Side conversations are spaces in a ticket where agents can have a side conversation with a specific group of people, or discuss a specific area of concern or course of action. You can use them to organize information about a ticket.
Advantages of using side conversations
Problems often consist of multiple parts, and solving them often consists of conversations with different people. It gets confusing for everyone involved when all of the questions and answers are mixed together in one place without any kind of organization.
For example, let’s say you need to discuss something with your Legal team, but don’t need or want other people involved.
- Find, organize, and manage information about a specific part of an issue
- Have a conversation with the right people
- Find specific questions, answers, and replies. Ensure conversations happen outside of the main conversation with the requester
- Have multiple standalone conversations that are separate from each other
- Get outside help without pulling others into the main ticket directly
Recommendations about side conversations
- The assignee should create and manage side conversations in the tickets they're responsible for. This allows administrators to create triggers based on the assignee role, and enables easier handoff between agents.
- Set up triggers to take advantage of the side conversation event conditions to fully integrate them into your workflows and to keep agents on top of the activity within them. See Setting up trigger conditions for side conversations.
- Create trigger conditions for side conversations to make sure that assignees know when a side conversation is created, closed, replied to, and reopened. Without them, the agent assigned to the ticket (ideally, this person is also the creator of the side conversation) may have a hard time knowing what’s going on with a particular issue.
- Remember that the creator of the side conversation doesn't automatically receive email replies to side conversations. That’s not the default behavior. Also sending side conversations to your own support address is not supported and will result in those side conversations ending up in the Suspended tickets view.
About side conversation channels
When you create a side conversation, you can choose to have the side conversation in one of these channels:
- Email: Creates an email-based side conversation (see Creating side conversations).
- Microsoft Teams (if enabled): Creates a Microsoft Teams-based side conversations (see Using Microsoft Teams in side conversations).
- Slack (if enabled): Creates a Slack-based side conversation (see Using Slack in side conversations).
- Ticket (if enabled): Creates a side conversation child ticket
(see Using side conversation child
tickets).Note: Side conversation child tickets can be routed by omnichannel routing. See About omnichannel routing with unified agent status.
In the Agent Workspace, side conversations are created from the context panel. In the standard agent interface, side conversations are created from Side conversations at the top of the ticket conversation pane.
|Agent Workspace||Standard agent interface|
About support addresses used to send side conversations
Side conversation notifications are sent from the support address associated with the ticket that the side conversation is on (for example, email@example.com). If you have multiple brands and support addresses, side conversation notifications come from each of your support addresses (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Optionally, you can use the Select an Address app to control the email address that side conversation notifications are sent from. For example, the app allows you to change the default support address associated with a ticket.
If you have internal email routing rules (for example, in Microsoft Exchange), we recommend that you include references to each of your unique support addresses. Otherwise, email notification for side conversations will not be routed correctly. Check your allowlists and blocklists.
Hi Jupete, no they didn't try that, they restarted the side conversation using macro. But you are right, if they call the side conversation again via the plus, the draft is still there. Thanks, passed it on.
Yes, that is right. That will capture the draft messages including the macro they have fired initially. Thank you!
I agree with Maik that there should be a way to designate the comments as internal (aka private). Here are a couple of reasons why.
To whom may concern,
I've found all places in admin center but cannot find side conversation function, may I have the screenshot step by step?
I've copied the instructions from our documentation for you below:
For information about using side conversations with email, see Using side conversations in tickets.
If you don't see this option, it may be because you're not on the correct plan level. You'd need to be on the Suite Professional plan to have access to this functionality.
Let me know if you have any other questions for me!
Is there a way to enhance the side conversations - email capability to maintain the formatting when copying/pasting from Excel or a similar spreadsheet software? Currently, when I copy/paste from an Excel spreadsheet the formatting is lost and it severely limits the usefulness.
Alan Peterson, does it render if its used as an internal note first, then pulled in to the Side convo via the automation there to pull recent comments?
Jimmy Rufo - I honestly don't know because that's not our use-case. Our use-case is pretty simple - I usually send an external email on a tkt via the 'Side Conversations' and with that in mind, I don't want to pull internal comments into the external email.
Alan Peterson I think what Jimmy Rufo is getting at is that if the content doesn't accurately paste into the side conversations composer, but it does work acceptably in the ticket comment composer, you could paste it into an internal note and then use the comment insertion functionality in side conversations to include it in the side convo. The comment insertion includes and exact copy of the HTML of the comment, so it should look the same. That said, I realize this is a workaround. We are working on bringing the side convos composer to be closer to the ticket comment composer.
Toby Sterrett & Jimmy Rufo - I've just tested and your suggestion doesn't keep the format as nice as it does when you just copy/paste from Excel to the tkt normally, but it's much better and workable. Below are some screenshots for you/anyone else that was wondering how this looks.
Via copy/paste into tkt:
Via fwd via email automation:
Via just copy/past into side conversations email:
I really like the side-conversations abilities, but Michael C. mentioned earlier above, I find it strange why I can't export a conversation to PDF. It would be nice to have this admin controlled or role-based access control managed more generally for people who feel that would too easily allow information to leak out. But the use case for me is about sharing snippets of conversations with people I don't want in the private ticket history generally, but may need something better than copying and pasting out (and dealing with the weird formatting that goes with that) for specific portions or specific side conversations if in whole. I'm hoping this areas gets improved to make them more functional over time. But I like the concept so far.
