Allow articles to be posted to multiple sectionsPlanned
It would be super awesome if we had the ability to post a single article to multiple sections. We have a number of different "buckets" that our customers fall into that each have their own specific section. We often times write articles that are german to more than one group of customers but not all groups of customers. As it stands currently we have to write the article, post it to one section, copy it, navigate to a different section and post the article, navigate to a different section and post the article, navigate to a different section and post the article, and then navigate to a different section and post the article. This is also a huge pain because that one article now has 5 different URLs and becomes a nightmare for updating and linking in our marketing materials and / or website. It would be much easier and efficient if we could choose to post an article to multiple sections (even if it were still separate URL's for each).
I agree Matt. Our company is in a similar position, but instead of supporting multiple hardware product lines, we support our software which has a new release every year. There are a lot of articles that are applicable to multiple software versions, but then others that are unique. It would be great if this feature was addressed.
This has been such an issue and so old that I thought it would have been solved by now. It is by far one of the best non-existent features. I did some KM consulting about 3 months ago for 3 different companies that were looking at ZenDesk and they went another route, this feature was one of the triggers.
I think that the PM's are asleep or not doing their job.
Yes... after spending so much energy into building our Zendesk platform we are already considering canceling our account because of that (missing) feature.
It's such a pity and a waste of time...
How amazing is this. Originally requested in 2012, now four years later still being requested.
And as I type this, a pop up appears to the side of this topic, from Sarah Kay, Customer Support Analyst at Zendesk that says:
"We'd love your feedback about your experience in our Help Center. Please take a quick survey to help us help you!"
Well, how about Analysing this?
Knock! Knock! Zendesk. A lot of us still have heaps of respect for your great product. But when we think no one is listening, it's tempting to start looking for alternatives that offer basic functionality like what being requested here...Programmatically it would be a cinch.
Not expecting anything to happen however, I am unfollowing this topic because all I am getting is more people like me saying the same thing and getting no answer.
We would like this functionality too
Any update on this? Any indication that Zendesk intends to address this issue? We need this too!
My update from August 26 is the most extensive explanation I have posted about the challenges of posting to multiple categories/sections. I can definitely recommend reading that and then if you have further questions you are more than welcome to ask them here.
Unfortunately we have still to figure out how to solve the many problems I pointed out in my post - it would require significant investment to build this, so we need to weigh this against the many other things our customers want from Help Center. So far we have launched a new overview of content and a new editing page is coming. Our next focus is on adding versioning and then we'll start to look into publish to multiple brands. Publishing to multiple brands is much easier than publishing to multiple categories, but we will be investigating whether we could target this as well as part of our research for multibrand publishing.
So yeah, all I can say is that we definitely acknowledge the use case, but getting to building it might take longer than expected due to the high complexity.
Thanks for the update, although it unfortunately doesn't really give us any info that we didn't already have. Just my 2 cents (and I'm sure the others here agree), the need for publishing a single article in multiple categories is much more compelling than the need for publishing a single article to multiple brands (which I haven't seen anyone in this thread mention). Even though making it possible to publish a single article to multiple brands may be easier for you to achieve, we hope that you choose to work on publishing a single article to multiple categories first instead as that is what your customers really want & need.
I completely agree with Matt on Christian's comment. Well said.
The fact the matter is that, this issue has been around for quite awhile and the ZenDesk PM's really don't care and don't give any priority to this issue and don't even listen to their customers, that's what happens when companies stop being small and go public. This is the reason I didn't advise the use or even hear their sales pitch to a few customers that I did KM Consulting. Quite a bummer because ZenDesk has a few nice guys working there.
This is a necessary feature. It is required. This feature is needed to construct a decent knowledge base. This is something that is making me (and us) reconsider using Zendesk for our new enterprise support desk deployment.
