? 

    Edit: Just as an additional note, you actually cannot actually check out SLAs for Premier plans above or in the link to the website.

  • Kelly Danner

    Thanks for your feedback, @.... One of the things that we love about messaging is that it can be asynchronous or live. You can jump on to start a conversation with us, a ticket is created, and you can come back 3 days later - your conversation AND our updates will be right there. So we get to capitalize on both the asynchronous / long form nature of email, and the conversational, fast, easy real time messaging. Once you're there, you can also feel free to ask us to switch over to email to continue working with you - we'll be happy to join you over email. The benefit of in-product messaging as a starting point is that we can have that actual authentication that tells us who is contacting us from within an authenticated location. We are going to be looking to collect customer feedback post-live, and will be eager to hear what you think.

  • Kelly Danner

    Hey @... - We won't be limiting access at this time, because we know that so many users who do need support from Zendesk don't have permissions as Admins (such as report writers, support managers, etc). We are looking ahead to implementing a feature to redirect agents to work with their admins first, but that won't be ready right away. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Mark Powell

    @... Our feedback is that we just want to keep using ticket forms because they give us the all flexibility and consistency that we need for enterprise technical support. This may not be considered "how it's done in 2021". I can see how Messaging is good for quick queries, but with a strong bank of Zendesk admin experience we often resolve these kinds of issues ourselves. It's the complex issues that we need to use ticket/email for and we do not want to hear that will be removed/replaced in the near, or long-term, future.

  • CJ Johnson

    Another big downside is that when you have multiple issues occurring, you cannot just file multiple tickets, now I have to wait for the chat to wrap up with issue #1 before I can do anything about issue #2. 

  • Kelly Danner

    @... - Thanks for the question - we'll be using the Multi Conversations feature, so that you can have a conversation going with Sales, a conversation with Advocacy about Explore and another conversation going with Advocacy about Support triggers, all at the same time. No need to wrap up Issue 1 before working on Issue 2 - you're in control of the number of conversations/tickets you have going simultaneously. You can see documentation on that feature here

    @... - Thanks for the feedback. We are laser focused on enabling a frictionless way for you to receive support on complex technical queries as well as simple account changes. That path will include switching to email whenever you ask, and continuing with asynchronous ticketing.

  • Mark Powell

    @... Ok, thanks. We would still like to retain the traditional way of raising a ticket, with a ticket form. This is the frictionless method for us, rather than going through Messaging and then having to ask to be switched to email.

  • C.W. Holeman III

    This is a truly awful announcement. Chat is the least effective method of communication for us with your organization. I am often able to resolve something on a call in 3 minutes, after wasting an hour in a chat. Not to mention the lack of real tickets!

    I regularly have chats drop out, not connect, etc. etc. If this is going to be the only way to contact your technical support (a several-times-a-week activity) we may have to start looking around at other solutions.

    This is appalling.

  • Kelly Danner

    @... Thanks for providing this feedback on your experience with Chat. We're aware of the chats dropping, not connecting, misrouting. Our implementation of messaging should resolve these issues, which we know are very disruptive to you receiving quality service. 

    Your feedback on Chat as a less effective channel is a new perspective, and I thank you for sharing. Our data shows that Chat consistently has a higher CSAT, shorter time to resolve, and faster first response time than every other channel. We're looking to our messaging implementation as just one change to continuing to improve in all of these areas. And while we're leveraging messaging, we will still empower our teams to always switch to phone or email if those are the best channels to resolve your issues quickly. 

  • Nisee Jeans

    Maybe the reason your data shows that Chat consistently has a higher CSAT, shorter time to resolve, and faster first response time than every other channel is that you are ignoring your other channels. My channel preference is email. For the past year and a half, Zendesk has had beyond horrible response times on the email channel. I have waited for 7 days before the first response on one Ticket and 14 days before the first response on another Ticket. Follow-up responses are not necessarily timely either. It seems a bit backwards coming from a Support company marketing all the channels you support for users to utilize. 

  • C.W. Holeman III


    If this is The Way going forward that tells us that you don't believe in your own ticketing system. (Yikes!)

    As things stand now, anytime a ticket gets more than very, very simple, it gets converted into a standard ticket. So it's kinda obvious that those would have longer resolution times. (Or did you take that into account?)

