Integration types

Coveo for Zendesk can be integrated in two types of services: Zendesk Support, which is the agent interface, or Zendesk Guide, which is a customizable self-service knowledge base. By adding a Zendesk source to your Coveo organization, your content is added to the index, and then appears in query results for agents and end users.

Integration for Zendesk Support

Zendesk Support uses the Agent Dashboard, which appears when you log in. The dashboard is a ticketing system designed to help agents track customer interactions. Coveo for Zendesk instantiates different sections of the dashboard in order to provide you with personalized recommendations.

The Coveo integration for Zendesk Support relies on the Coveo search page service, which includes the JavaScript files along with the search page template. When a query is made, the integration first parses a JSON web token (JWT) generated by Zendesk to ensure user authentication. Then, depending on the query, either the Top Toolbar component or the Ticket Sidebar component is instantiated and the search page service returns the correct page configuration based on the query context.

agent interface

Search token

To ensure user authentication, the Coveo-hosted search page in Zendesk will use a Zendesk server-side app to generate a JWT token. This token contains user information and is specifically for your Coveo organization. Once the token is sent, Coveo generates a search token based on the information retrieved (see Building a server-side app - Bonus part: Secure the app for more information).

Only the user information is used to create the token. A search hub is enforced in the token with the default value, zd_<Product>_<Location>, where <Product> and <Location> are replaced with the information provided by the Zendesk JWT token.


Neither the search hub nor the Coveo Platform-generated token are customizable, therefore additional filters or identities can’t be injected.

Ticket sidebar

The Ticket Sidebar component on the Agent Dashboard contains data pertaining to the ticket context. This is where the Insight Panel is embedded, allowing the ticket context to be leveraged and allowing the user to retrieve relevant items. The CoveoJsSearch library renders the Insight panel search interface. The ticket data is retrieved with the Zendesk Client API after which the context is flattened and modified for readability by the Coveo Platform.

Top toolbar

The Top Toolbar component is visible at the top of the Agent Dashboard. The toolbar consists of icons which allow you to access different functionalities such as creating a new ticket or opening a search box. This component doesn’t have access to the ticket; instead, it takes care of the initialization and communicates with the Insight panel to retrieve the context of the ticket and updates accordingly.

Integration for Zendesk Guide

Zendesk Guide is a knowledge base designed for end users which uses the self-service Help Center that can be customized according to the customer’s needs. The self-service integration is set up by implementing a Coveo search box in the Help Center and also by replacing the home page with a built-in Coveo search page that allows end users to search for relevant content.

The search box and search page are implemented by importing Coveo JavaScript Framework files to the header of the Help Center. Depending on the theme used in the initial setup, the search box may be added to either the home page or the page header while the search page must be added to the Help Center. The integration is finalized once Coveo within Guide is initialized, after which the Help Center will be ready for use.

Zendesk Guide Limitation

At the moment, Zendesk Guide doesn’t support server-side apps. Contrary to the JWT search token which ensures user authentication in Zendesk Support, an API key is used instead to implement the Coveo search box in Zendesk Guide.

As a result, user identities aren’t supported in the integration, meaning that logged-in users are treated as anonymous users and can only access public Zendesk articles but can’t access any secured Coveo content. For more information on the API key authentication method, see API Key Authentication.

What’s next?

Get started on the deployment, and then follow the applicable installation steps: Zendesk Support or Zendesk Guide.