You can use trigger conditions to let assignees know when a side conversation is created, closed, replied to, and reopened. You can also use trigger actions to create email side conversations and child ticket side conversations automatically.
This article includes these sections:
Trigger conditions for side conversations
The default behavior for side conversations is that the assignee on the ticket doesn’t receive emails, but they do see temporary, in-product notifications. If you want the assignee to get emails about side conversations, you need to use triggers.
You can create trigger conditions for side conversations so that assignees know when a side conversation is created, closed, replied to, and reopened. Without them, the agent assigned to the ticket (who, ideally, is also the creator of the side conversation) may have a hard time knowing what’s going on with a particular issue.
This section includes these topics:
About trigger conditions for side conversations
Side conversation + Is + Created
Created is the initial state of a newly created side conversation.
Side conversation + Is + Closed
Closed is the state of a side conversation after the agent clicks the Mark done button to close the side conversation.
Side conversation + Is + Replied to
Replied to is the state of a side conversation after someone adds a reply.
Side conversation + Is + Reopened
Reopened is the state of a side conversation after the agent clicks the Reopen button to reopen a side conversation.
For a complete list of the different conditions and actions that you can use to create triggers, see Trigger conditions and actions reference.
- Set ticket status to pending or on-hold upon creation of a side conversation
- Automatically assign the author of a side conversation to the ticket
- Send an email notification to the ticket assignee when a conversation side conversation is replied to by others
- Set a ticket’s status to open if a side conversation is replied to by anyone but the assignee
Example 1: When side conversations are created
Here’s an example of a trigger condition about how to handle side conversations when they are created.
Example 2: Updating ticket status when side conversations are replied to
Here’s an example about updating ticket status when side conversation replies are replied to.
Example 3: Notifying ticket assignees when side conversations are replied to
Here’s an example about notifying ticket assignee when side conversations are replied to:
Trigger actions for side conversations
You can save time in certain situations by creating side conversations automatically using triggers. You may want to do this if your company has a process that doesn’t really require manual review.
This section includes these topics:
About trigger actions for side conversations
There are two trigger actions that create side conversations. They are:
- Side conversation via email: Creates an email side conversation. To see this option, email side conversations must be enabled.
- Side conversation via child ticket: Creates a child ticket side conversation. To see this option child ticket side conversations must be enabled.
When the conditions in the trigger are met, the trigger runs, and the side conversations specified by action statements are created. These actions are similar to ones for side conversation in macros (see Using macros to create side conversations).
It’s also important to note that when a side conversation is created via a trigger, the Side conversation + Is + Created condition is suppressed.
About creating child ticket side conversation via triggers
When creating a child ticket side conversation, it's best to use a ticket that is already assigned to an agent as the parent ticket. This is true regardless of whether the child ticket is created manually from the ticket interface or via a trigger. When a child ticket is created, if the parent ticket has not been assigned to an agent or group, then the resulting child ticket will include the Zendesk System User as the requester of the child ticket.
If an agent with access to the parent ticket is not part of the group the child ticket is assigned to, the agent cannot update the child ticket, unless they are the requester or follower on the child ticket.
On triggers that create side conversation child tickets, you may want to consider adding an action for setting the assignee to an agent or group.
Example: Onboarding clients
Here’s an example of how someone might use triggers to create side conversations.
Let’s say that you have a business that operates co-working spaces. You want to streamline your process for onboarding new clients. You can use side conversations to make sure that these things happen automatically:
- Create a child ticket side conversation assigned to the Finance group. Make sure they have the client’s information, know when to start billing, and that they bill the correct amount.
- Create an email side conversation and send it to the Facilities vendor. Ask them to schedule a deep cleaning of the clients new office before their start date.
Each of these side conversations are repeatable, templated interactions that lend themselves to being automatically created via trigger.
Things you will need
- Ticket forms with custom ticket fields
- New or updated triggers that include side conversation actions
- Side conversations and child ticket side conversations are enabled
- An admin creates a special “New client” ticket form that includes various required fields for new client info, such as “Name,” “Start date,” and “Office number.”
- An admin creates or updates triggers to automatically create side conversations about onboarding a new client.
- A manager logs a ticket, using the “New client” ticket form.
When the conditions in the triggers in step 2 are met, the triggers run, and these side conversations are created:
- A child ticket side conversation is created and assigned to the Finance group. They are asked to set the new client up for billing.
- An email side conversation is created and sent to the Facilities vendor. They are asked to schedule a deep cleaning of the client’s office before their start date.
- The manager and the Finance group use the child ticket side conversation to discuss onboarding tasks.
- The manager and the Facilities vendor use the email side conversation to discuss onboarding tasks.
Creating side conversations using triggers
Before you proceed, make sure that side conversations is enabled. You may also want to enable child ticket side conversations.
- In Admin Center, click Objects and rules in the sidebar, then select Business rules > Triggers.
- Click Add trigger to create a new trigger, or open an existing trigger for editing instead.
