Open-source helpdesk platform Zammad announced a major version release today, featuring the addition of an all-new knowledge base. With this long-awaited feature, users of the platform can reduce the volume of support requests, whether from customers or from their own staff. By providing an intuitive, fully-searchable, multi-lingual database of common questions, a knowledge base empowers teams to address customer problems before they even arise. This new release takes Zammad a step further in its mission to help companies deliver a world-class customer service experience on fewer resources and with less wasted time.
The Zammad Success Story: 400 Corporate Subscribers and Growing
“With the launch of Zammad 1.0 in October 2016,” says Zammad founder Martin Edenhofer, “we ventured into the highly competitive market of helpdesk solutions with a completely new approach. Our aim: customers and users win. Our focus: commitment to modern web technologies, rejection of outdated design, and constant attention to the needs and wishes of our users.”
Edenhofer, who also created enterprise helpdesk suite OTRS back in 2001, says Zammad’s rapid growth is a testament to this approach. “After less than four years, we can take stock and say: Yes, we have achieved these goals.”
The proof is in the pudding: Since its initial release, an active community of both paid subscribers and free users has sprung up around Zammad. With more than 300,000 downloads on social coding platform GitHub, it’s among the most popular helpdesk applications available. Better still, it boasts a loyal and steadily growing base of paid subscribers, made up of mostly small- and medium-sized businesses, with a few large corporations joining the ranks in recent months.
These subscribers run the gamut, from technical training & coworking space Linuxhotel to large-scale printing manufacturer swissQprint to photo printing service myposter to a leading German media house.
In Edenhofer’s words: “We’ve earned the confidence of over 400 businesses in less than four years, with 70% year-over-year growth, and we have every reason to believe that growth is here to stay."
What is Zammad?
Zammad is a fully-featured helpdesk and support system made for the modern web. Its simple and intuitive interface means it doesn’t require extensive training to use. It gathers all the messages a company might receive from its customers, whether via email, phone, webchat, Facebook, Telegram, or Twitter, and combines them into a single, superpowered inbox where support staff can respond, delegate, schedule them for later, and much more.
For the management, it offers a dashboard view with real-time insight into the current state of the company’s customer support, complete with a listing of open tickets, their current status, and the last action performed on them.
Even customers can create accounts so they can log in to view the status of their tickets at any time.
Killer Features in Zammad 3.0
A well-built knowledge base is a win-win for companies and customers alike. According to a 2014 study, 76% of customers preferred to find information themselves online than to place a call for support. On top of that, customers don’t want to have to wait for business hours to find the answers to their questions.
With a knowledge base, companies can provide answers to customers’ most frequently asked questions, freeing up support staff to focus on more important customer concerns.
Zammad’s knowledge base also features per-article “visibility” settings, allowing editors to flag certain content as restricted to internal staff only.
Knowledge Base Integration in the Message Composer
Of course, customers are bound to still call in or email with questions that are covered in the knowledge base. To ease support staff’s burden in referring customers to knowledge base articles, Zammad provides easy shortcuts to insert knowledge base articles into customer messages.
External Plugins / REST API
A REST API (including client libraries for Ruby, PHP, Python and .NET) provides flexible extensibility. Unlike other open-source solutions, individual extensions do not necessarily have to be made accessible to the general public, which is a boon for enterprise users.
Zammad can be used in thirty different languages, including RTL languages like Hebrew and Persian.
Zammad third-party authentication via Microsoft Account & Azure AD or OAuth2 (e.g., Office 365, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
These are Zammad’s Knowledge Base functions.
“Our email support was in desperate need of improvement,” says Florian Oswald, IT Manager at Munich-based Keller & Kalmbach GmbH, “and Zammad was the answer. In addition to a knowledge base, the seamless integration of Office 365 was important to us. We got a chance to beta-test Zammad 3.0 and we couldn’t have been happier with it.”
With customers spread across the globe in industries ranging from mechanical and plant engineering to automotive to railway tech to aviation, Keller & Kalmbach leverages Zammad for IT support, serving around 900 individual users. The wide range of industries they support makes it necessary to maintain an extensive pool of knowledge and to make it widely available. “The Zammad Knowledge Base does two things for us: it helps us share precious internal knowledge within our organization, and it gives us a way to relieve the workload for our support staff,” Oswald adds. “And it’s so easy to use. They were up and running with it before we even had a chance to walk them through it.”
Advantages of Zammad
- Easy-to-use user interface means onboarding new agents is fast.
- High-performance full-text search, even on large systems.
- Integrated package manager makes it easy to add new functionality.
- Export function for switching from self-hosting to managed hosting and vice versa.
- Open-source software offers high flexibility and less vendor dependency.
Pricing and Availability
Zammad 3.0 is available today, both as a paid subscription and as 100% free open source software to install on your own servers (a.k.a. “self-hosting”). Source code, Docker containers, and installation packages for CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu are available at zammad.org.
Or, sign up for a 30-day free trial of the subscription service at zammad.com. Prices range from €5–26 per agent per month. The service is hosted exclusively in German data centers and is also available with ISO27001 certification on request. Zammad also offers subscription support contracts for operation on client companies’ own systems. Prices start at €2,299 a year.
Zammad is built in Ruby on Rails and is based on modern web technologies and architecture, such as WebApp/HTML5, WebSockets, and REST. Thanks to its comprehensive REST API, Zammad can be easily incorporated into existing systems. In addition, it integrates seamlessly with various third-party services, such as Slack, Asterisk, FreeSWITCH, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Active Directory (LDAP), Clearbit, sipgate.io, Placetel, Twilio (SMS), GitHub, GitLab, i-doit, Monit, Nagios, Check_MK and Icinga.
Source code is property of the Zammad Foundation
The source code is licensed by the Zammad Foundation under the GNU AGPLv3 license. That means it may be freely copied, distributed, and modified, whether for private or commercial purposes, with no licensing fees whatsoever.
It is available for download on GitHub.
Zammad is an open-source helpdesk and customer support platform for companies large and small. Zammad’s user interface was developed in collaboration with the award-winning UI experts from Zeughaus. It breaks with old traditions and is based on the familiar use of web browsers and smartphones, making it intuitive and easy-to-use.
Behind the project is an experienced development team led by Martin Edenhofer, who launched the commercially successful, enterprise-scale OTRS ticket system in 2001.