As described in Choosing the email addresses to receive support requests, you can receive support requests at an external email address and forward the incoming email to Zendesk. In turn, Zendesk can send email replies to your customers via your external email address. External email addresses are owned and maintained by you, outside of Zendesk (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The following video gives you an overview of how to connect your existing support email:
Connecting your existing email account [1:39]
Things to consider
- Connecting your email is one of the last steps before going live with Zendesk. Hold off on forwarding your email until you’re ready to process tickets in Zendesk.
- You can forward email to any existing Zendesk address. You can also create one or more support addresses for forwarded email. See Planning your Zendesk support addresses for forwarded email.
- If you use a Gmail account to receive support requests and expect low volume, Zendesk recommends using the Zendesk Gmail Connector for Email instead of setting up forwarding. See Enabling automatic ticket creation for your Gmail inbox.
- If you can’t set up forwarding yourself (for example, IT needs to set it up for you), you might consider setting up forwarding first, before you add the external support address in Zendesk. Remember that email traffic is one-way (inbound only) until you add the external address. Zendesk only sends outbound email on your behalf from that address when a support address has been added, and it has passed forwarding verification.
Planning your Zendesk support addresses for forwarded email
If you use one external email address to receive support requests, you can forward email from that address to any existing Zendesk support address. You can use your default support address, another Zendesk support address, or create a new address.
If your customers currently send support requests to multiple external email addresses, you can forward multiple addresses to one Zendesk address. However, Zendesk recommends creating a Zendesk support address for each forwarded account instead.
In this scenario, first create a new, native Zendesk support address for each so you have a 1:1 mapping with your external forwarded accounts. Then, follow the steps in Adding your external support address in Zendesk to connect the accounts.
Although you don’t have to set up your addresses this way, creating multiple Zendesk support addresses to receive forwarded email has advantages. For example, you can more easily route tickets to groups based on the support address where they were received.
Adding your external support address in Zendesk
First, add your external support address to Zendesk. When you add your support address, your email will be verified, and you'll know whether you've set up email forwarding correctly.
- In Admin Center, click Channels in the sidebar, then select Talk and email > Email.
- If the Zendesk support address you are forwarding email to doesn’t exist yet, create it. See Adding a Zendesk support address.
- In the Support addresses section, click Add address, then select Connect external address.
- Enter your existing support email address in the Enter current support address
field, then click Go.
If you have a Gmail address and expect low volume, you can click Sign in with Google instead to use the Zendesk Gmail Connector for Email. See Enabling automatic ticket creation for your Gmail inbox.
- Complete the on-screen steps to set up
forwarding on your email server.
This is done outside of Zendesk, and the exact steps depend on your mail server. The steps for Gmail are shown below as an example.
The wizard instructs you to enter your default support address as the forwarding email address (email@example.com), but you can use any existing Zendesk support address.
- After you set up email forwarding on your server, click Yes, I finished, then
A test email is sent to that address to verify that you've set up forwarding properly. If successful, a message indicates the address is verified.
If the test fails, you are alerted. After resolving issues, you must perform the verification again. See How to verify forwarding.
If you resolve the forwarding issue but don’t retry the forwarding check, email sent to the email address will create tickets but will not send Zendesk Support notification emails from that address.
- If you are forwarding email from multiple addresses, repeat steps 1-6 for each email address.
Setting up forwarding on your mail server
When adding your external support address to Zendesk Support, a wizard displays the steps you need to take to set up forwarding in both Zendesk and your external email account. The steps differ depending on the email provider you're using. When you are finished, Zendesk verifies that forwarding is set up correctly.
Some email providers allow you to create email forwarding rules so that you can select the incoming mail that should be forwarded to your Zendesk account.
Refer to your email provider's documentation for more information about forwarding email. Zendesk can't provide support for third-party products, such as email clients. Contact your email provider if you need help setting up automatic forwarding.
Zendesk Support does not support multi-forwarding, or forwarding that goes through multiple locations before being sent to the Zendesk support address. If multi-forwarding is configured, the requester will be the first address that Zendesk can find in the Reply:To or From: fields in the email headers. This could produce inconsistent results and is not supported.
Additional steps when forwarding email
- Add a sender policy framework (SPF) record if you’re using a custom domain (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) to verify that Zendesk can send outgoing email on behalf of your email server.
- Digitally sign outbound email from Zendesk to combat spoofing and prove that an email actually came from somebody in your organization.