We are very excited to announce the introduction of Metadata APIs to be used with our flagship Messaging product. This capability will allow our customers to send metadata relating to a given Messaging conversation directly to Zendesk via the Zendesk Web Widget, Zendesk SDKs for Android or iOS, or our new Zendesk SDK for Unity, and make the data available for better agent context, ticketing routing in Zendesk Agent Workspace, and bot building experiences.
"I want to jump right in!"
This article will give you a brief introduction to Messaging Metadata, and how it supports the Messaging product, but if you'd like to jump straight into using the Metadata APIs, jump to our How To article here.
What We're Releasing Today
Today (July 6th, 2023), we're releasing the first in a line of new metadata powered capabilities that will greatly enhanced the Agent and End User experience in Messaging that we refer to as Messaging Metadata: Conversation Fields and Tags. This gives developers the ability to set Conversation Fields and Tags in the Zendesk Web Widget or SDKs, and have that data available in Zendesk Agent Work Space for better agent context, ticket routing, and third party bot building experience.
Conversation Fields and Tags are exactly the same as Ticket Fields and Tags that you may be familiar with from using Zendesk in the past - same IDs and permission model. Set up a field or tag once in Admin Center, and it'll be usable throughout the Messaging platform.
Once the fields are created, and your developer has implemented the Metadata API calls on your website of mobile apps, you will see ticket fields and tag being set in Zendesk Agent Workspace once a ticket has been created.
In the future, we'll be enhancing these capabilities to enable powerful use cases such as conversation conditionality based on metadata in Zendesk Bots, as well as adding additional Metadata APIs to allow you to send metadata relating to the end user, and automatically sending metadata relating to your customer's device.
Who Can Use the Messaging Metadata
This feature is available to all of our Messaging customers, you are not required to be on a specific plan. There is some minimal set up required in Admin Center by your Zendesk Admin, and there is also a small amount of development to be carried out by your web or mobile developers.
How Messaging Metadata works
In the Zendesk Web Widget and SDKs
Your website or mobile app developers will need to implement calls to our Metadata API for each Conversation Field or Tag value that you would like to send to Zendesk. If you already have the Zendesk Web Widget or SDKs implemented, then this is a relatively low-code task that should not take much time. We provide code examples in the How To article.
In cases where malformed data, or data in the wrong format to sent to Zendesk, your developer has access to development environment logging to assist them to debug the implementation.
In Zendesk Bots
The Conversation Fields and Tags used by Messaging Metadata are the same fields used in the data collection step that exists in Zendesk Bots today. If the field value has already been set by a Metadata API call before the field is displayed to the end user, the field will be pre-filled, but modifiable by the end user.
Today, it's not yet possible to use Conversation Field values to branch the flow of the conversation.
In Agent Workspace
As long as the Conversation Field or Tag has been added to the view that your agent sees in Agent Workspace, they will see this, just as the Ticket Fields or Tags work today, with the pre-populated value for better conversation context. You can also use this value for your ticket routing use cases, as you may already do with Ticket Fields.
In Sunshine Conversations
Metadata sent into Zendesk can be used by your developer using the Sunshine Conversations REST API to enrich a bot building experience by displaying metadata values in the conversation, or even basing conversation conditionality on a Conversation Field or Tag value. This is possible, as metadata is stored directly within Conversation objects.
This is only the first metadata related capability that we're bringing to our customers, and we're keen to get your feedback for future improvements, but there are already some limitations of this capability that we'll be addressing in future releases, and that you should be aware of:
It's not possible to use Conversation Fields or Tags to branch the flow of the conversation in Zendesk Bots
While this is an important use case that we'll be addressing in a future release, today it's not possible to use Conversation Field or Tag value to branch the flow of the conversation.
It's not possible to display Conversation Fields or Tags within the conversation in Zendesk Bots
Conversation Fields or Tags will be pre-filled in the data collection step, but it's not possible to use these value within a message in the conversation flow.
Metadata APIs are not supported on social channels
Social channels (WhatsApp / Facebook / Apple Business / etc.) don't support the setting of Metadata. It's only possible to set Metadata on native Messaging channels (Web / Mobile / Unity).
Only possible to set metadata on custom fields
For security reasons, it's not possible to set Metadata on system fields in Admin Center, only custom fields that your Zendesk Admin creates for your business.
Planning to use the Metadata APIs
We've created a detailed How To article that your Zendesk Admin and developers can use to guide you through the process of using the Metadata APIs in Zendesk. The process isn't complicated, but special attention should be paid to how the API are implemented on your website or mobile apps to ensure that metadata is set correctly in a given conversation.
As always, we're keen to get your feedback below on this feature for Messaging, so that we can evolve and improve our product, and your experience when using Zendesk. Thank you!