WIth the Slack for Side Conversations EAP, agents will be able to initiate and participate in Slack threads directly from their Support tickets by sending a side conversation to a channel. If your organization uses Slack for internal communication, this will let your agents centralize their communications by reaching out to other internal teams right within Slack, rather than generating more email. It will also store a copy of the conversations in with the ticket rather than leaving potentially valuable information in a Slack thread that will soon be forgotten.
How do I get started?
There are a few key things you need to make sure you do to get started:
- Sign up for the EAP: If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here.
- Have the Zendesk Slack app installed: The Slack for Side Conversations integration is built on top of the core Zendesk Slack app, so you’ll need to ensure that it is installed and configured for your Support account and Slack workspace. If you already have the Zendesk app installed for your Slack workspace, you’ll need to reinstall it in order to enable some of the extra permissions that the enhanced side conversations functionality requires, like custom emoji. You can reinstall the Zendesk app from this link.
- Invite the Zendesk Slack app to your channels: You’ll want to make sure that the Zendesk Slack app is invited to any Slack channel that you want your agents to be able to start side conversations with. The app can be invited to both public and private channels.
- Have side conversations enabled: Once the Zendesk app is configured in your Slack workspace, you’ll need to make sure your Zendesk Support account has the Collaboration add-on and that Side Conversations are enabled. If you don't yet have the Collaboration add-on, reach out to your account executive to give it a try on your account.
How does it work?
Once you have side conversations enabled in your Support account and the Zendesk app set up in your Slack workspace, you’ll be able to start new conversations with any channel the app is in. To initiate one, click the “Start a new side conversation” button and choose the new Slack option:
You’ll be presented with a new side conversation window where you will be able to search for the Slack channel you want the conversation to be started in:
Note: a side conversation can only be started in a single channel.
Once it’s addressed to the appropriate channel, fill out the subject and message, along with an attachment if necessary:
When the message has all the context required to start the conversation, hit Send to create the thread in the chosen Slack channel.
The team in the Slack channel will be able to reply to the thread directly in Slack without having to log into Support:
Those replies will update the side conversation in the ticket:
These conversations can go back and forth as many times as necessary until the agent has the information they need.
Just like email-based side conversations, new messages in Slack-based conversations will create ticket events (enabling the side conversation trigger conditions) and will receive growl notifications that link directly to them within Support.
What isn’t currently supported?
We're just getting started, so this initial version focuses on creating and managing side conversations within Slack channels and doesn’t include everything that Slack provides. The following features are not available at this time:
- Direct messages
- Emoji reactions
- Typing indicators
The following side conversation features are not yet supported:
- Ticket comment insertion
- Macro initiation
Please let us know if there are any Slack features we don’t support that are crucial to your workflows so we can investigate what it would take to build them in.
We’d love your feedback during this EAP
The integration is pretty straightforward, and we mostly have a few questions about how you use it (or would like to use it) in real-world scenarios:
- Overall workflow – does the side conversations / Slack threads workflow fit how your team uses Slack to communicate with other teams? If not, what could be improved?
- Conversation timing – after talking to many customers about their Slack workflows, it seemed like most conversations are relatively sporadic, with first replies to questions usually being anticipated after 20 minutes to, sometimes, several hours. Do your real-world conversations follow the same pattern, or are they more real-time and rapid-fire?
- Conversation content – what kind of content and ticket information are your agents using to provide the appropriate context to the Slack users they’re reaching out to? Is it easy enough to do that from the side conversations? How could it be improved?
- Which Slack features, if any, are crucial to your workflows that you'd love to see available in this integration?
We’re looking forward to getting your feedback and hearing how your team works with their colleagues via Slack and side conversations. Thanks for kicking the tires and helping us move this forward!
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