Solve this issue with a proper rewrite of the knowledge base backend, solve this with a quick hack by writing it so that if multiple sections are selected the system automagically creates multiple articles with a flag saying "Keep this article synced with article ID 123423" on them, and the changes to any articles in the group get synced to the other articles in the group, anything, the functionality just needs to be there. Hell, if you do that second one or some other hacky solution, you can even convert it to use the proper fixed method later once the thing gets rewritten to support it! Happy faces all around!
I know code is hard, but this is a basic feature of knowledge base systems, and is required and necessary to build a decent help center using your service.
This and the multiple levels issue are two things where I'm honestly quite shocked that they still persist after this length of time. They may require reworking the backend, they may even require some fairly extensive reworking, but they are both necessary for any decent knowledge base system out there today. Please escalate the priority on this issue to let us help our customers in navigating our knowledge bases.
Any good update or work-arounds for this?
I am doing card sorting for new help center and support pages and based on the research we would really need linked or "ghost" articles in order to do a customer effortless help center.
Thanks zendesk team for battling for us!
I have read the threads and Christian's explanation from Aug 2015. I'm a "content expert". Often we have customers asking to reproduce content in different sections. However, after analysis it's normally unnecessary once it's thought through. Even when we have created content in other systems, we have avoided duplicate topics. Normally, a good structure and links are a good solution.
I'd like to understand why some of you feel you need the duplicate articles. You would create such a problem with Search and Breadcrumbs (that Christian mentioned) that I'm not sure it's worth it.
I guess there will be some cases where you prove it's necessary. My suggestion is to analyze again and possibly find a better way.
I would like to see reusable content. You store content in a central place (not an official article) that you can use in multiple articles. For examples, snippets of text for putting in multiple articles. Not sure that's in the roadmap but it would probably solve most people's problems.
If anyone wants me to help them think this through, please feel free to reach out.
I've been watching this topic for a long time now, and made a comment suggesting that dynamic content is the answer way back in July 2014. There's an existing request (from 2012) for dynamic content here: https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/203432686-Use-Dynamic-Content-in-Forums.
Christian seemed to agree that this would be a valid solution, but as far as I know, it still isn't possible? Your comment suggests not. Nor has there been any indication that it's being seriously considered.
Sadly, I don't hold any hope of this happening any time soon, despite the obvious usefulness of it.
edit: Just to clarify, when I say "dynamic", I mean pretty much exactly what you've said when you mentioned "reusable".
@Michael. Good stuff you wrote.
I'm not part of Zendesk (but official resellers) so you can't conclude possible Zendesk features from my response.
Personally, I'd prefer all content to be managed only from the HC. I think it would be complicated for authors to use Dynamic Content. If it's like a mini article, you can format the content as you would in any HC. For DC, that would be much harder to add bullets, images, etc. You would need to know how to write directly in HTML (or a long workaround of creating in an article, copying the HTML output and then not saving) .
However, if that's the only short term solution, it's better than nothing. And, as I said, would solve the duplicated articles issue.
Apologies, I wasn't entirely sure of your relationship to/with Zendesk.
I see what you mean about the formatting of the reusable code but there's a relatively simple way to get around that that I can think of (I'm not suggesting this is the best or only way):
* Have a new category of article that cannot be published. Let's call it a 'snippet'
* Snippets are otherwise identical to articles, and can be formatted as such
* In your article where you require the snippet to appear, a tag or some other piece of mark up is added as a placeholder for the snippet.
* When previewing/publishing the article, the HC expands the markup to pull in the full information from the snippet definition
Here's a simple example/use case. First I'll create the snippet:
This is some reusable text that explains how to use our widgets. It has formatting applied already.
Then let's add it to an article:
We are a company that provides many different services. Our main line of work is widgets.
We also provide support
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
I don't think that would be too difficult for someone to understand or use and could allow all of the existing formatting to be preserved. If we then require that same information to appear in a FAQ section, for instance, it's simply a case of creating a new article with the question and the placeholder. If the answer/instructions change, or we have more areas we support, we change them in one place only - the snippet.
