Zendesk EAP - Side Conversations & Slack
Side Conversations were introduced as a way to enable agents working in Support to reach out to the right folks to get help on their tickets, such as external vendors, other departments, or other agents, all directly from their tickets. We have a strong viewpoint that the people being reached out to should be able to respond quickly and easily where they're comfortable, rather than being forced to log into a foreign tool they're not used to. With this in mind, the first version of Side Conversations worked exclusively with email, since virtually everyone has an email address, and it enabled collaboration with outside people.

To take this concept even further, we will be concentrating on making internal collaboration even better. For many teams, internal collaboration means Slack, so we're taking Side Conversations to Slack. This integration will enable agents to reach out to Slack channels via Side Conversations, tapping into the collective intelligence of the team, and allowing folks to reply back directly from Slack threads. This means no more stranded conversations in Slack and an easy way to get even more people involved in providing a great customer experience.

What's this all about?
At this stage of the EAP, we are fleshing out the integration between Side Conversations and Slack. You'll be able to:

- start a new Slack Side Conversation and set a channel as the recipient
- initiate a Slack thread for the channel to reply to
- receive all replies to the Slack thread back in the Side Conversation
- continue the conversation with the Slack thread from the Side Conversation
- continue using Side Conversation trigger conditions on the new Slack conversations

Need more detail on how it works?
This integration is building on top of the new Slack integration that was recently released. Building on this foundation makes it easy to get everything set up and make the Zendesk app available in the appropriate Slack channels. Once the app is in the necessary channels, they'll be available as destinations for the new Slack Side Conversations. From there, messages sent to the channel are delivered via the Zendesk app, and a thread is automatically created. Once the thread is created, the app will pay attention to all replies in the thread and send them over to the Side Conversation. These replies will be treated just like any other Side Conversation reply, which means you'll be able to set up triggers that do things like changing the status of the ticket. The conversation can go back and forth in the Side Conversation and corresponding Slack thread. This is a great way to enable agents to reach out to a Slack channel for help without having to leave the ticket and without leaving valuable discussion about the ticket in a separate silo. It also means the people being reached out to can help right from Slack, where they're comfortable, removing friction and hassle.
Is this available to everyone?
There are a few pre-requisites to be part of this beta:
- You currently have the Collaboration add-on
- You have Side Conversations enabled
- You use Slack in your company
- You have the Slack integration installed and configured

Costs? This feature plans to be available with no extra charge as part of paid Collaboration add-on and naturally free during EAP period (https://www.zendesk.com/enterprise/collaboration-add/)

This being an Early Access Program, are there limitations with the product?
This integration is pretty early in its development cycle, so it won't have all the bells and whistles that come along with Slack. For example:

- No emoji picker or autocompletion
- No attachments
- No emoji reactions
- No direct messages
- No @mentions

While many of these things are planned for the future, they won't be a part of this beta. However, we'd love your feedback on which missing Slack features are vital to your workflows.

What is expected of me?
There are a few things we ask:

1. Provide feedback on the feature, ease of use, and documentation
2. Report any bugs
3. Be open to working very closely with us, initially and ongoing through this stage
4. Willingness to get it wrong, in order to make it better

Ready to take part?
All you have to do is fill in some information and you're ready to go!
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