With Zendesk, you can have conversational experiences with your customers across messaging channels, including web, mobile, or social apps. It’s easy to automate right out of the box, or you can customize it with our open and flexible platform.
We recommend reading through this document if:
- You are currently using live chat and are considering moving to messaging. Find out whether you are using live chat or messaging.
- You are a new Suite customer deciding whether messaging or live chat is right for you.
This article includes the following topics:
Why choose messaging?
Messaging brings many new capabilities that live chat does not offer. While there is a small set of features that exist in live chat today that are not yet available with messaging, they will be available in the future. Some of the key benefits are discussed below.
Live chat only offers the ability to have session-based conversations, meaning they happen once, in real-time. A customer initiates a chat with your agent, receives assistance, and ends the chat, and that the conversation history is not saved. It's a single, stand-alone conversation that you cannot return to in the event your customer closes their app or browser, or if the agent ends the session.Messaging, on the other hand, allows for added flexibility, offering the ability to have both session-based conversations as well as ongoing, persistent chats. This conversation history is always available, meaning agents (and customers) can get context of past questions and actions taken. Customers therefore won’t need repeat or re-identify themselves, and agents won’t waste time collecting the same information or suggesting the same solutions that did not work previously.
Automation with Flow Builder
Messaging also offers new bot building capabilities to your web, mobile, and social channels—no code required. With Flow Builder, you can:
- Bring self-service to the forefront of the customer experience by creating guided flows.
- Give customers options to guide them to answers to common questions and suggest help center articles.
- Collect information in case an issue needs to be handed off to an agent.
- Use conditional flows to refine your bot, such as configuring different behavior inside and outside business hours.
- Data dip from other systems to provide contextual answers.
- Build once, deploy anywhere, including social channels such as your Web Widget, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, LINE, and Twitter DM.
Conversation-focused Agent Workspace
A refreshed experience for agents allows them to deliver seamless support without switching between dashboards or having customers repeat information. This unified experience allows agents to be much more efficient and collaborative with both their customers and other agents. Messaging is central to this experience.
- Easily go between communication channels. When conversing with a user via messaging, agents can send an email update or call the user without having to leave the workspace.
- Context at your fingertips. The Agent Workspace will automatically bring up details about the user you are currently messaging with, along with their past conversation history and interactions with other agents.
- Collaborate with ease. Connect your internal Slack group and you can contact others in your business to ask them questions or get their assistance on a tough issue.
- Live conversational updates. Be notified about incoming messages and respond in real-time across email, chat, phone and messaging. See when a customer is typing a response via messaging, or when a new WhatsApp message comes in.
- Update tickets seamlessly. Quickly update ticket forms and fields across channels, or assign a team member to quickly transfer a conversation. Pull in relevant details by integrating with over hundreds of apps in the Zendesk App Marketplace, ranging from workforce management to agent productivity, to have a unified view of the customer issue and offer fast assistance.
No coding required
Messaging provides all of these capabilities out-of-the-box. Simply set up a few configuration options and you’ll be ready to go. Establish links to your social and mobile channels easily. Even Flow Builder uses a graphical interface and does not require any code to create or maintain multiple conversation flows. All of these capabilities are intended to get you up and running with as little hassle as possible, so you can start conversing and assisting your valued customers.
With messaging, you can set up and manage all of your primary social channels as well as your web and mobile channels in one place, so you don’t have to sign in to every separate system to make changes. With this centralized management capability, you can ensure consistency of experience for your customers as well as save time and effort.
Extended capabilities with Sunshine Conversations
If you want a more customized experience than messaging offers out of the box, you can consider adding on Sunshine Conversations capabilities to your messaging solution. Sunshine Conversations is the underlying platform that messaging is built upon, and this additional access can be leveraged to customize your messaging experience at every level. However, be aware that access to some of these advanced features may mean additional usage costs as well as require some coding to get things exactly the way you want it.
- Customize the look of the chat. With Sunshine Conversations, you can change the colors, size, and shape of the widget.