Great explanation. That's similar to how I was thinking, except you properly thought out the "how". Easy for us tho. Now it's up to Zendesk. But at least you did all the thinking legwork ;)
I'd like to talk to you offline. We think similarly. Also, we are presently creating a Madcap Flare to Zendesk app to author in Flare and push to Zendesk. We want to made addons that people find useful for the HC.
email@example.com if you want to get in touch.
We have a web based product for retail sale. We also have multiple partner branded versions of this product that is resold or used by that partner. Basically we have to copy all KB articles for this product 7 or 8 times and make sure each one is up to date. This requires a full time employee to manage. This does not seem to be very efficient considering the software as a service (SaaS) is not servicing our needs basic needs.
On a side note, we have about 30 products that follow this same structure. So I hope you can understand how this is VERY necessary and would be worth every penny Zendesk puts into it's development.
My personal gripe is we have a fancy new font, ability to change the color of the agent interface and about 50 other low priority changes in the last few years. But we still don't have 2 very important functions. The ability to have 1 article in multiple categories or sections and be able to view more then a dozen or so views on the left tool bar (another feature request).
Thanks for keeping the topic alive.
Listen to your customers! We want this more then fancy fonts and palettes of color. Please, please, please. Also the "views" thing would be really nice and easy. I can scroll in the settings section, why not the view section?
Thank you for keeping this discussion going. It's great to get feedback!
We generally try to talk about use cases rather than features or specific solutions. In this case instead of strictly talking about the ability to post a section, I prefer to talk about the use case: You need to be able to update the same content once instead of multiple times. There are many different ways to achieve that. One would be to publish to multiple sections, another that you could create "links" in your sections, so you could at least link to other articles and yet another would be to create reusable content similar to Dynamic Content.
When we build software we want to be sure we build the right thing. We don't want to build something that later turns out not to work as expected or will cause pain. That's one of the main reasons we have yet to fix the use case: there are many ways to do it and we want to do it right.
We need to make sure that you can correctly measure the performance of your "duplicated" articles, we need to ensure we are not ruining your SEO by adding duplicate content, we have to figure out how this is affected by differing access restrictions and we need to build the infrastructure to support it. Help Center wasn't built to support publishing to multiple sections. We would have to do significant work to make that happen and that touches on my previous point: We need to make sure we are building the right thing. If not, we will be in the exact same situation with a new use case.
As I have mentioned in my previous responses there is absolutely no doubt that we want to change this. We "just" have to figure out how and then spend the significant time needed to fix it, which in turn will mean we can't develop other Help Center features. And I specifically mention Help Center features, because we have dedicated expertise and resources for Help Center, so even if we launch the ability to change the color in the agent interface it does not change the priorities of Help Center.
Currently, we are prioritizing other features that our customers are highly requesting for Help Center while building out the infrastructure needed so you don't have to update content more than once. We have taken two major steps in this direction by launching a new overview of content (under Articles > Manage content) and by creating a completely new editing experience that we launched yesterday. While this might not seem related to this specific problem, it actually is. It pulls out content from the restrictive way we've done it so far and makes it much more flexible, which is a step in the right direction towards having content live in multiple sections or having reusable content similar to Dynamic content.
We still have a long way to go, but we are working towards a future where we can support this use case and the many other use cases that we are requested to solve with a flexible and stable infrastructure. Being able to update content once is at the top of our list of use cases and we'll be doing many improvements that might not seem related but will bringer us closer to that goal.
I understand. Talk to me offline, I may have some solutions for you.
- We have an app, that isn't on the marketplace yet, that does backup of your HC. It's meant for translation so it uploads into existing articles. If there's a need, we can modify it so it could create new articles in your branded HCs.
- The other app we are working on takes from a product call Flare and puts into Zendesk. This could be a solution for you.
I honestly think I can help you bring your full-time work to just a few hours a year. I'm being serious. Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. Let people know later if I achieve that.
People are sick and tired of PM excuses. This is a much needed feature and I have been doing KM consulting for several companies and I did not recommend ZenDesk because you guys don't listen. Well, you do listen when somebody with a big account threats to leave you guys, maybe escalate the issue to the Mikkel Svane will solve the problem.
You guys have been dragging your feet around this problem for years, not days, weeks or months.
You do not listen to your customers and your excuses posted above are just nothing but excuses just to justify your deafness on the customers requests.
Thx for the response. Actually I think we are lucky having Christian leading the HC. I shoot him a lot of questions and he's very responsive and understanding. I appreciate no one ever gets everything they want.
Regarding reusable content (RC) or dynamic content, it's a feature that's existing in authoring products for over 15 years. The professional authors, writing in Zendesk, would probably put that down as a critical feature.
"we are prioritizing other features that our customers are highly requesting for Help Center"
I just sorted by votes and this feature is on the first of 189 pages. What exactly is being prioritized over this? Another interesting thing you'll see on that first page is that there are 11 items either without a status or marked as "planned' with the newest of them being 4 years old!
I don't wan to be an instigator but OH SNAP! Nice.
Thank you for reaching out but I don't feel I should have to add another service (and payment) on top of what we already pay for. We currently have 14 seats using the Enterprise subscription and 3 Zopim chat accounts because they are getting rid of the free Classic Chat option (mo money, mo money). Add that up and we are already well over 16k a year for Zendesk and their services. Maybe if we where Microsoft or Apple, that would be a drop in the bucket but for us it's a large cost already.
I was just trying to help find a solution to your issues. And we are service company. Forgive me. But the solutions we try and create are meant to save companies money by doing tasks automatically, rather than manually.
But according to what you said, any additional costs I mentioned are much less than a full-time employee. That's the point I was trying to make.
You have a very involved content structure. It would be challenging in any product. Zendesk at least allows us the flexibility to find solutions for more complicated use cases.
Thanks for mentioning Madcap Flare. I'm looking into it now as a possible content authoring and management tool. Zendesk is a ticketing system that has tacked on other functions and features, so I don't expect Help Center to get the necessary changes to be on par with a full-fledged authoring tool any time soon.
You're comments are right on: It's best to find the most efficient method of dealing with a problem, and throwing more workers at it is rarely the best solution. And it tends to be the most costly.
I think the answer to many of the stated use cases will be through integrations. I've seen many comments from Zendesk staff stating that they're using Oxygen Author/DITA to author and format content. It says a lot when a company can't use their own content management tool to manage their content.
I appreciate your thick skin. :) Anyone who's been in your position knows very well that it's impossible to make every change that customers want, achieve every business goal that management throws at you, and while trying to understand the impact of design changes. A glance at any large SaaS product's forums will turn up all the same arguments and complaints.
By the way, we once used WordPress for our help site, and having articles assigned to multiple categories did indeed muck up our SEO and analytics. From a user perspective, though, it was easier to navigate and understand than Help Center.
The recent content overview and editing page changes seem cosmetic at best, but it sounds like there is much more happening "under the hood." I hope that we see additional benefits of those improvements in the near future.
In my use case we provide a link to our software product as an introductory feature. We do this to the "Your Organization" folders created for our customers. The introductory article is the same and links to the current version of software.
Being able to publish the same article in multiple places would resolve this. Even simply creating a 'copy' of the article would be useful. In essence , the option to 'save as' (same article title and content but in a different location) would be a work around in my case; creating multiple instances would be cleaner.
You can copy-paste the article code, so that all formatting, style and pictures are kept and can be used for another identical article in a different section.
I don't understand still why you need to C&P articles. Many companies have introduction material that is applicable for trial and paid users.
An example initial idea. Why can't you create a Getting Started section that is applicable to trial and paid users. They both start from the same place in understanding the basics of your product. Nothing wrong, IMHO, for having a link to different content for both paid and trial users at the end of Getting Started.
(Additionally, providing trial users access to all the content can maybe wet their appetite for the full product offering.)
Please sign in to leave a comment.