We would like to start using the Side Conversations, however we would like our agents to follow a certain template for the original post. As such, we created a TextExpander snippet however, every snippet we try on the Side Conversation does not work. Is TextExpander not supported by this feature?
Brian Kneebone do you mean something along the lines of a printable view (which could be saved as a PDF is desired)? Sounds like you're referring to individual messages within a side convo, would you want to be able to "print" any message as well as the entire thread?
Justine M Have you tried macros? There are macro actions to initiate side conversations that could can set up with boilerplate text and dynamic placeholders. We'd have to look into why text expander wouldn't be working though.
Hi Toby Sterrett, yes a printable view would be sufficient to let the browser save to PDF (no need to render to PDF on the back end or front-end, at least for what I'd care about). Generally I think I'd be printing the full side conversation (at least as the default), but having the ability to pick and individual message and its thread history optionally or multiple would be really nice too. There might be some things I wouldn't want others to see in a side conversation (e.g. sharing snippets out to specific audiences so they don't get distracted by the broader conversation OR intentionally obscuring data that has protected data like personally identifiable information of 3rd parties within it). In fact, a good chunk of why we have side conversations is to communicate private information we often do have to filter as I think of it.
With a side conversation should a new notification be sent each time someone replies? We have agents reporting that they are only receiving the first notification, not any subsequent replies within that conversation and ticket.
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 -- so that may be what your agents are experiencing. Here's more info: Setting up triggers for side conversations
Why is the default behavior for side conversations that the assignee on the ticket doesn’t receive emails? What is the thinking behind that?
Hi Lauren Smith the reason is that in order to be able to receive the replies and thread them back into the side conversation in Zendesk, the email needs to be sent from a support address that will be processed and routed by Zendesk. While it would be possible to include the agent email address as a CC so they could receive replies when recipients reply-all, that would expose the agent's address to recipients in the clear.
I've enabled side conversations today, but when I try to test it by sending an e-mail side conversation, it doesn't work. It says 'This conversation can't be sent right now' right after I try to send an e-mail. I've tried starting a side conversation in multiple tickets, but I get the same error message. What could be the issue?
We have a lot of times the problem, that agents sends a side conversion to a support address which results in a suspended ticket. So WHY IS THERE NO WARNING to prevent this? Why it is possible to choose a support address for the side conversion??
Would love to see a way to have the side conversations list responses in order. Either have the latest response on top, or bottom, not somewhere in the middle like it is currently. Is there perhaps another workaround? Thank you.
Lois – hmm, is it still giving you trouble? If so let us know by creating a support ticket or, if you'd like, we can create one for you from your post.
Maik Künnemann This should give you an invalid recipient indication in the composer if the email address is a support address on the current account or on an account you have a ticket sharing agreement with. We'll take a look. Feel free to start a ticket with more details if you'd like, it could help us track down what may be happening.
@... You could use the side conversations incremental export API to get a dump of your side conversations and do some analysis on the data.
Tiffany Tyler I'm not sure what you mean exactly. Can you provide some more detail?
Curious to know if there is any difference in having side conversation enable in agent workspace vs classic setup?
Hi Stacy Areas
There's no difference between side conversations in Agent Workspace & the Classic Support UI. Rest assured they will function the same.
Hi there, I am looking into upgrading my plan to use the side conversations feature, but first want to make sure it does allow the people involved in the side conversation to see updated replies from the ticket sender. From reading through the help articles and many user comments, I see that when you start a side conversation you have the option to include comments from the ticket, but I just want to make sure that you can continue to add comments as new ones are sent in by the customer who started the ticket without having to copy and paste.
Can the end user or customer see email side conversation?
The email side conversation can be used for another end-user. However, the requester of the parent ticket won't be able to see it.
Some issues i have when testing Light Agents to handle internal escalations from my primary agents
1. Im having issues to allow the primary agent (paid agent in zendesk) to see in their View whenever an escalated Side Conversation ticket has been replied/updated by the Light Agent.
I created a field called "Side Conversation Status" where it allows Escalated/Replied/De-escalated/Reopened, so that any of these actions done by a Light Agent can be seen by primary agent in their Views.
However, any internal comments made by Light Agent on the side conversation ticket does not get triggered by this condition:
It only shows whenever the Primary agent replies on a Side Conversation from their main ticket window then the trigger is activated to update my "side conversation status" = Replied in the primary agent's view.
a. first line gets triggered to update "Replied" only when primary agent makes a reply from the main ticket window and updating on the side conversation
b. second line is a side conversation ticket assigned to an internal team who made an internal comment on that ticket, but no trigger to update "replied"
2. Light Agents cannot change the side conversation ticket status. It always remains as "NEW" so i had to create a macro + trigger to change side conversation ticket status based on macro selection by Light Agent. Would love to have Light Agents change ticket status of those Side Conversation tickets
Is there a way to start a new side conversation from the original ticket, adding comments from a different side conversation?
Mode of Operation:
I have tested it directly on my end and the only option is to open the original side conversation and copy the information manually. Or if it's a ticket, you can open the ticket and manually copy the information from there.
That's definitely a neat feature to have especially for tickets that requires multiple departments to collaborate. Would you mind posting your use case to our Feedback on Support topic? We have a template you can copy and use in your post. This is to help get more visibility and votes on the idea. Then, others can share their use cases to further drive demand for that feature. Thanks!
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