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How to enable self-service in Jira Service Desk, Pt. 1


Nowadays, self-service becomes a new sexy. Customers seek for on-demand problem solving, which is something support teams have to consider. According to Forrester Research, 72% of customers prefer self-service over the phone or email support. Given that they can easily find and use these capabilities, providing them can reduce the ticket volume, increase customer satisfaction, and sometimes even reduce support costs. Let's take a look at what we're up to when using Atlassian software for this purpose.

Atlassian's take on self-service

According to Atlassian, we can provide a successful self-service experience in 3 ways even before the customer raises a request. This includes easy access to an online knowledge base, the possibility to seek help within an online community, as well as a clear and well-thought-out customer portal. If you're familiar with the Atlassian software, then you know that they not only talk the talk but also walk the walk by providing all those elements and more.

  • Jira Service Desk interface is clear even for the first-timers, as there are only the key elements that users need to raise a request. More importantly, though, the software is known for its flexibility when it comes to the customization possibilities - here we disclose this topic.
  • We can post announcements on the Customer Portal to inform that we're already working on some issue so it doesn't have to be reported anymore.
  • Confluence enables us to create a dedicated space where we can store articles and tips that may be of help for the client. We can link this space with a Jira Service Desk instance, hence giving the users easy access to this online library via the search bar.
  • The customers can check the status of their incidents if we're using Statuspage.
  • No matter if we're a Solution Partner, an app vendor, an admin, or a user of their products, we can join the Atlassian Community which unites people interested in their software and serves as a forum where anyone can seek advice on how to deal with encountered issues.
  • There's a Twitter profile called Ask Atlassian, which is dedicated solely to the problems users have with their products, so you just need to mention them in a tweet about an issue and they'll answer it.

What's more, Jira Service Desk Cloud has a special Widget which enables us to configure a light version of the request form, copy the generated code, and embed it on various websites. For example, we have it on our Atlassian Marketplace profiles and the documentation section on our website. This way, the customers can raise a request whenever they have a question about a product.


Leverage chat experience

But there's one more thing they could do even before opening the Customer Portal. The increasing popularity of various messengers and enterprise chat solutions led to a situation where users would normally expect a live chat with a sales or support consultant. If there's even such a thing as ChatOps, why not give a similar approach a try and show a human face to the customer in real time?

There's already a good couple of various live chat solutions on the market. We already wrote in this article that product companies and IT departments are now facing an opportunity to incorporate artificial intelligence in their operations to make them more effective, which may be a good case for implementing a chatbot. We should consider one of these options when:

  • we have a big number of first-line tickets dealing with trivial issues like pricing questions;
  • our customers more likely trust the information they receive from a consultant instead of a knowledge base;
  • or they simply don't find the Jira-based interface comfortable to use.

Marketplace apps like Chat for Jira Service Desk or integrations with external tools like LiveChat enable customers to easily connect with an agent before going to the request form. It allows us to quickly log issues and service requests for resolution by IT personnel. Depending on our needs and configuration of the chat, it can either automatically create requests and store the conversation as comments, or provide a platform to communicate with an agent before submitting an issue. Other solutions, like Telegram for Jira integration, can actually substitute the Customer Portal interface with a conversational bot.

Create a clear look and feel of the Customer Portal

According to British Computer Society, 75% of conclusions people make about a website's credibility are based on its visual aspects. It shouldn't be a surprise that users are more likely to use a product or portal that is visually appealing than something that seems raw and generic. This means that the aesthetics of a service desk are just as important as any extra functionality. And let's be honest here: even though the Jira Service Desk user interface isn't lacking in any way, there's next to nothing we can do to change the overall design of the Customer Portal out of the box.

Self-service-wise, a clear look and feel is key. There would be no point in any service desk if it weren't user-friendly. The customers should see where to log in, know which request type is for what, and be able to raise a request in a matter of seconds. As we've already mentioned, the UI of Jira Service Desk is clear even for someone who sees the portal for the very first time, and there are a few self-service functions you can use, like knowledge base integration. You can extend this further with the apps available on the Atlassian Marketplace - for example, Extension for Jira Service Desk allows adding external links to the header bar, so you can point to your website or other useful resources.

To do this:

  1. Go to Project settings and click Links in Extension section.
  2. Click Add and fill the necessary fields.
    1. Remember to define if this link will be visible on the navigation bar only for a specific project, the help center, or globally. 

You can apply more significant changes to the user interface with Theme Extension for Jira Service Desk. Intuitive configuration on the Edit mode doesn't require any coding skills - we'd only need some help from graphic designers in creating custom graphics and adjusting brand colors. However, if we happen to know some HTML, we can add custom cards to the layout, which can be a more distinctive reference to specific places, like documentation or release notes. The possibilities, though, are almost unlimited - here are more ideas to get inspired.

To do it:

  1. Go to:
    1. Manage apps in Jira Administration menu to configure a theme for Help Center screen;
    2. Project settings to configure it per project.
  2. Choose Configuration in Theme Extension section. 
  3. Select Cards theme and click Next.
  4. Apply theme and edit those elements you want.
  5. Click Add custom card and paste the HTML code.


This is the first part of the article. Read the second part to learn more about extending self-service capabilities in Jira Service Desk - this time after a customer files a request.



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