➕ Show restricted articles in Zendesk Bots

Show restricted or internal Help Center articles right within your Messaging Widget thanks to this newest addition to Zendesk Bot Builder

➕ Show restricted articles in Zendesk Bots

One of the core tenants of a good customer care setup is a way to allow customers to self service. This not only deflects tickets and lowers the workload of your agents, but also allows customers to resolve issues faster, leading to a higher CSAT.

For this reason the more Help Center articles are made publicly available to all of your customers (and Google..), the better your self service approach will work. Customers will search your Help Center, interact with your Bot, or get auto replies with these articles as your first line of defence.

But sometimes you want articles to be available to only a subset of users. Maybe you use Zendesk for an Internal Help Desk, and you want your IT guidelines only visible to your employees. Or you are a hotel and have special amenities only available to your VIP guests. Or you have support articles that should only be visible to customers who buy a specific product or support SLA.

This is where user segments and restricted articles in Zendesk Guide come in. You can create segments of users based on tags or organisations, and then make articles only available to those segments. These articles are then invisible to guest users, or logged in users outside of the segment, but will be searchable and readable to logged in users that do belong to the segment.

Did you know you can make (parts) of your restricted articles visible to everyone to improve discovery? Read the article!

Up till now this would not work for conversations started via Zendesk Messaging on the Web. The Zendesk Bot did not care about segments, and even if you authenticated your user, it would only show publicly available articles. But this has now changed!

Announcing new updates for Zendesk bots that improves employee experiences
Announced on Rollout starts Rollout ends July 4, 2023 July 3, 2023 July 6, 2022 We are excited to announce the following releases for Zendesk bots Conversation bots can now be deployed on Sl…

Any user that interacts with your Bot within the Zendesk Web Widget can now search for and see restricted articles, provided they are authenticated. Flow Builder even allows you to add restricted articles as part of the Show Articles step in your flows.

When an anonymous user uses the widget restricted articles will not be part of the suggested articles via search. For authenticated users they will appear if they match their segment.

Similarly, if you add a restricted article to a "Show Articles step", they'll show up as a generic card without exposing any titles or content. For authenticated users the system will show the restricted articles' title and a snippet of the content.
If you want to you can jump into the Bots' settings and make the metadata of suggested restricted articles visible to everyone regardless of logged in status. But watch out, the snippet might expose article content you don't want to be visible to the world!

What do you need to get this to work?

Since you are interested in using this feature in Messaging we can assume you already have segments on your Help Center, allow users to login and restrict some articles to those segments.

So, to get started with restricted articles in Zendesk Bot, you basically only need to enable Authentication for Messaging and you're done. Luckily, I've got an entire article on this topic:

Authenticate Zendesk Messaging
Zendesk recently added the ability to authenticate users in the Zendesk Messaging Web and Mobile SDK. This article shows how to set it up with sample code.

Example Flow

As explained in the overview above, by default Zendesk will show restricted articles as placeholders to unauthenticated users.

In this article we will build a bot flow that will only show restricted articles to logged in users if applicable, and will fall back to only show public articles to everyone else. A bit more complex of a setup.

You can test it out by going to our demo page.

Internal Note - Zendesk Messaging Authentication
Demo page to showcase the JWT Authentication for Zendesk Messaging

If you log in as vito@corleone.example you'll get the VIP experience. If you log in as john@example.com you'll get the regular flow.

Bot Setup

We'll build a dedicated bot flow to show this new functionality. It flows as follows: