Summer's here, and even though most of use are looking forward to holidays in the sun, Zendesk has kept delivering with a bunch of smaller and bigger updates to their platform. Mostly adding features to existing tools, but also filling in major gaps to new platforms like Messaging.
Zendesk has also announced a What's New on August 2nd which will introduce a bunch of new feature. I'll be on holiday but I hope to write a short recap on some quiet warm evening that week. My hopes? A release of Custom Objects V2, Layout Builder and app shortcuts in the ticket sidebar.
Let's dive into this months' updates!
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🎉 New Releases
The Agent workspace got a bunch of improvements this month.
- The new Essentials Card offers a configurable context panel with information about a ticket requester. You can now even include User Fields, and Lookup Fields as well as social channels.
- You can now pin a relevant article in the Knowledge Panel for a specific ticket. Whenever someone looks at the ticket that article will be shown above the suggested articles. Handy when e.g. second line or a colleague looks at an article and you know they'll need to reference that same article or procedure.
- Omnichannel Routing (I should really write about it someday) now allows you to also assign based on skills in addition to the existing capacity and status options already available. It's also possible to reassign reopened tickets based on the status of the assigned agent.
Channel switching changes
Zendesk will now dynamically switch the composer field to better match the expected action of the agent. For example: when an agent opens a chat ticket with an active conversation it will select reply via chat by default, but when the agent opens a ticket where the conversation has ended or is inactive, it will select an reply via email or add internal note option based on the privacy settings.
It's a small tweak but every clicked saved counts when you're handling hundreds of tickets a day.
- Conversation bots can now be deployed on Slack Direct Messages
- You can now pre-fill fields in the bot and pass tags via the new Metadata API. This was one of the biggest feature gaps between Zendesk Messaging and the Classic Web Widget so it's great this has finally been resolved.
- Restricted knowledge base articles in bot conversations are now supported. You can read all about it in this article.
Note: The restricted article preview for end users will only be visible to those authenticated via Messaging Authentication with JWT and is part of the user segment the article is visible to. If you want to display the restricted article preview to all end-users, this can be enabled in the bot settings. When the end-user clicks View article, they will be taken to the knowledge base article page and must sign in to view the article contents.
- New standard responses - Conversation Bot used to have a fallback response whenever a match couldn't be found, with the option to include a few intents to guide the customer to a possible solution. This fallback response has now been expanded with four options to better match different scenario's:
Help Center Improvements
Announcing Secure end-user experience integrations for Help center
When I first read about this feature I expected something completely different than what was announced. I hoped it would be a way to store authentication secrets inside of Zendesk Guide (similar to how API Connections for bots work) . That way Zendesk could proxy API integrations build inside of customised Help Centers without the risk of exposing tokens or passwords to end-users.
Sadly, this is not the case. This feature works the other way around. It will allow you to add an extra authentication header to outgoing requests which you can use to validate the request coming from Zendesk Guide. Useful to validate and authenticate requests to custom written endpoints or workers, but useless when you want to directly connect to e.g. Shopify, Airtable or other API platforms with their own authentication methods.
A few years ago I wrote a Custom GitHub action to automatically deploy Zendesk apps via ZAT. I've since migrated this one (privately) to use the new ZCLI API but keeps a fork of the code active to deploy themes. But with ZAT going away, I was hoping they would port the Custom Theme functionality to ZCLI before the old tooling was deprecated.
And this is exactly what was announced: fresh new ZCLI commands to import, update and publish themes in your instance. If you're interested in this, subscribe now to my blog, cause I'm working on an article documenting how to deploy this via GitHub Actions..
Support for Third party copy-pasting
To wrap up the Guide Improvements this month: Zendesk announced some improvements in the way they handle copy-pasting content from Google Docs, Word e.a. in the article editor.
- There's a bunch of new Zendesk SDK Demo Apps available with up to date Swift code explaining on how to deploy the Zendesk SDK in your iOS apps.
- Ever since the new Group SLA's arrived and Zendesk introduced the new Total Resolution Time metric the SLA admin page became a bit long and cluttered. The page now got a new layout with a clearer overview and the option to set different calendar types for Reply, Resolution and Update metrics.
⚠ Major Changes
Zendesk is removing a bunch of old apps from the Zendesk Marketplace. These apps are all either replaced with native functionality in the new Agent Workspace, or there are better third party alternatives available.
Secure App Settings
Zendesk also issued an update to their documentation for Secure App settings with an extra warning on including default API keys or authentication keys in your apps' setting bundle.
secureproperty has no effect on the
defaultproperty if specified. The value of
defaultwill remain public and should not contain any sensitive information. If your app uses OAuth and requires a client secret, you can use the manifest's
oauthparameter instead. See oauth in the manifest reference.
I work for Premium Plus and we're an Ultimate partner. This post was not sponsored.
📝 Articles this month
- Redirect Rules for Zendesk Guide
- Pre-filling custom fields in the Zendesk Bot with Messaging Metadata
- Show restricted articles in Zendesk Bots
- Quick Look at the new Essentials Card in Zendesk
Undocumented for now but Zendesk added the option to add an Internal Note (😇) to your tickets. Weirdly, depending on your instance you get one of these three options, or not at all.