    As both an admin & someone who works in the queue all day, having that chat popup in my way on Every. Single. Tab. is really annoying. But if you pop it out into its own tab, the total lack of a visual indicator on the tab when a response comes in means that I often don't notice when a response happens. Then the chat times out & I have to start all over again.




  • CJ Johnson

    It looks like the new plan is to insist that only admins can reach out, but leave it available to everyone. I was sent this big scripted response today, I *am* an admin so it's extra frustrating. It's also very unclear why I have to provide my email and domain every time I chat in, when I am doing so from a connected, signed in account. 

    >Thanks for waiting, CJ. As per checking, the subdomain you provided shows that you're not an admin or the owner of this account. We ask that all non-admins or owners work first with their internal admin that maintain their Zendesk instance. This is the best way for you to get support, as your admin team knows the custom fields and system configuration in your instance, and has the permissions to make settings changes and review configuration.

  • Amie Brennan

    What happens in the event where the Zendesk support platform is not available because Zendesk is down. It makes live chatting for help a little impossible. 

    Zendesk was inaccessible yesterday across multiple pods and I had to revert to using the ticket form to submit a request for the issue. 

  • Kelly Danner

    Hey, great question @.... We will have paths for you to use messaging on our website, as well as right here on the Help Center, without having to log in. It's a major priority for us that you're able to get in touch fast when you're having a system accessibility issue, and a big focus area for us. Thanks for asking!

  • Tina Yates

    Can you please get Chat to work through Explore, when I click on Help all I get is the bot which has never provided an accurate answer. If I click on my profile while in Explore the Help option is not available except going to the Help Centre. 

  • Amie Barder

    Does shifting to messaging-only on August 28th mean end-user file attachment will be released before then? If not, how will we send screenshots, etc. to support?

  • Brandon Carroll

    The issue I have here is that you all are going to try to automate all of this stuff as much as possible, and it just doesn't work that way within large Enterprise orgs. Our needs are complex and unpredictable, unfortunately. This means that we need a human (not a computer) to interpret it and help us. Having to select answers "from a bot" reminds me of calling in at Comcast to get a specific request handled. In fact, you are putting the onus on the client to provide context on their own issue to make it as easy as possible for your team to answer our queries. There is a great book about this concept called "Shadow Work." You are doing just that; placing more work on the user to self serve to make it more efficient to scale your own support efforts. This is not why we pay 5-figures to partner with you all (and have for 7+ years). This is not a good long-term strategy. 

  • Zendesk Admin

    So essentially, a company that provides customer support tools has deprecated customer support. The proposed solution for many is to move up in license tier specifically to avoid receiving this deprecated support.

  • Lila Kingsley

    I am shocked to see the details about losing ticket history on "inactive" tickets as well as hearing that your help center login attempts will fail unless you set a new password)...this has not been called out in any communication :(

    The article states the only path to retain tickets before they are gone on 8/26/21 is to manually export them as a PDF one by one--is there no batch mechanism available?  I refer to closed support tickets fairly regularly and have a significant number of tickets so this approach is very cumbersome.

  • CJ Johnson

    What does this section mean for people using Google SSO? 

    After we roll out our new customer support experience, you must create a new password for your Zendesk Help Center account. You must do this before you can log into the Zendesk Help Center. If you don’t, your login attempts will fail.

  • Zendesk Admin

    As noted above - what are the implications for SSO users?

  • Kelly Danner

    Lots of info for you here! Thanks for all of the clarifying questions.

    @... - Absolutely, one of the changes we’re rolling out is an improved widget across products. Explore will have a widget with both great self-service, and access to our Zendesk Customer Support team when you need help.

    @... - We’re utilizing the Sunshine Conversations platform, and end-user attachments are indeed supported.

    @... - Reach out to our team and we can pull a report with your previous tickets

    @... and @... - you can still log in using SSO

    and @... and @... - Thank you both for your feedback. Our intent is neither to automate blindly, nor to reduce your level of support. Rather, we've designed what we believe is an easier and more personalized way for our customers to get help - while also giving you access to great self service. 

    This change does make us a messaging-first support organization, and we think that it will deliver a faster, more flexible experience for you, with a vast improvement over Chat today. You will always be able to easily connect with an agent over messaging. Additionally, we will continue providing support through other channels when you are working with a Zendesk Customer Support team member and it would be helpful to speak live on the phone, for example.

