The help center is designed to provide end users with a complete self-service support option. They can get information from the knowledge base or turn to the community, if available, for answers. If they can't find an answer, they can submit a request to an agent.
For information about submitting and tracking support requests, see Submitting and tracking requests in the help center Customer Portal.
Topics covered in this article:
- Anatomy of the help center
- Searching for content
- Using content tags
- Using the search filters
- Sorting content in the community
- Making posts in the community
- Viewing your community contributions
- Following content in the KB and community to get notifications
- Viewing and managing your subscriptions
- Sharing links to specific comments
Anatomy of the help center
The help center can consist of a knowledge base and a community platform.
You can use search to find information in both the knowledge base and the community at the same time. The search results are displayed in two columns, with one column listing the knowledge base results and the other listing the community results.
You can browse the content in one or the other by clicking Knowledge base or Community. See the following sections for more information.
Getting around the knowledge base
The knowledge base consists of categories, sections, and articles. Articles are grouped in sections, and sections are grouped in categories.
To get around the knowledge base, you can use search or browse categories and sections. If available, use breadcrumbs to go home or to a parent section or category. Depending on how your help center is configured, you may also have links to browse recently viewed articles, related articles, or promoted articles. You can subscribe to sections or articles so that you're notified when somebody creates an article or comments on an article.
Getting around the community
The community is where you can post questions or ideas or provide answers. Community posts are associated with topics of discussion.
You can use search to get around the community or browse the community discussion topics. There are also sorting options available (see Sorting content in the community). You can subscribe to topics or posts so that you're notified when somebody creates a post or comments on a post.
Searching for content
There are a number of methods you can use to find content in the knowledge base or community.
When you first click in the search field, a list of articles appears in a dropdown field. These articles are suggested content that you might find useful, regardless of your search query. When you type at least three characters of your search term, this list disappears and is replaced by instant search results that match your query.
- Find multiple words: Use double quotes (") around each word to find content that contains all those words.
"article" "title" "section" "author"retrieves content that contains all four words, in any order. Make sure you put spaces between the search words, otherwise the search handles the text as one string.You'll get hits if there is a stemmed version of a word (e.g. articles). You won't get hits where content contains only the words title and section, for example.Note: If you use single quotes (') around a word, the single quotes are ignored. If you search for
'article' 'title' 'section' 'author', you'll see hits for all content that contains any of the words title or article or section or author(exactly as if you had searched without the single quotes).
- Find a phrase: Use double quotes (") around a phrase to find content that contains all the words in that phrase.
"article title"retrieves all content that contains the words article and title, in that order. You'll also get hits if there is a stemmed version of the word (e.g. articles). You won't get hits where content contains only the word title, for example.Note: If you use single quotes (') around a phrase, the single quotes are ignored.
- Exclude results containing certain words: Use the minus operator (-) in front of the search term to find every article or post that does not include that word or phrase.
reporting bugs -supportreturns content containing the words reporting and bugs, but excludes those that contain the word support from the result set.
- Combine operands for advanced search: you can combine the operands above to find a very specific set of results.
"reporting bugs" -supportreturns hits for content that contains both the words reporting and bugs, but does not contain the word support.
Using content tags
Content tags help you easily locate related content across your entire help center. When content tags are assigned to articles and posts, they appear at the bottom of the content page. When you click a tag, a search results page opens, listing all help center content that shares the same tag.
Example: Using content tags to find related content
You can click content tags that appear on articles or posts to find related content across your help center. This example shows an article with the “federated search” and “search crawler” content tags.
When you click the “federated search” tag in this example, a search results page appears with links to all help center content that shares that tag. You can use this page to navigate to related topics without having to sort through search results. This image shows the search results page with four links to related content.
Using the search filters
You can use the search results filter panel to refine the content that appears in the search results pane. Filters appear as bolded headings that display the content groupings within that filter and the number of search results for each content group.
- Source - Search results grouped by their point of origin. Your native help center is a default source. Additional sources are defined during multiple help center enablement and Federated Search configuration. If content from only one source is relevant to the search, the content from that source will be selected by default and the source filter will not appear. The source filter can contain one or more of the following:
- All sources - Content from the native help center and, if configured, other help centers and external content.
- Other help center brands in the account - Search results from each help center brand, if multiple help centers are enabled and search has been configured to include results from those help centers.
- External content - Content from external sources that match the search query (for example website name). This filter is available only if Federated Search is enabled and search has been configured to include results from external content. External content sources are defined during search crawler setup or through the Federated Search API. See About Zendesk Federated Search.
- Type - Search results grouped by the kind of content that the search result is. Articles are a default content type and will always appear. Additional types appear if a community is enabled (Community posts) and if there are external content of other types in your search results. The Type filter can contain one or more of the following:
- All Types - Content from all defined types in your application.
