Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work has become the norm across the world. Though the lockdowns have been lifted and companies have begun to work in a hybrid office setup as well, people prefer to work from home.
According to research conducted by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, 74% of employees prefer working remotely as it makes them happy. This has led to an increase in the number of businesses using Slack. Currently, 9,090 companies worldwide have declared to be using Slack for internal and external communication. This makes it essential for businesses to provide a smooth customer support process over Slack.
Some customer issues can be resolved instantly, whereas others require customer contact to be transferred to the concerned specialist support team. In such cases, more than one discussion is required to resolve the query. Documenting the conversation by converting it into a ticket using a ticketing platform is the best way to proceed.
Though there are several ticketing platforms in the market, Zendesk is currently one of the most popular platforms. Over 1,55,185 companies use Zendesk. Connecting Zendesk to Slack channels easily and securely is the first step to offering a smooth customer support experience.
Benefits of connecting Slack to Zendesk
Connecting Slack channels to Zendesk helps your internal team and your customers. There are four major advantages. We have listed them below.
- Convenience: Your customers can file support tickets from within Slack. They don’t have to switch to email or any other platform. Conversations often begin on Slack - and being able to convert them to Tickets easily, when required, makes both Slack and the Ticketing system more useful.
- Documentation: Every discussion on Slack can be converted into a ticket. Every discussion can be documented as tickets from the initial conversation to the end resolution. Because tickets are often used for future reference and as an internal knowledge base - this is a good practice.
- Follow-up: If your customer raises a ticket through your ticketing system and then wants to follow up on the progress of their complaint’s resolution via Slack, they can do it easily. Your customer success personnel can easily and quickly share the details on the working of the issue on Slack. Any additional conversations in Slack, around the ticket, can be added to the ticket so agents have access to the entire discussion.
- Ease of use for support teams: Your customer support teams can check open tickets within Slack, post internal comments on them, get notified of important updates. It enables ease of use and saves time in providing support.
3 Best tools to connect Slack channels to Zendesk
Though there are plenty of tools in the market to connect Zendesk to Slack, it is essential to choose the best tools. Wonder why? This is what the best tools do:
- Make it possible to easily create tickets from Slack channels.
- Allows conversion of existing Slack threads to tickets.
- Allows linking Slack conversations to existing tickets.
- Allows real-time synchronization of messages between Slack threads and Zendesk tickets.
- Communicates Ticket status updates back to the linked Slack threads.
- Allows users to manipulate close/re-open/escalate tickets from within Slack.
- Makes it possible to configure fields that need to be populated while opening and closing tickets.
- Provide an option to detect customer requests and convert them into tickets automatically.
- Allows external users on Slack connect channels to also be able to create tickets and perform other ticket actions.
- Allows agents to post internal comments on tickets from within Slack.
Needless to say - the tools should be highly secure as they are connecting to systems that contain sensitive customer data. With this in mind - these are the three top tools that businesses can use to connect Slack to Zendesk:
ClearFeed is one of the top 3 ways to connect Slack channels to Zendesk in 2023. Customer support, IT, and engineering teams can make the most of ClearFeed for tracking, prioritizing, and resolving customer requests received over Slack. Your teams can work from your ticketing system or Slack to communicate with the customer.
- Convert an existing thread on Slack into a ticket: This creates a ticket title using AI, uploads all messages in the thread - including any image attached to the thread - to the ticket.
- Setup bi-directional sync between a Slack thread and a ticket. New replies posted on the Slack thread and public comments posted on the created tickets are automatically replicated to the ticket and the Slack thread respectively. As a result - customers on Slack can chat with customer support agents on Zendesk effortlessly.
- Auto-ticketing: ClearFeed’s software monitors Slack rooms, understands who the customers are - and can convert each new customer request into tickets. It automatically combines related/consecutive messages into the same ticket and bi-directionally synchronizes the Slack thread with the created ticket.
- Customers can escalate, edit or close the ticket from within Slack.
- Allows configuration of fields for the creation and closing tickets and specifies default values of mandatory fields.
- There is no way to leave internal comments on tickets from Slack using ClearFeed.
- There is no way to create a ticket without using an existing Slack message as a starting point.
How to connect Slack channels to Zendesk using ClearFeed?
Users need to signup for ClearFeed and then install the ClearFeed app on their Slack workspace, as well as authorize it to connect to Zendesk. ClearFeed app must also be invited to every channel from where tickets need to be filed. Once setup - tickets can be created in the following two simple ways:
Method 1: By using an emoji on a message posted on Slack
- Step 1: Send a message on the Slack channel. Post as many replies to the message as desired, including attachments.
- Step 2: Apply the ticket emoji on the first message. This can be done both by the customer or the customer service team.
A ticket will be generated and the ticket number, its title, latest status, and other fields will be displayed on the thread. All thread messages and their attachments are automatically uploaded into the ticket. 2-way syncing between the thread and the Zendesk ticket will automatically happen therefrom.
Method 2: Using Slack Actions on a Slack Message
- Step 1: Click on the three dots/More Actions icon beside the message. Select ‘ClearFeed’ from the list displayed.
- Step 2: Select the ‘File Zendesk ticket’ option from the ClearFeed dialogue box.
- Step 3: Review the ticket details auto-populated in the dialog box (and edit them if required).
- Step 4: Click on the ‘Create’ button to complete the ticket creation.