    Our goal is to drive faster resolutions across the board, which we've heard is what our customers want, too. We encourage your continued feedback as we launch this to see how we did in achieving that intent and where we can continue to improve.

  • Zendesk Admin

    @... - With respect, while I understand that is how things are being pitched, it simply doesn't fit the facts from my perspective. Again, if being Messaging-first was such a boon, you wouldn't be reminding people that they can maintain their other expected modes of initiating support and service by upgrading license tiers. That action alone contrasts this move (deprecated service) against the previous standard (which is now framed as an upgrade).

    I can imagine why Zendesk would be looking to make a change. Your turnaround times on emails were abysmal, and the common inability to get through to someone on the phone is well known. I am not the only professional I know who likes your product, but considers it to be essentially unsupported. Perhaps it was naive of us as customers, but my hope was that Zendesk would endeavor to improve those channels, rather than abandon them without having made a good faith effort.

    As others have stated, Messaging is an awkward and often inconvenient method for initiating all support requests, even if they are immediately handed off to a more effective method. If Messaging really was a superior route, you could roll it out, leave the other methods available, and see people flock to it. I think you know that wouldn't happen. It has to be required because people do not and will not prefer it.

    Messaging may indeed be an improvement over Chat, but that's setting the bar extremely low. Zendesk didn't just swap it in for Chat. With this announcement, Zendesk replaced phone, email, web form, etc all with Messaging as a means for getting support. Spin it how you like, but that signifies support deprecation, likely as a cost cutting measure.

    This feels like Zendesk taking its turn in an old technology dynamic - be at the top of a given market segment with such assurance that you start trading good will for a little extra bottom line benefit. It rarely goes well.

  • Philipp Krebs

    I'm not impressed by this change, simply because the channel should whatever the customer prefers, not what the supplier prefers. Of course you can try nudging your customers in one direction or the other, but the fact that a business software vendor charging 50 USD or more per user for a support platform doesn't accept an email to a support email address anymore seems at least irritating.

  • Pat Harland-Lee

    Just my two cents, I actually think it will be easier for the ways that I currently interact with Zendesk, which is currently ONLY via email (I didn't even know they had a phone number!).

    My current process is to either go to my emails and write an email to the support email, or open up a new tab, go to the Zendesk website, start entering details and see if any articles come up, and if not then just fill out the form.

    In both of these cases, not having to leave Zendesk at all is a pretty big time saver compared to the time it takes to pick an answer from the BOT or say 'no take me to a human'.

    I also appreciate that this single in-app widget can show multiple conversations. I also like that I can treat it exactly the same as email and come back days later and pick up the convo.

    One thing I do agree with is that it does need the ability to lockdown this widget to user roles, as all Zendesk requests should come through me since I know the answer to most basic questions/issues and can provide best practice to my colleagues.

    I'll admit that I don't have the problem of the notifications popping up on every browser tab that has Zendesk open because I make it a habit to only ever use one browser tab for ZD, otherwise the Time Tracking app double-counts time :P

    Lastly, given the above feedback from other people, it seems that Zendesk should not be FORCING this change, but rather providing users with more options, analysing which options get taken the most, and taking feedback on why that is in their Customer Success meetings with us or via agent shadowing. I know it's not a financial feasible approach to simply throw more new hires whenever you get more clients, but this is taking Zendesk agent efficiency a little too far, and could perhaps instead improve response times with KPIs and process improvements (everyone should be open to change as long as the goal makes sense)!

  • mis

    I am firmly in the camp that this is a really bad idea. Has anyone had a *consistently* good support experience with chat? With your Internet carrier? Another vendor?

    I can count on one hand the times I've been on a support chat request that was solved timely and in an effective manner. The other 99 times the support agent has been multi-tasking - I would ask a question and wait minutes for a response. Or, I couldn't send a screenshot of what I was seeing (no attachment support available) and have to fumble through trying to type out what I was seeing. Or the chat got disconnected. Etc.

    Chat might be fine for the "where's my package?" type of inquiries on Amazon, but for technical problems that require a real-time conversation to convey the problem due to complexity, chat is not the right channel, IMO. What I can convey in a five-minute conversation will take 20 for me to type out to someone.

    Please bring back phone support as a first contact option. 


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