Freshdesk training for customer-facing teams at the BHF

What we want you to learn

How Freshdesk works – Key concept 1

It’s not about email.

Customer can send multiple emails to different teams and only the customer sees all of their communications, no one at the BHF does. Sometimes an email is sent to the wrong team and so has to be forwarded, sometimes to wrong team again. Loose track of who is dealing with it. To provide effective customer support we need to get out of the mindset of ‘sending emails’.

Customers can interact with different teams at the BHF over multiple channels. Those interactions come into Products, which represent the customer facing parts of the BHF and usually associated to a particular email address, e.g. dechox. Each new interaction creates a Ticket, and following interactions add to that ticket. Each Product has at least one Group associated to it, but can have many. Agents work in Groups to deal with Tickets. Agents use the multiple tools available to them to deal with tickets in the most efficient and effective way. Stop even thinking about the channel.

How Freshdesk works – Key concept 2

Those of us who work in Freshdesk are called Agents. And it’s an interesting phrase. Calling someone an Agent implies they have agency; the capacity to act independently and to make their own free choices, to originate and direct actions for given purposes. So by conferring this title on a person we empower them to . And with power comes responsibility. All of those parts of Freshdesk are designed to give agents the tools to live up to this responsibility.


Agents can look at previous tickets for the customer they are helping to see what answers have been provided before. 

Also use Canned Responses.


Discussion forums can be accessed by all agents to share information such as ‘Team X has fewer agents than usual and more tickets than usual so will be taking longer to answer customers, please don’t bother us unless it’s absolutely necessary.’


Freshdesk has automated rules that perform actions on tickets such as assigning Priority, Group, Status, meaning Agents don’t have to manually perform these tasks.


Agents can create Notes in Tickets and notify other Agents to ask them to provide information, etc.


Administrators can look at Reports to understand how Agents and Groups are working and whether any improvements can be made to help Agents.


Agents can look at a knowledgebase of questions and answers that are maintained by all of the groups using Freshdesk. Used effectively, this means that if a customer asks multiple questions in the same email and it would normally require two teams to answer independently, one agent can answer both queries in the same interaction.


Documents, images, etc. can be stored in the Solutions section and used for reference or sent to customers.

Team Huddle

Agents can ask other group members for advice or information by starting a Team Huddle for a particular ticket.

We don’t yet use all of these tools to their fullest potential but the more we do the better we’ll become at meeting the needs of our customers.

How Freshdesk works – Key concept 3

How you create views of tickets in particular states is important for seeing the right 

If we make the mistake of thinking of tickets are like emails, we can only really think of them in a binary way, either ‘Replied to’ or ‘Not replied to’.

Creating ‘Views’ allows us to filter tickets together to see the ones we need to deal with at this moment.

If you look at a list of tickets it is almost impossible to figure out which needs your attention first.

How Freshdesk works – summary

The three key concepts we need to get our heads around is that Freshdesk is not just another way to send emails, that Agents need to be able to take responsibility for helping customers, and creating useful Views helps see what is going on, what the priorities are, and what needs to be done first will help manage tickets. If we keep these three concepts in mind as we go into Freshdesk we’ll be in the right frame of mind to get the most out the system and more importantly a new way of working.

Freshdesk functionality

Customer facing and associated to BHF email address




Business hours

SLA on ticket priorities


Email address



Priority – Urgent, High, Medium, Low (times from SLA)

Status – Start as Open, want to get to Resolved. In between could be Waiting on Customer, Waiting on BHF, etc. A ticket set as Resolved will be changed to Open if the customer replies.

Agent – Assigned agent who is responsible for resolving the ticket.

Group – Group the ticket is assigned to. Useful when creating a view for a Group.

Product – Tickets will always be in a Product, if they aren’t assigned they will default to Digital Support

Tickets Templates – Prefilled fields

Replying to a ticket – Sends email to email address held in the Contact details.

Adding a note – Private notes can be used to record info about the ticket, and notify other agents.

Forwarding a ticket – Sends email out of Freshdesk. Beware of CC-ing email addresses.

Updating properties – The Properties should reflect the current state of the ticket, which are seen in the View of tickets.

Merge – Merging tickets that are about the same subject and from the same contact.

Matched in order listed, triggered when conditions met, and only one rule will trigger.

Rules need to be as specific as possible to prevent affecting tickets that match but shouldn’t be affected.

Various reports can be generated using Views.

Customer service chatbot using Freshdesk API

Having built a chatbot that uses the eBay API, and with the idea of a customer service chatbot floating around, I decided to see if I could build a chatbot that uses the Freshdesk API to pull content from the Help Articles into a chat flow to answer queries from customers.

The bot introduces itself as any good bot should, and then asks the customer how it can help.

Customer service chatbot using Freshdesk API

The buttons that the bot displays are dynamically populated by querying the results from the Freshdesk API to find out what top level categories are available in the Help Articles section on Freshdesk.

When the customer selects the appropriate category the bot dynamically creates buttons again from what is returned by querying the sub-categories in Freshdesk.

Customer service chatbot using Freshdesk API

And when the customer selects a button the bot will calls the content of the Help Article and displays it in the flow.

Customer service chatbot using Freshdesk API

The bot then checks if that Help Article is what the customer is looking for. If the customer selects Yes the bot tells the customer that it’s glad and ends the conversation. If the customer selects No, the bot allows the customer to contact a human by raising a ticket in Freshdesk.

The bot is very simple, partly because there aren’t very many Help Articles to pull from, but it demonstrates that using the Freshdesk API to populate the buttons on the fly can work and means that the content only needs to be maintained in Freshdesk and not within the chatbot.