- Rich embedded content. You can also add additional capabilities, such as rich content (like carousels, maps, seat selectors, etc.) directly into your messages that can provide a more engaging experience for your customers.
- Integrate data from external sources. If there is information from other business systems that you want to be able to access within messaging, Sunshine Conversations APIs can also help you bring in (or update) data from those systems. You can even include this additional data into your Agent Workspace tickets, for a more complete picture of your customer and their issue.
Use messaging for more than support. Sunshine Conversations can be used for all types of use cases - not just support. Here are just a few examples of ways you can apply messaging that don’t fall into the service landscape:
- Enable agents to recommend additional products to customers
- Help customers add items to their shopping cart and/or facilitate a complete purchase transaction
- Proactively message customers with new items, discounts, or rewards to build brand loyalty
- Connect customers with a local storefront for more personalized and hands-on service
- And many more!
Benefits of messaging capabilities with Zendesk
Thanks to messaging’s out-of-the-box capabilities, you can get your team up and running quickly and reap the benefits of the new system.
- No more repeating. By providing support wherever your customers are (omnichannel) and with conversation persistence, the customer never has to repeat themselves to a new agent or when they contact you through a different channel.
- Increased team productivity. The new unified Agent Workspace gives agents the context they need to respond to customers across any channel without having to log in or monitor separate web, mobile, and social channel conversations. A consistent user experience and simplified controls allow agents to be more productive by reducing context switching while still meeting the needs of all customers.
- 24/7 support with built-in automation. With Answer Bot, you can establish different protocols for when your agents are offline while still providing excellent service to your customers. Use article suggestions to recommend help center articles, configure Flow Builder to provide answers to common questions, or capture user information and create a ticket to respond to when agents return.
- Scale up your service. With all of these capabilities, your business will be able to scale up the amount of support it can offer your customers. Automation, off-hours support, and improved agent experiences all enable you to receive, address, and resolve more issues than ever before -- without straining your existing resources!
Why choose live chat?
Using both live chat and messaging
Customers who are onboarded with messaging as a default experience can no longer configure Web Widget (Classic) on a brand unless they switch off the messaging product at the account level. All existing customers upgrading from chat to messaging will have the option of enabling both chat and messaging widgets on their accounts.
Capabilities comparison matrix
To determine whether messaging or live chat is the right choice, we recommend going through the table below to see which has the functionality you need and, if you're currently using live chat, whether enabling messaging will not disrupt your existing customer experience or workflow.
|Live chat||Messaging||Messaging + Sunshine Conversations|
|Web Widget for websites||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Session-based conversations (real-time)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Answer Bot article suggestions||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Answer Bot Flow Builder (no code bot builder)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Action buttons (rich content)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Android and iOS SDKs for mobile apps||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Social messaging channels, including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, Twitter, etc.||No||Yes||Yes|
|Security-based restrictions (signed-in vs. anonymous users, for example)||Custom (available with minor custom development)||Yes||Yes|
|Basic widget configuration options (colors, logos, widget placement)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced widget configuration options||No||No||Yes|
|Remove the Zendesk logo from the Web Widget||No||No||Yes|
|Third-party integrations||Yes||Yes (through Zendesk Marketplace)||Yes (pre-built or custom)|
|Banning visitors||Yes||No||Yes (will require partner)|
|Multi-user chat||Yes||Yes (multi-agent only)||Yes (multi-user)|
|Proactive messages (client side, e.g. website)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Proactive notifications (server side, e.g. SMS, Whatsapp, etc.)||No||No||Yes|
|Visitor metadata (OS, device, platform)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Real-time APIs||Yes||Yes (Event Bridge only)||Yes (Event Bridge + Webhooks)|
|Embed into any application||No||No||Yes|
|Integrate third-party processes into conversation stream||No||No||Yes|
|Additional advanced features||--||No||Yes (contact Sales)|
* Chat API is in maintenance mode and available only for existing Chat customers. New customers or customers with requirements including social channels or persistent, ongoing conversations should use messaging or messaging + Sunshine Conversations
What is the best way to deal with a message request that is not served by an agent during business hours? If an agent does not reply, can you automate this with a trigger?