- Articles - Help center articles that match the search query. Articles can originate from either the native help center or other help centers in your account, if multiple help center search is enabled (see Enabling search across multiple help centers). When you select this type, the By Category subfilter appears, allowing you to further refine your search.
- Community - Community posts that match the search query. When you select this type, the By Topic subfilter appears, allowing you to further refine your search.
Sorting content in the community
To show all posts across all topics
- On the community landing page, click the arrow beside Community, then select Show all posts.
All of the community posts appear in a list, regardless of which topic they are associated with. To show all topics again, select Show topics.
To sort community posts within a topic
- In a community topic, select one of the following options:
- Newest - (Default) Lists posts in the order they were created, starting with the most recently created
- Recent activity - Lists posts in the order of recent comments, starting with the post that most recently received a comment
- Votes - Lists posts in order by votes, starting with the post that has the most votes
- Comments - Lists posts in order by comments, starting with the post that has the most comments
To sort comments in a topic by date or votes
- In a community post, select Dates or Votes to sort the comments by the date the comments were made or by the number of votes the comments have.
Comments appear chronologically by default, with the oldest comment appearing first.
Making posts in the community
To make a community post
- Click New post in the top-right side of any community page.
- Enter a Title for your post.
- Enter Details, which might be anything, including a question, feature request, or tip.
- Use the toolbar for formatting options or to add links or images.
You can add an image with a maximum file size of 2MB. If you add images to a post in a restricted topic, be aware that users who follow your content will only see these images within their email notifications for a limited amount of time (seven days).
- @mentions: If you want to mention another user, type "@" followed by a minimum of the first three characters of their alias, or user name if the user does not have an alias, then select the user you want to add from the autocomplete menu.
For instance, if you want to @mention Jane Doe, type "@Jan," then select Jane Doe. The user mentioned is automatically emailed, and now follows the post.Note: If public user profiles (Guide Professional and Enterprise) are not enabled, or if a user has not yet submitted a post or comment in the community, you can't use @mentions.
- Use the toolbar for formatting options or to add links or images.
- Select a Topic for the post from the drop-down menu, if you want to change the selected topic.
- Click Submit.
Viewing your contributions
If the help center includes community, you can participate in the community by making a post or a comment. You can also participate by making comments on articles, if article commenting is enabled. You can view all your own contributions in one place.
To view all your contributions
- Click your profile icon on the upper-right side of any page, and then click My activities.
- Click Contributions.
Any posts you've made show by default.
- Click Community comments or Article comments to view the comments you've made on post or articles.
- Click any link to view the contribution.
Following content in the KB and community to get notifications
You can choose to follow select sections and articles in the knowledge base and topics and posts in the community. When you create a community post or comment on an article or post, you are automatically subscribed to follow that article or post.
When you follow content, you are subscribing to it, so that you will be notified by email when new articles, posts, or comments are added. You will not be notified when updates are made to the body of an article, post, or comment.
If a section you are following contains additional sections, you must also follow those individual subsections to receive notifications for them.
You will receive email notification for contributions made by other users who you are following, but you will not receive notifications for your own contributions.
You can stop following content at any time.
In the knowledge base, you can follow sections and individual articles. You cannot follow entire categories. In the community, you can follow topics and posts. You will not be notified when updates are made to existing articles or posts.
You cannot automatically follow all new articles across the help center. You must follow each section instead.
To follow a section or topic
- Navigate to the section or topic that you want to follow.
- Click Follow, then choose notifications for only new articles/posts or for all new articles/posts and all comments.
For articles/posts, you will receive email notifications for new articles/posts only in the section or topic. For articles/post and comments, you will receive email notifications for all new articles/posts in the section or topic and any new comments.
To follow an article or post
- Navigate to the article or post.
- Click Follow.
You will receive email notifications for any new comments on the article or post; however, you will not receive notifications when the content in the article or post is updated.
You can stop following content at any time if you no longer want to receive notifications. For sections and topics, you can also modify your subscription if you decide you only want notifications for new articles/posts and not all comments or vice versa.
- In the section or topic, click Following, then select Unfollow.
- In the article or post, click Following.
The button changes to Unfollow, indicating that you are no longer following the post.
Viewing and managing your subscriptions
Subscriptions are managed in My Activities in the Customer Portal of the help center.
To manage your subscriptions
- Click your profile icon on the upper-right side of any page, and then click Activities.
Note: You must be signed in as an end user to see the link.
- Click Following.
- Make any changes to your subscriptions.
Unsubscribing removes the subscription from the page.
Sharing links to specific comments
You can share a link to a comment on an article or a post to point users to the exact answer or solution.
To copy a link to a specific comment
- Click the options menu beside the comment, then select Permalink.
- Click Copy.
- Paste the link where you want to share it.