Due to natural disasters or other disruptive local or regional events, you might need to alter how you use Zendesk to provide support to your customers. This might include turning specific channels off or directing customers to use more self-service options while there is a disruption to your service.
This article contains the following sections:
- Temporarily disabling live channels
- Notifying your customers about change in operating hours or slower response times
- Broadcasting a message to your agents
- Bulk updating tickets
- Using reporting to figure out who you need to reach out to first
- Continuing customer support on-the-go with mobile apps
- Updating security settings
- Need further assistance?
Temporarily disabling live channels
If you are unable to continue offering your customers live channels due to unforeseen events and possible staff shortages, you might need to temporarily disable those channels or let users know there might be delays.
You might need to disable the channel to temporarily suspend live chat.
- For Web Widget (Classic), you can turn off the Chat channel in the Web Widget (Classic) settings and turn it back on when you are able to staff the live channel. See Configurable Web Widget (Classic) components (Chat).
- For the Legacy Chat widget, you can modify your offline form settings to manage customer expectations in the following ways:
- Turn on the offline form to receive offline messages while you are away.
- Select the “Hide when offline” setting so the widget is no longer visible on your website/help center..t
- Customize the offline form text to mention why live chat is currently not available.
For help reconfiguring your offline forms, see Managing offline form settings.
You can remove either widget from your help center by toggling it off, then toggling it back on when you’re ready to chat with customers again. See Removing Web Widget (Classic) from your website or help center or Disabling Legacy Chat in Guide.
For your phone calls, you may want to record a new greeting recording to let the callers know that there are ongoing disruptions in service and hold times may be long or completely unavailable.See Creating a custom greeting and assigning it to numbers.
You may also want to disable the Talk callback option in the Web Widget (Classic), if it’s enabled, if you won’t have access to call back your customers in the foreseeable future. See Configurable Web Widget (Classic) components (Talk).
If you’re using messaging in the Agent Workspace, you can turn off messaging in the Web Widget. See Disabling messaging for web and mobile channels.
You can also update the initial response received by customers requesting a messaging conversation to reflect current conditions. See Customizing the default messaging response for more information
If you are using bot-enabled messaging, you can create a custom bot (or edit an existing one) in a Flow Builder flow that would direct the visitor to submit a ticket instead and to expect a longer response time compared to normal response times. See Editing an existing bot.
Notifying customers about a change in operating hours or slower response times
If you are understaffed or experiencing disruptions, you can update operating hours or edit your reply message to let customers know responses will be delayed.
You might want to update the default trigger message for new tickets to include a line about the disruption and longer than expected response times. To learn more about the default triggers you might want to edit, see About the Support default triggers. And to learn how to copy a trigger and edit the default text, see Editing and cloning triggers.
You might also create a new trigger for tickets without a response after a certain number of days to remind customers the change in response time is ongoing and you will get back to them as soon as possible. See Creating triggers.
You might consider adjusting your business schedules temporarily. See Setting your schedule with business hours and holidays..
You might want to add a notification banner or a featured post to let your customers know about the change in operating hours/channels/response times. If you want to add a notification banner to your theme, see Adding a notification banner to your help center.
If you have created operating hours in Support, you can apply them to Web Widget, and customize the default messaging response connected to that schedule. See Applying Support schedules to the widget.
If you’re using operating hours for live chat, you can update the account/department operating hour schedules and the pre-chat form greeting to explain to visitors that there is a change in service hours. For information on adding operating hours to live chat, see Creating a schedule with operating hours. For information on using the pre-chat form, see Enabling the pre-chat form.
Finally, you might want to update existing chat triggers to stop proactive messages from being sent out if you are not staffed to handle the conversations. See Disabling chat triggers.
Broadcasting a message to your agents
If there is a need to shut down your channels and get your staff to safety, you can use the following methods to communicate with them (assuming you don’t use an internal communication tool such as Slack or Microsoft Teams).
You can use agent-to-agent chat in the Chat dashboard, by selecting a logged in agent from the side navigation and starting a conversation. The agent will receive any messages in the Chat dashboard and Chat mobile apps. See Chatting with other agents.
Note: Agent-to-agent chat is not applicable to customers using the Agent Workspace.
You can use the Agent Notification app to send a message to all or specific groups in your account. See Installing and using the Agent Notification app.
Bulk updating tickets
There may be cases where you need to bulk update or send a response to multiple tickets. To learn more about bulk updating tickets in Support, see Managing tickets in bulk.
Using reporting to determine who to reach out to first
When you are able to get your agents to respond back to customer tickets, you may want to prioritize tickets based on SLA or longest wait time.
Using the Zendesk Support dashboard in Explore, you can look at the Backlog and SLA tabs to get insights into how your agents should tackle the queue of tickets. See the SLA dashboard and the Backlog dashboard.
Continuing customer support on-the-go with mobile apps
If you and your agents want to try to keep providing some form of service to your customers and you have internet access on your phone or tablet, you could install the Zendesk mobile apps.
The apps for Chat, Sell, and Support all offer basic responding capabilities and are translated in over 20 languages.
You can use the Zendesk Support app to give your agents access to their Support tickets via their mobile devices. See About the Zendesk Support mobile app.
The mobile Chat app enables your agents to conduct live chat conversations with end users from their mobile devices. See Providing mobile chat support.
Sell mobile allows sales reps and managers the freedom to work on the go. You can still collaborate, manage your tasks, leads, contacts, and deals, create filtered lists, add notes and attach documents, sync your calendar (and update attendees on the go), and connect your email. The Sell mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
- For IOS - See Installing the Sell mobile app for iOS and Getting mobile with Sell: iOS.
- For Android - See Installing the Sell mobile app for Android and Getting mobile with Sell: Android.
Updating security settings
If you are using IP allowlists and you want to continue to provide support remotely, you might need to temporarily disable this feature or explicitly list all new IP addresses that your agents are working from (assuming that the IP addresses they are using are static).
- For Support and Guide, see Restricting access to Zendesk Support and your help center using IP restrictions.
- For Chat (does not apply to Messaging), see Using IP access restriction to limit access to the Chat dashboard.
You might want to also increase the security of your account by enabling two-factor authentication and reducing session length settings. See Managing two-factor authentication and Setting an inactivity time-out period.
Need further assistance?
If you need further assistance getting your account configured correctly or have questions about your account billing, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Support team and we will do whatever we can to support you during this disruptive period.
Having account assumption enabled will enable our Customer Support team to better support you. For information on account assumption, see Granting Zendesk temporary access to assume your account.