Messaging, as a channel, is always available to the customers. It is important to set expectations and collect enough information for the agents to resolve the issue.
For this, we can build out a flow in Flow Builder to collect more information from the end-user such as name, email or nature of the issue. (More information here). I would suggest capturing this information , irrespective of whether agents are online / offline.
In order to set expectations, we should setup auto-responders. (More information here).
You can create a view for your agents to pick up Messaging tickets created when the agents were offline with this condition - Channel is Messaging and Status is New.
In this article: https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360057096813, it was stated:
>Agents and customers cannot currently attach files to messaging comments.
Can you please clarify on this point since it was explained in the table comparison above.
I'm also confused on why this feature is not enabled by default? Attaching files like screenshots are very important for customer support application, it seems like a big oversight not including this feature.
Agents can now send files & images to the end user. We'll make sure that the help article you flagged gets updated. Thanks!
The ability for end users to send files & images to the agent will be coming very soon (within the next couple of months). Agree that it's a very important feature!
Hi, I can't find any documentation about whisper mode beyond the mention in this article?
I started playing around with Messaging on my zedesk account, but prefer to go back to using Chat. Even after I disable messaging in the admin center, chat is still not working how it used to before I started testing messaging. How can I get back to using chat?
Hi Samantha Sussman,
Thanks for your message. Can you please confirm that you have successfully disabled messaging by following the instructions here? After doing so, please let me know if Chat is still not working as expected and provide details/screenshots of what's happening. I'd be happy to investigate further.
Yes I have disabled messaging. I am still not seeing the chat dashboard behave as it used to. For example, I don't see anything on the Visitors page, and there is a message at the top that says "Your account is on the Zendesk Agent Workspace. You can see incoming and currently served chats on this page." However the Zendesk Agent Workspace doesn't show site visitors like the Visitors page used to. I used to use this page to manually send messages to certain site visitors, but I can no longer do that.
Based on the prompt you are getting in your Chat Dashboard, you are most likely still in Agent Workspace. After disabling Messaging please disable Agent Workspace in your account. Here's how you can disable it:
1. In Admin Center, click the Workspaces icon () in the sidebar, then select Agent workspace > Agent interface.
2. In the Agent workspace section, deselect the Enable the Agent Workspace setting.
3. Save your changes.When the workspace is successfully disabled, a warning message appears
For more detailed steps on how to disable Agent Workspace, you may check it here: Disable Agent Workspace.
I hope this helps!
Sorry for my confusion, but I see a lot of terms thrown around in various articles and need some clarification.
AFAIK, there is Legacy Chat, Live Chat, Web Widget (Classic), Web Widget, and Messaging.
From what I can tell, Legacy Chat is basically out of use now.
For the rest of it, it's confusing to know things like:
- what's the real difference between Web Widget (Classic) and Web Widget?
- Does Messaging fully replace Live Chat?
There are a lot of things we like about the Web Widget (Classic) that don't exist in Web Widget, for example, like enabling customers to submit a contact form via the chat window.
We also don't want live chat at all, but want to use the Web Widget to offer articles to users or offer a contact form. So, we should use the Web Widget (classic) and not the new Web Widget, correct?
With regards to the difference between Web Widget (Classic) vs. Web Widget, you may be referring to Web Widget (Classic) vs Web Widget Messaging.
Both actually are the same. It's just that the Web Widget Messaging has more features. For example, Web Widget Messaging can use Messaging. It can also be used with Answer Bot with Flow Builder.
Messaging doesn't replace it. Technically it can upgrade it since you can use Messaging works with multiple channels. In Messaging you can have Chat, Whatsapp & Facebook Messenger. With the Web Widget classic, you can use those features too but it'll be on separate integrations. So you need to set up one channel for Whatsapp, one channel for Facebook & etc.
If you are considering migrating to the Messaging version of the Web Widget, I would suggest checking out this article which would provide more of a comparison between the two in detail: Messaging vs. live chat: Which is right for you?
Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Dainne Lucena | Customer Advocacy Specialist
Any word if Security-based restrictions for messaging (signed-in vs. anonymous users) was released? Comparison matrix still says Q4 2021.
Hi Milton L,
Thanks for your question! Are you referring to JWT authentication within messaging here? If so, this has now been released. You can find more information here.
If not, would you mind sharing more information about what security feature you are describing exactly?
That's what I was after, thanks Miranda Burford :)
Does anyone experience that agents receive Social Media messages via Chat Live Box?
Is that normal or not?.. and how we can avoid this issue?
Thank you in advance,
Can you provide some more details on what you're talking about? Perhaps a screenshot? Thanks!
Thank you for reaching out.
We have experienced the following issue:
We are receiving social media messages (Like. FB, Instagram, etc) via chat box (screenshot enclosed) mixed with Live chat messages. And the agent is confused
We understand that social media messages should be appeared as an open ticket immediately and not to go through live chat box, right?
Any advice to avoid this from happening?
Based on the details that you have provided, it seems that you have added Facebook Messenger on the Messaging Channel. If that's the case, the normal behavior for it is it will be treated similar to live Chat. If you prefer FB Messenger channel to just be treated as a non-Live ticket, I suggest you add it in the Facebook Pages Channel instead.
With Messaging, I can't figure out how to replicate the contextual suggestions that we get automatically with Live Chat. It doesn't seem like the 'Show Help Center articles' node on the flow builder does anything other than suggest a specific admin selected list of articles.
Have I missed something or is it not supported yet? If it's not supported, is the feature on the roadmap?
It's a pretty big deal to be able to deflect with targeted articles based on what the user is doing in our product as the first thing that happens when the widget is opened.
When it comes to Flow Builder, your end-users can enter their inquiry on any steps that they are in and the Bot will still provide the article recommendation that is related to their inquiry.
Hope this helps!
No, I'm specifically looking for a Node type that I can add to the flow builder that does not require the user to enter anything at all, and instead does contextual and tag awareness like the classic widget.
We spent engineering effort to make the context awareness work very well. So I consider this a huge gap in the messaging widget, such that I can never replace the classic widget with the messaging widget until this functionality is added.
Thank you for the clarification. As it turns out, this isn't supported in Messaging. I understand the importance of this to promote a more user friendly experience.
I'd recommend creating a Community post separately for that with your use case to help get more visibility and votes on the idea. Then, others can share their use cases to further drive demand for that feature.
Is it possible to have Web Widget (Classic) on a contact us page for out of hours queries but use and the live chat on all other pages? Or does it have to be one or the other?
I hope all is well! Unfortunately, natively that is not possible. If you are using the Classic Widget for the website or Help Centre, the features enabled for one page will be replicated for all the others.
I hope this answers your question!
Is IP address tracking any different using Messaging vs Chat? The switch over to Agent Workspace has reduced our access to customer IPs for fraud purposes.
That is correct that the agent workspace has reduced our access to customer IPs. However, you may check the post from one of our product managers here: No IPs available in Chat. Per Ayush, getting access to the IPs is still on the roadmap but not to develop this year. Per Ayush, "is still on our roadmap, but unfortunately, we've had to push development to early next year." We hope this helps Thank you!
Hi, it says in the above table that a customers can be banned with Messaging & Sunshine with partner support. Is this explained or expanded upon anywhere?
As outlined in the Limitations in messaging functionality article under General functionality limitations:
Hope this helps!
Hi Christine Felicia,
Are there plans to introduce the ability to ban a customer in Messaging without having to purchase SunCo? For those of us not on Suite Enterprise, moving to Messaging is already a big purchase. For such a big purchase/move, we'd expect access to some core functionality (ie: banning).
I found this related feature request and according to one of our Product Managers:
We still can't provide a specific timeline at this time, but updates related to this feature will be posted in the thread.
I highly suggest you upvote the post and leave a comment to share your use case with our Product team, our Product Managers continuously monitor feedback to be considered in the roadmap planning.
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