Support Help

Setting up Community Forums

Empower your customers with an online community using Zoho Support. Customers can initiate discussions, post questions and get support - all from a single unified platform. Setting up a community is very straight forward.

But before that, let us learn a couple of terminologies you will come across, while you get started. 


Category - A category is collection of forums, or otherwise called a top level forum to be displayed in your self-service portal. By default, a category will be created for each of your department in Zoho Support. So when you signup for an account, a category in the name of your portal would have been created already. You can directly manage your online community through this category.


Forums - A Forum is a message board or otherwise called a sub-category where discussions are focussed around a specific issue or a topic. You can create multiple forums under a category to focus around different subjects. For example, Zoho Support could be your category, while FAQs, Feature Requests and Announcements are the couple of forums underneath it. 


Uncategorised Posts - Uncategorised posts are topics that are posted directly onto a category before a forum is even created underneath it. Though customers can post topics into a category, they will be considered as uncategorised due to the absence of a forum.

Creating a Category

As mentioned earlier, Zoho Support will by default create a category for each of your department. Besides the default category, you can also create standalone categories if need be. And remember, a stand-alone category will not be associated with a department.

To create a stand-alone category follow the steps mentioned below

  1. Go to Setup in Zoho Support >> Community.
  2. In the Manage Categories page, click Add Category.
  3. Provide a name and a description for the new category.
  4. Set the visibility for this category by choosing between
    1. Anyone (Includes Admins, Support Reps, Registered Customers and also anonymous users who are visiting the Customer Self Service Portal
    2. Logged in Users (both customers & agents) or
    3. Moderators
  5. Set moderation requirement for topics posted into this category by selecting First post only (requires you to moderate every first post in a discussion) or set to None
  6. Also choose the moderators who can administer moderation, for posts under this category. By default, administrators will act as moderators.
  7. Click Save to activate the new category.

Note:

  • A default category cannot be remapped to a different department at any point of time.

Actions on a Category

Lock

The lock feature puts a category on stand-by wherein your customers cannot post any topics onto it. However the category will be listed and its content can be viewed in the self-service portal. The lock can be applied to both default and stand-alone categories.

To lock a category, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, move the mouse pointer over a category.
  2. Click Lock displayed towards the right end of your screen when highlighted.
  3. The category would now be marked as Locked.

Similarly to unlock a category, click Unlock displayed on mouse over towards the right end of your screen.

Disable

The disable option allows you to archive a category if you will no longer be using it. Once a category is disabled, it will not be displayed in the customer portal. However, topics and discussions posted onto a disabled category can be accessed under the community tab within your portal.

To disable a category, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, move the mouse pointer over a category.
  2. Click Disable displayed towards the right end of your screen when highlighted.
  3. The category would now be marked as Disabled.

Similarly to enable a category, click Enable displayed on mouse over towards the right end of your screen.

Note:

  • The disable option is available only for stand-alone categories.
  • You can hide a default category(mapped to a department) from the self-service portal, by disabling the department under Setup >> Organization >> Departments. On disabling a department, its category will be displayed as disabled under the community settings in Zoho Support.
  • If a department is set to private(by checking'Don't show this department in Customer Portal'), its default category will not be displayed in the self-service portal.

Edit

At any point of time you can change the characteristics of a category using Edit.

To edit a category, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, move the mouse pointer over a category.
  2. Click Edit displayed towards the right end of your screen when highlighted.
  3. In the following screen you can edit the properties of a category like name, description, visibility and moderation.
  4. Click Save to reflect the changes.

Note:

  • You can edit all categories except the ones that are disabled.

Delete

If you'd like to discontinue a category, you can delete the same from your community. On deleting a category, all of its topics and discussions will be trashed beyond retrieval.

To delete a category, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, move the mouse pointer over a category.
  2. Click Delete displayed towards the right end of your screen when highlighted.
  3. In the following pop-up window, click OK to confirm your action.

Note:

  • The delete option is available only for stand-alone categories.
  • You cannot delete a category when it contains forum(s) created under it. So, ensure that you've deleted the forum(s) before trying to delete a category.
  • You cannot delete a category which is currently disabled.

Creating a Forum

Forum allows you to create a sub-category within a category. Creating a forum helps your customers to quickly access the information they need, besides keeping them focussed around a specific issue or topic.

To create a forum under a category, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. Go to Setup in Zoho Support >> Community.
  2. In the Manage Categories page, click a category to create a forum underneath it.
  3. In the Category Information page, click Add Forum.
  4. Provide a name for the forum.
  5. Click Save.

Actions on a Forum

Lock

The lock feature puts a forum on stand-by wherein your customers cannot post any topics onto it. However the forum will be listed under the category and its content can be viewed in the self-service portal. The lock can be applied across all forums.

To lock a forum, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to list the forums underneath it.
  2. In the following screen, move your mouse pointer over a forum and click Lock displayed over it.
  3. The forum would now be marked as Locked.

Similarly to unlock a forum, click Unlock displayed on mouse over towards the right end of your screen.

Disable

The disable option allows you to archive a forum if you will no longer be using it. Once a forum is disabled, it will not be displayed in the customer portal. However, topics and discussions posted onto the forum can be accessed under the community tab within your portal.

To disable a forum, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to list the forums underneath it.
  2. In the following screen, move your mouse pointer over a forum and click Disable displayed over it.
  3. The forum would now be marked as Disabled.

Similarly to enable a forum, click Enable displayed on mouse over towards the right end of your screen.

Note:

  • You cannot lock a forum that has been disabled previously.

Rename

The rename option allows you to edit the existing name of a forum.

To rename a forum, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to list the forums underneath it.
  2. In the following screen, move your mouse pointer over a forum and click Rename displayed over it.
  3. Perform your edits and click Save.

Move

The move option allows you to relocate/move an entire forum from one category to another.

To move a forum, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to list the forums underneath it.
  2. Now hover your mouse pointer over a forum and click Move displayed over it.
  3. In the following window, select a category to move the forum to.
  4. Click Move to shift the forum.

Note:

  • Forums can be moved between stand-alone categories only.

Delete

The delete option allows you to close down a forum permanently. On deleting a forum, all of its topics and discussions will be trashed beyond retrieval. If you intend to retain the topics posted onto a forum, you can rather move them before deleting a forum.

To delete a forum, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to list the forums underneath it.
  2. Now hover your mouse pointer over a forum and click Delete displayed over it.
  3. In the following window,
    1. select 'Delete All Topic' and click Delete to trash the forum permanently or,
    2. select 'Move to other Category' and choose a category(only stand-alone categories are listed) and a forum underneath it, to move the topics and delete the forum permanently.

Note:

  • A stand-alone category with a forum underneath it should exist, to exercise move action while deleting a forum.

Creating a Forum for Uncategorised Posts

While creating the very first forum under a category, you will be initiated to move the pre-existing uncategorised posts into it. You can choose to move and retain the posts or delete them right away.

To move uncategorised posts(when existing under a category) into a new forum, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to add a forum underneath it.
  2. In the Category Information page, click Add Forum.
  3. Provide a name for the forum and click Save.
  4. In the following pop-up window, select Yes to move the uncategorised posts into the new forum.

You can now find the uncategorised posts moved into the new forum successfully.

Convert Forum Posts into Requests

You can configure a category to automatically create a request, for topics posted onto it.

To set this capability, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. In the Manage Categories page, select a category to view its details.
  2. In the category information page, click Edit located in the top area towards your right.
  3. In the following screen, check 'Convert Forum posts to support requests automatically'.
  4. Click Save.

Besides the automated way, a support rep can manually convert a forum post into a request.

To create a request from forum post manually, follow the steps mentioned below

  1. Under the Community tab, select a topic to view its details.
  2. In the topic's description view, click Add as request located under Actions from the right panel.

Note:

  • The convert-to-request option is available only for categories that are mapped with a department.
  • When a support rep replies to a forum topic on a request, the response will be appended as a reply under the topic.

Customer Interface in your Community

Customers can create a topic, post a reply or engage themselves with the existing posts in your community while accessing your self-service portal.

  1. A new post can be created by accessing the Community Tab in your self-service portal.
  2. Within the community, they need to click New Topic located on the right panel.
  3. In the following screen, they can create a topic (title & description), choose a category and its related forum, add attachments if any, check notifications and publish.

Besides creating new posts, customers can also post a reply on an existing topic from within the community view. They need to choose a topic for which they intent to reply and then click Reply to this Topic to provide their inputs.

Customers can engage themselves and get their questions answered by reading through your forums under the community tab. By default, community view is set to list the recent topics posted in the community.

Support Rep Interface in your Community

Support Reps can create a new post in the forum by accessing the Community tab within in the support portal.

  1. Within the community, they need to click New Topic located on the right panel.
  2. In the following page, they can describe the topic, chose a sub-forum, add attachments, check notifications and publish.

While replying to a forum post, Support Reps can choose a topic and click Reply to this Topic to provide their inputs.

Note:

  • Support Reps can reply to a forum post from within the community tab or through the request created for the post.

Status of Request when its Topic/Reply is Deleted

Support Reps will be notified within the request, when a topic or a reply to a topic is deleted from the community.

  • When a topic is deleted, you will be notified with the message - This Post is Deleted in the Forums.
  • When a reply(while clicking on its corresponding thread) is deleted, you will be notified with the message - Deleted in Forums.

Note:

  • A topics or its reply will not be removed from a request, though it's deleted in the forum.

Top