- (Recommended) In the Conditions section, add strict condition statements, to avoid creating unnecessary side conversations.
For an example of how to do this, see Creating strict condition statements for side conversation triggers.
- In the Actions section, type “side conversation” into the field, and then choose one of the available side conversation actions.
Note: Email side conversations and child ticket side conversations must be enabled to see these options.
Repeat this step as many times as needed to add additional side conversation actions to the trigger. For a workflow example, see Example: Onboarding clients.
- (Recommended) Add an Assignee action to the trigger.
When the trigger runs, the author of the side conversation (email or child ticket) matches the assignee in the originating ticket. If the ticket is unassigned when the trigger runs, a generic Zendesk system user is used instead.
- Fill in the To, Subject, and Message fields, and then click Add action.
You can use placeholders in these fields.
Make sure that you enter a valid recipient in the To field. This is especially important with email trigger actions since they must be typed correctly. If you enter an invalid email address, there will be no warning in the user interface that the email wasn’t sent.
- If you are creating a new trigger, click Create. If you are editing an existing trigger, click Save instead.
- (Recommended) If you have an existing trigger that includes the Side conversation + Is + Created condition, note which actions are included and then remove them from that trigger. Then, add those actions to the new or updated trigger from the steps above. We recommend doing this because, when a side conversation is created via a trigger, the Side conversation + Is + Created condition is suppressed.
Creating strict condition statements for side conversation triggers
If you have triggers that create side conversations, we recommend that they include strict condition statements to avoid the creation of unnecessary side conversations. One way of doing this is with tags.
To create strict condition statements for side conversation triggers
- Create a tag called triggered_sc.
- Open a trigger for editing that is used to create side conversations.
- Add the following condition statement to the trigger: Tags + Contain none of the following + triggered_sc.
Doing this means that the trigger doesn't run, if this tag is already on the ticket.
- Add the following action statement to the trigger: Add tags + triggered_sc.
If the trigger runs and a new side conversation is created, this tag is added to the ticket. The tag is what prevents the trigger from running again in the future and creating new, unnecessary side conversations (because of the condition in step 3).
Is it possible to automatically include the Ticket Number in a Side Conversation?
You could use a macro that will include the Ticket ID in a side conversation. More information in this article: Using macros to start side conversations (Collaboration add-on).
I wasn't able to find a solution that would allow you to populate this information automatically via a trigger or automation unfortunately.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you for the quick reply! Actually, after discussing this with others on my team, we realized the same thing! We already use a lot of macros and in many of them we have both the ticket number and subject line auto-populated into the message.
Happy to help Roger :)
Can anyone explain the need for this condition in Example 2: Updating ticket status when side conversations are replied to?
Hi @... -
This condition prevents the ticket from reopening when the assignee is also the requester, so that the support agent may reply to the side conversation without altering the ticket status.
Hope this helps!
Is it possible to NOT notify for Slack side conversations?
Yes. In a round about way.
I have a private slack channel with Zendesk integrated. "Private Internal Notes".
So any side convo's there don't notify anyone.
@... I think I wasn't clear, sorry!
I have a side conversation notification using the instructions in the KB. This works great for email side conversations.
If we use Slack side conversations, we also hit that same trigger. I'd like to not hit the trigger on Slack side conversations.
Hi - Similar to Geran's question above.
I'd like to have a trigger for Email-based side conversations to update the main ticket (done), but I don't want the same to happen to Ticket-based side conversations. Is it possible to add a "Side Conversation Type" to the list of conditions? Or is there a workaround?
I'm afraid to say that we don't have a possible way to add a "Side Conversation Type" since there's no such condition for side conversations.
The only thing we have to play within this realm is that the child ticket itself has a channel of "side conversations" as do comment updates that come from the parent's side conversation, but those are only on the child ticket. The side conversation conditions themselves on the parent ticket don't have any channel information that we can select.
This is really an interesting use case. If you can share with me the details on how you want to set your triggers up if we had this, that would be very helpful for our developers; as part of the feedback.
Customer Advocacy Team
Thanks, Jim. Use case: The email-based side conversation response needs to notify the assignee that there's been a response. Done.
However, the ticket-based side conversation response does not need to notify the assignee of the main ticket since they, the assignee, was automatically set as the requester of the side conversation ticket.
Does that make sense?
The only thing that we can think of is possibly inverting it and not notifying from the child ticket since adding a "channel" is not a side conversation condition, and using the other side conversation one from the email the same way. Other than that, there's no other workaround that we can offer; I'm afraid to say.
Customer Advocacy Team
Hello! Is there a way to set up a trigger to send a follow-up message if the side conversation has been replied to within 24 - 72 hours?
Jen Ma there is currently no way to use automations to send a reply to an individual side conversation. Automations are scoped to the ticket, so there's no direct way to interact with or update individual side conversations. I've done some experiments with combining triggers with side conversation conditions and tags and views to keep track of tickets that have "stale" side convos, but it's a relatively limited approach. If you're interested in that let me know and I could maybe start a different post to talk it over.
