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.
- 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 the existing customers upgrading from chat to messaging will have an 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