What are the Chat SDKs?
Chat and messaging create a personal connection with customers looking for support. They’re fast and effective ways of offering help without interrupting the customer experience or moving them away from your app.
The Zendesk Chat SDKs are a quick and convenient way to embed Zendesk Chat into your iOS and Android mobile apps and to make chatting with your support agents a breeze for your customers. The Chat SDKs are fully native so you don't have to deal with ugly web views or complicated flows.
Integrating Chat into a new or existing project takes only a few lines of code. The Chat SDKs combine this simplicity with the flexibility to make the chat interface look and feel like the rest of your app.
What’s the new Chat SDK EAP (Early Access Program)?
The current versions of the Chat SDKs have been around for a couple of years. Over this time, we listened to your feedback, feature requests, and pain points to improve the Chat SDKs and the mobile experience for your customers.
Based on this feedback, we completely re-wrote the Chat SDKs, focusing heavily on reliability, stability, and performance. The new Chat SDKs are built on top of our new Unified Messaging Interface, which allows for the interoperability of the Chat SDKs with other Zendesk SDKs. Other major improvements include:
- Real-time queue position updates: No more fixed queue positions. Your customers can now check their queue position in real-time.
- Ending a chat on a visitor’s behalf with a callback: As an integrator, you now have more control over the chat session lifecycle, a major request from previous versions of the Chat SDKs.
- Completely new and updated UI: The SDKs' UI components have been totally remade and have a more contemporary look.
- Answer Bot integration: Join the Answer Bot SDK EAP program and get Answer Bot to work together with Chat. Answer Bot can automatically answer common questions your customers ask, saving your agents time.
We’re about to release the Android and iOS versions of our new Chat SDKs. However, before we roll it out to General Availability, we’re offering an Early Access Program to give some of our customers upfront access to the new SDKs. The objective is to work closely with you to make improvements to the integration experience and get your feedback as we continue to build the core functionality.
Is this available to all Zendesk customers?
Yes, this Early Access Program is available to any Zendesk customer with an active Chat or Suite subscription. Nonetheless, the following are some things that each customer should consider before requesting to join the EAP.
Some features won't be available
The Early Access Program, as the name says, is an early release of the new Chat SDKs. Some features that are available in the existing Chat SDKs are not available in the initial release of the new Chat SDKs EAP (but will be available for GA).
The following features are not available in the initial release of the new Chat SDKs EAP:
- Pre-chat forms (you’ll be able to set fields using the APIs but without the UI)
- Account/Department offline awareness
- Rate a chat and receive a chat transcript
- Event listeners
- Changing the colors or styling of the user interface
- Sending attachments (your customers will be able to receive attachments from agents, but they won't be able to send them)
Over the coming months, we’ll be working to deliver missing features and reach feature parity with the current version of the Chat SDKs. We’ll be releasing incremental updates throughout the EAP, meaning you’ll get these features gradually.
It's also worth noting that the new Chat SDK for iOS will be only available for iOS 10+.
You're expected to work closely with us during the EAP
Here are a few things we ask of customers participating in the Early Access Program:
- Report any bugs and expedite the release of new versions containing fixes.
- Give us ongoing feedback on the accuracy of the provided documentation.
- Be open to working very closely with us. Your engineers and product team will need to work with us during the EAP to ensure the success of your implementation. Be prepared to provide us with quick feedback and have your engineers and product teams committed to the success of this implementation. We might also ask you to take part in some screen-sharing sessions to understand how you’re using the SDKs and give feedback.
- When you achieve success, be a case study and talk about how the Chat SDKs delivers value to you and your customers.
This is beta software - can I trust releasing it into my production apps?
Despite the fact that this is an Early Access Program, legally under Zendesk Beta Software Agreement, we take the quality of our SDKs EAPs with the utmost seriousness. Every component of our code is fully tested and vetted through the same process used for our General Availability production software. Although there's no way of guaranteeing that you won't face issues (as it happens with any type of software), we're very confident about the quality of this SDKs EAP release.
From this perspective, the main objective of this Early Access Program is not to validate the quality of the software, but to validate the integration steps, documentation, and the features we’re releasing.
Note that as early access software, not all features are complete yet. See “Some features won't be fully available" above.
Ready to take part?
All you have to do is fill in some information and you're ready to go! We’ll review all responses and then select eligible partners for the first phase of this EAP.
What happens after I register?
The new Chat SDKs EAP will be rolled out in stages. Zendesk will select the customers to include in the EAP following internal criteria. This means that some customers might take a little longer to get access to the EAP. Don't worry! The program is designed to give you an awesome experience during the early access stage.
As soon as a customer is selected, we’ll partner closely with its team to understand their experiences with integrating the new Chat SDKs into your mobile application. Zendesk will also provide support for you at this early stage, with direct access to the team that's developing the new SDKs.
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