What this post is about
- Begin by defining your goals and completing the installation
- Connect your channels: emails, telephone, social media...
- Create groups and add agents with roles
- Transfer your customer files to Zammad
- Personalize your helpdesk with your individual branding
So you want to improve your support? Great! It's best to start at the beginning and ask yourself what the perfect support strategy looks like for your organization. To help you with that, we have compiled a guide on how to find the perfect help desk in just five steps. Once you've defined your goals, you're ready to get started.
Zammad is available as a free version for self-hosting as well as in a carefree package on our servers, including continuous updates and backups. The latter version can be tested for 30 days free of charge - perfect if you want to explore Zammad a bit.
As a web application, Zammad is available immediately and without any long waiting time. You access your own instance via an individual URL (e.g. myorganization.zammad.com) and you can start with the initial setup right away.
After installation, it's a matter of connecting all of your communication channels to Zammad. For example, depending on your organizational structure, you may add collective addresses for different departments in your organization, such as Support or Sales.
Navigate to the "Email" menu item in Admin > Channels. In addition to your automatically generated support address ("email@example.com"), you can now link your own existing mailboxes to Zammad. This connection works with any classic email program such as Outlook, to which you can also add your own mailboxes.
We recommend linking separate mailboxes for all relevant departments within your organization so that you can use Zammad as a single point of contact for handling incoming requests, thus avoiding bouncing back and forth. This means you are no longer communicating from individual addresses, but from a jointly managed group mailbox.
Do you offer a support hotline to your customers? If so, you can easily capture these conversations in Zammad as well, associate them with existing requests, and thus keep user profiles up to date. Simply navigate to Admin > System > Integrations and select your VoIP service provider.
We work with three interfaces: "CTI (generic)", "Placetel CTI" and "Sipgate", and we offer you one endpoint for each, which you can link with your digital PBX in a few clicks. Our documentation tells you what you need to keep in mind.
The strength of Zammad lies in the variety of possibilities. That's why we make it easy for you to keep track of the multitude of social media channels. Are you active on Telegram or Twitter and respond to your users via direct messages? Then bring these channels into your unified support inbox as well.
To do this, navigate to Admin > Channels and follow the instructions in the "Twitter" and "Telegram" menu items. For authentication, you usually need to generate an API key in the platform's settings first, which you can use to authenticate Zammad as a channel to control requests. Go here for the instructions for Twitter and the instructions for Telegram.
In step 3 of your setup, turn your gaze inward: Which user groups should have access to Zammad, and what do they need in order to process tickets? The rule of thumb is that the more clearly responsibilities are defined for all groups, the better the processing will work.
Groups help you define which agents (that's what we call users within Zammad) get access to tickets and how the response should be coordinated among them. Under Admin > Manage you will find the menu item "Groups" and the button "New Group" to create a group.
In addition to a name, a description, and an individual signature, you can also enter information about prioritized workflows. For example, whether a response to a support mail leads to a new ticket or reopens the existing one. Or even whether the ticket should be reassigned to the same agent.
Tip: The larger your organization is, the more groups you will be able to create. Make sure that all groups also have at least one linked communication channel.
We have also listed all details in our documentation for you.
So now support requests are already coming into Zammad and you have clarified the group responsibilities. Great! Next, you will need team members who can also take care of all open tickets. These are your "agents", which you can create and manage under Admin > Manage.
Either create new agents by hand - or automate this step for a larger setup using, for example, a CSV import or the LDAP access protocol. This allows you to use an existing authentication system and lets existing user profiles access your Zammad instance (all info about this can be found here). In this case, the verification at login is done by your own server - according to your own security requirements.
Each user of Zammad can take the role of Admin, Agent, or Customer and is given pre-defined access rights to your system. Agents typically have read and write permissions to all groups that they belong to, and therefore to all tickets assigned to them.
However, you can also define your role management freely and introduce any number of levels between agents (find out how here). This makes sense, for example, if your Support staff should not have access to tickets from Accounting, but can accept their own tickets. For this purpose, you can easily create different agent roles and assign the appropriate rights.
For a smaller team, however, the standard setup consisting of admin, agent, and customer is usually sufficient.
Your customers, suppliers, partners, and even employees naturally play a central role in your helpdesk, as they too need access to conversation histories and incident numbers.
If you don't want to wait for incoming message requests, you can access and import existing contact information in Zammad. For smaller organizations, for example, it's a good idea to upload a CSV file that contains all relevant user information, such as names, contact information, and other notes.
Alternatively, you can import all your existing conversations from your linked mailboxes right away. This way, you don't have to re-enter existing contact information, nor do you lose previous conversation histories. Keep your gathered information, and Zammad will create custom user profiles for all contacts it finds. This works automatically, almost like magic!
Last but not least, you should set up personalization options within your Zammad instance. This includes setting the name of your organization and the display name of your helpdesk, as well as setting up logo, colors, language, and time zone correctly. These will then be automatically applied throughout Zammad (e.g. in your email footer). You can access the branding options under Admin > Manage > Settings in the "Branding" menu item.
As another aspect of your branding, it is also important to provide optional text modules. This will standardize common phrases that your agents use over and over again, and on top of that, ensure that everyone is speaking the same language.
With this step-by-step guide, you have set up your Zammad support inbox perfectly. User requests now reach you in a clear channel, agents know their responsibilities, and all work processes are regulated. Thanks to your smart helpdesk, your communication is now organized and clear.
If you don't want to leave it at that, then read on for our secret tips that make your support even more productive. And should we be able to support you with best-practice suggestions for conceptual design and set-up, simply request an individual workshop on the subject of Zammad. Good luck!