Hi Toby Sterrett
We have enabled both Email and Slack capability for Side Conversation and also we got the below trigger to notify the ticket assignee whenever there is an update(reopen) to the side conversation.
It's working alright for Email, but when it comes to Slack the notifications generated from this trigger become REALLY annoying as each message in that slack thread would result in an email. Which you could imagine what will the assignee's Inbox be like if there is a lengthy slack thread.
I wonder is it in your backlog to separate the type of side conversation between?
Hi -- this may be impossible but would there be any way to have automatic replies not trigger the reopening of a ticket/email notification of a reply? Often, when we have to email 3rd party recipients, we get automatic replies notifying us that they have received our request and will reply with a resolution. We do not want the auto-reply to trigger these updates, just the resolution. Is there a time delay or something we could add as a condition?
Hey Delaney F. -
A bit of smoke and mirrors here, but I think it will work. First, you'll want to submit the ticket as open when the side conversation is created and have a tag added, let's call it side_conversation. That way, the ticket won't be 'reopened' when the initial reply comes back.
From there, you would use a companion automation where if hours since open is > 1 and tags contains side_conversation but tags does not contain put_on_hold. Then, the action here would be to set the status to On Hold and add the tag put_on_hold.
Any future updates should reopen & notify per normal. The only catch here is that if the actual reply comes back before the automation moves the ticket to on-hold, the agent could miss it.
Hope this helps!
An alternative option would be to add a "Comment Text does not contain the following string" condition in your trigger. That string should be some consistent phrasing from the autoresponder email so that the trigger will not reopen on those autorespond emails, and instead reopens when the actual reply occurs later.
We would like to differentiate between the types of Side Conversations. We use all three channels differently - emails for external vendors, child tickets for internal teams, and Slack for quick support questions. I'd love to be able to tag each ticket with the type of side conversation to track for reporting and adherence to process.
Is there any way to do this now?
Hi Carmelo Rigatuso
You could leverage the option of using macros to start side conversations and add the tag to the ticket using a secondary action on the same macro.
Hope this helps!
Thanks Brandon Tidd,
I actually do for child and email side conversations, but not Slack. But I'll see if adding tags to the child/email tickets can help me filter out the slack ones with a negative condition on those tags.
Thanks for the tip!
I've set up a test trigger exactly as shown in the example for #2 (change parent ticket status to Open after reply on side conversation) above, but after extensive testing over the last week, I've been unable to have it activate in our environment.
My staff and I have tried with public/private comments, agent updates and end-user updates, side conversations and child tickets, and not once has it worked for us. We sat down and read this article as well as several other ones regarding Side Conversations and Triggers.
We have zero triggers/tags that would prevent a trigger from completing a status change on a ticket in our environment. By all available indicators, this should be working. Are we missing something really simple?
Hi RJ Hines,
Sorry to hear you're having trouble. I would suggest checking the event log on the ticket to see exactly what's going on with each update. Beyond that, you might consider opening up a support conversation with the advocacy team from within your instance. Hope this helps!
We'd reviewed the event logs of every update on all our testing tickets as we went, which is how we know that this process is not firing on any of them. All our other business rules are activating as expected. I'll contact support.
Hi RJ Hines – I just tried the #2 example in our test account and it did work as expected. One thing I would suggest during testing is that the email address the side conversation is sent to has to be an email address that is not associated with the current ticket assignee, as 2 of the conditions prevent the ticket status from changing to open when the assignee makes a comment. For my test I sent an email to a personal email address that isn't associated with any agent profiles in the test account and replied from that personal email account, which worked.
Toby Sterrett it doesn't seem to be working for me, and I did use my personal email address. When I as the agent slack the channel with a question, an email IS generated that someone has replied to your side conversation (so its backwards). When someone in the Slack channel responds to my inquiry, my ticket gets the update but I do not get an email saying "Someone has responded..
Also, I know the examples say Assignee (me as an agent right?) IS NOT current user, but I don't get that. I am the assignee! I tried it anyways with and without it anyways and it still doesn't work. I only get emails when I generate a slack in the ticket, not when I receive a response.
Hi Benny Samuel,
The sample provide here would send an email to the assignee of the ticket when someone else replies to the side conversation. That is the reason why ASSIGNEE IS NOT CURRENT USER is being used. Current user is the person who last updated the ticket.
Translating the sample trigger here would mean, "If the side conversation was replied to not by the assignee but by someone else(could be another agent or an end user), the trigger will send an email to the assignee saying that somebody replied to the side conversation"
Thank you Charles Gresula ! That's exactly what I was confused about, and now things work. I guess while I was setting up the trigger, I considered myself to be the "current" user AND of course the assignee. But I failed to think about it from the ticket's perspective of who might be the current user doing the action. Thanks so much!
That is exactly right Charles Gresula, thank you for that!
Please sign in to leave a comment.