Method 2 is available only to customer service agents and allows agents to create tickets privately (and share ticket updates automatically on the thread as a configurable option). This method also gives agents a lot of control over which messages from a Slack thread are auto-populated into the ticket.
Halp is one of the top 3 ticketing solutions in the world that can connect Slack channels with Zendesk. Halp aids with tracking, prioritizing, responding, and assigning requests from Slack channels. As a user, you can automate redundant tickets, build customized forms, track the performance of your customer success teams, and measure ROI using Halp.
- A bi-directional session is created between Slack and Zendesk in real-time.
- Your customers can convert a thread on the Slack channel into a ticket using an emoji on the Slack message.
- Supports automatic ticket creation mode where every new message from existing customers is automatically converted into a ticket.
- The progress on the customer ticket is auto-notified to all followers of the ticket.
- Support for creating ticket creation forms using fields information from Zendesk.
- Attachments and Slack thread replies are not uploaded automatically into Zendesk on ticket creation.
- No support for leaving internal comments on tickets.
- No way of linking conversations to an existing ticket.
How to connect Slack channels to Zendesk using Halp?
A Slack Admin in your business’ Slack workspace has to install the Halp’s Slack app which is named (Atlassian) Assist. It also has to be configured to connect to Zendesk. Once configured - you can use Halp by using any of the below-mentioned methods.
Method 1: Using commands
There are four slash commands. You can type any one of them and create a ticket from Slack.
- /halp [describe the issue]
- /assist [describe the issue]
- /support [describe the issue]
- /helpdesk [describe the issue]
Method 2: Using Emoji
Add a ticket emoji to a message on the Slack channel to convert the conversation into a ticket. It can be done both by the customer and the customer success agent.
Method 3: Using Halp helpdesk
As a user, you can create a ticket from Slack using the Halp helpdesk app on the platform.
- Step 1: Click on the ‘Halp helpdesk’.
- Step 2: Click on ‘Create a ticket’. Choose the relevant form from the dropdown listed and fill it in.
The ticket is created and displayed on the ‘Messages’ tab under the ‘Halp Helpdesk’.
No surprise here! Zendesk provides an eponymous connector to connect Slack to Zendesk as well. A big advantage of using Zendesk’s connector is that no other vendor is involved. No security reviews, no budget approvals!
- Tickets can be created from Slack messages by both agents and customers
- Ticket id and status updates are notified back to customers
- A two-way conversation can be created between agents and customers on Slack by using Side conversations from within Zendesk.
- Internal comments can be left on tickets from within Slack by replying to ticket notifications and applying the `Add as internal note` Slack action from the Slack actions menu.
- Attachments and Slack thread replies are not uploaded automatically into Zendesk
- There’s no synchronization by default between the Slack thread and the created Zendesk ticket. Side conversations create a new thread.
- There is no support for configuring required fields or specifying default values.
How to connect Slack channels to Zendesk using Zendesk connector?
The Zendesk Slack app must be installed to the Slack workspace from where the user wants to create tickets. To create tickets from any channel - the Zendesk app must be invited to that channel. Once this is done, tickets can be created in the following manner:
Method 1: Using commands
A slash command /zendesk create_ticket allows you to create a ticket without selecting a specific Slack message. Once the slash command is run - a dialog opens up and all ticket details - like Subject, Description etc can be entered and a ticket created.
Method 2: Using Slack Actions on an existing message
- Step 1: Click on the three dots/More Actions icon beside the message.
- Step 2: Pick the Create a ticket option provided by the Zendesk app from the dropdown
- Step 3: Fill in the ticket details and click Submit. The ticket description is populated from the message.
Method 3: By tagging the Zendesk bot in a Slack message
The previous two methods cannot be used by customers in a Slack Connect channel since they do not have access to the Zendesk application commands and menu actions (those are only accessible to the organization that installed the Zendesk app - and hence only available to the agents). Both agents and customers can file tickets by tagging the Zendesk bot.
- Step 1: Post a Slack message on the channel which contains @zendesk
- Step 2: Click on the Create ticket button on the message posted back by the Zendesk bot
- Step 3: Fill in the ticket details in the dialog box that will now open up and hit the Submit button.
Workflow Automation tools like Unito and Zapier can also be useful for integrating Slack and Zendesk. They can both be used to trigger workflows on the arrival of new Slack messages and create tickets in Zendesk automatically and vice versa. However, they have a number of gaps with respect to an ideal connector:
- No ability to convert entire threads into tickets - or to upload attachments in Slack into tickets automatically.
- No response is posted back to Slack conveying the ticket status and other details
- Zapier provides a one-way workflow - meaning two-way synchronization between a Zendesk ticket and a Slack thread is not possible. Unito advertises a two-way synchronization - but lacks documentation and any kind of case studies around such an integration.
- Since they are automation tools - they do not have screens and dialogs that users can interact with while opening and closing tickets - and which can be customized as per requirements.
- No ability to have custom fields and default values.
- No ability for users to post internal comments via Slack
It’s 2023 and there are plenty of spiffy ways to connect Slack to Zendesk - although none are perfect. If you are providing support and engagement on Slack - it’s important to be able to convert and link customer discussions into Tickets and bring Ticket and issue updates back into Slack. It’s one of the important best practices we recommend for customer engagement on Slack and Teams. Connectors from ClearFeed, Halp or Zendesk can help you do just that.