We need to have an Alias for End-users added to Community!
Or at least a viable solution that solves the "anonymous/alias" user private identity requirements of communities like ours.
We chose to use Zendesk for our private end-user community. Because the majority of our end-users want the ability to be known in the community via an Alias or at least be anonymous not revealing their full name we worked with both Zendesk support team members and an approved Zendesk partner to create a work around. Unfortunately our work around failed on a few counts. See disadvantages listed below.
Currently there is no way to have an Alias. But we want and need to if we are going to use Zendesk for our customers to engage with one another.
Here is what we implemented after working with Zendesk and a Zendesk authorized provider Help Center design expert.
ZD initial proposed possible workaround:
Create a custom field for user real name and make their ZD username the alias.
- Profile name changes so that requester name becomes the alias in all ticket communications, views and reports.
- This isn't ideal as the customer would be addressed by their alias instead of their user/profile name. User management would also be a challenge.
- This won't work for us as we need tickets to come in with the end users current name format of FirstName_LastName-OrganizationName
First Name only for Community:
Note: Public Profiles must be turned off for this solution.
- Privacy settings were enabled and Private profiles selected so that users would not be able to see anyone's profile. Unfortunately this does not stop users from seeing full names of the community members. So our work around for Alias and anonymous users failed due to the disadvantages listed below.
- We went to a first name only basis. We had a customization implemented that removed all information following the user's first name in the Community. Tickets remained as the full profile name. (We also removed Avatar for the Community).
- For users who requested an Alias instead of their first name we added a short "alias" name at the beginning of their user profile. Not ideal. But as a SAAS solution that does serious project and account work for our customers we can't change their true identity to an alias.
This solution failed due to the disadvantages listed below.
Unique User for Community:
- The other solution we implemented was to set up a separate unique user with the Alias name
- We created a custom user profile field called "Alias" which we used to cross reference the "real name" in the Alias User and the "alias name" in the Real User.
- We added the Alias column to our Customer lists for reference and reconciliation
- Not ideal. Not only is it confusing, it creates organizational chaos and is not scalable especially for our 500 customer base in a fast growing company.
- In addition we already had one user accidentally post to the community from his Real user and raise an emergency request to delete it noting with resigned despair that his identity had already been exposed.
- If users accidentally started raising tickets from their Alias users we create further user management confusion. We are not making this option available to more than a select few users as a temporary work around.
This solution did not fail per the disadvantages listed below. But it fails as a viable solution as it introduces serious user management challenges.
- Full username shows up in the Community search results. This can be removed in the code so that Community search results to not show author.
- Full username shows in the email notifications sent to any user following the post or comments. There is no way to remove or modify this currently. The only possibility to avoid this would be to remove the "Follow" button from the Topics and Posts pages so that users could not subscribe to email notifications for updates to posts or comments. This of course removes a very valuable function of community so is a huge trade off to ensure user identify privacy.
- Full name can also be seen in the page code. There is no way to cloak or alter this.
We would love to have an Alias solution for End-users added to Community! We truly need this!
In the meantime, if anyone has a more functional workaround I'd love to hear.