Internal Communication Headaches


  • Jessie Schutz
    Zendesk team member

    Hi Jacob!

    Some of our other Community members might have some additional suggestions for you, but here's what I'm thinking.

    It sounds to me like you'd definitely benefit from the use of Light Agents. A Light Agent is capable of doing a number of different things in Zendesk, but the functions that I think you would find most useful would be their ability to create tickets on behalf of a customer, be CC'd on tickets, and add private comments to tickets.

    Light Agents are actually only able to add private comments, which would mean that even if your non-support folk continued to interact via email, their comments would be internal automatically. This could be a potential hang-up if you need these non-support folks to also interact directly with the customer in these tickets, so that's something to bear in mind.

    You're on our legacy pricing structure, on the Plus plan, which means that Light Agents aren't available for you. However, if you changed over to our new pricing structure and used the Professional plan (which is similar to Plus), Light Agents would be available as an add-on to your plan. 

    There are a number of differences between the old and new pricing structures, so I strongly suggest that you go over the pros and cons of making the change with your Account Manager before you take any action. If you don't know who your Account Manager is, or if you don't have one, let me know and I can get your in touch with the right people to help you out.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions!


  • Jacob Carlson

    Thanks Jessie!

    I'll have to look into using Light Agents as an option. These people do communicate with the users a lot so it may not be the best option but I'll have to look into it to see!

    And thank you for the pricing structure information. We will evaluate that as well.

  • Colin Piper

    @Jacob, didn't know you worked at the same place as me! It all sounds so familiar.

    This really is not an easy one to overcome. The Light Agents that Jessie mentions is the key but even then there is education. They need to encourage the customers to use the correct email addresses even if they are then cc'd. The accidental response is fixed with the Light Agent.

    Best of luck. 

  • Jacob Carlson

    Colin, it is great to hear that our struggles are not unique.

    We'll definitely give the light agents a look.

  • Lester

    The way Zendesk handles cc’s, drives me and my users to despair for the reasons you quote.  

    Bear in mind with light agents, any comment they make that goes to Zendesk is private. Sooner or later you start to run in to the problem of internal people wanting to communicate with the customer directly so you have the extra headache of a light agent thinking he is replying to the customer but it gets appended as a private comment.

    We haven’t solve the problem totally but what we do is create a child ticket that is the internal conversation. That way its away from the customer communication and a little safer.

  • Jacob Carlson

    Update: The solution we settled on was to configure the update trigger (that sends the update to the requester) so that it only fires when an agent makes a comment.

    This allowed us to manually make any "internal" emails accidentally sent to the ticket private messages. This way, when we did update the ticket, the internal message would not be included in the email sent to the requester.

    It's not elegant by any means and it's not very scalable, but it's working for us now while we figure out a better solution.

  • Joel Hellman

    Jacob, just mind that any customers (or agents) on CC will still be notified via email on ticket updates (from requester or other CCs), even if you disable your trigger that sends email notifications to the requester. So if you agent's sent an email and a customer was on CC at that point, the customer will get the email , regardless of what triggers you have in place.  

    That's because CCs is hard coded into the framework, and cannot be modified (or disabled) by triggers. Maybe you knew that already, but in case you didn't. 

    This might happen if you have any customers on CC in your workflows (e.g. if your customer CCs some colleagues' of theirs), or if you change or remove requesters or CCs, and then those people re-add themselves to the ticket by replying to previous emails notifications sent out by that ticket. 

    If you haven't already, another solution to try to mitigate the damage that unintentional notifications can generate, is to use a template in your email requester/CC notifications, to reveal any CCs or requesters, although CCs may change after notifications have been sent out.

    I'm not sure if you have liquid available if you are on a legacy plan, but if you do, there is an article here describing one way to set up such a CC template.

    And/or you could also add in an explanation in your email notifications along the lines of 'this is a centralized communication, your replies might be forwarded to additional parties'. In my opinion, this is most helpful combined with a CC template, though, or it may just spread suspicion/fear of replying. 

    You are certainly not alone in your dilemma.

    We need better tools to make email notifications behave in environments where there are 3rd or middle parties between the customer and the customer support, like your sales persons and account managers. 

  • Tanvee

    This is a persistent problem in my team too. We are being patient and learning to use alternative platform like gmail for internal communications. All the best users. 

  • Thibault

    I feel your struggle Jacob, we had and still have the same situation. We did a few things to overcome the issue.

    1. definitely Light Agents to the whole sales team. It brings transparency and allows us to retrieve internal information about some troubleshooting that had been done prior to the ticket opening. 

    2. Train the teams to direct the users to the Web Form instead of using email to CC the email address of the support that automatically opens tickets. A key argument here is to mention that tickets opened through the email channel are not prioritized (or get a low priority) whereas the web form allows the customer to add a priority for the support team to treat accordingly.

    3. Give a chance to the sales/account manager to be a support advisor. No one likes to redirect their customers, with whom you have build a relationship, to a cold and unwelcoming ticket web form. So we have created a Group Chat (with Google Chat, Slack would work) to have the sales team and the support team talk to each other.
    This is particularly useful when a customer contacts their account manager for help. The account manager can reach out to the support team by chat to (a) warn them that a ticket is incoming on a specific topic, (b) ask the support team what important information the customer should provide at the ticket opening so that we bypass the usual first ping-pong due to lack of ticket information.
    The last point acts as an informal training and raises the sales team awareness on support topics.
    The AM then has the possibility to go back to their customer with the ticket opening guidance that does not feel like an "I have no clue, please contact our support".


  • Nicole S.
    Zendesk Community Team

    Thanks for sharing that thoughtful and detailed response, Thibault. If others have suggestions, let's keep the conversation going!


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