Collaboration on Backlog With External Users in Jira

March 29, 2018
#How To#Jira
9 min

You can find a lot of information about how team collaboration delivers results and helps organizations meet their goals. At the same time, companies should not overlook their collaboration with customers and partners. This type of cooperation refers to the way a company uses customer feedback to improve its performance, service, and products.

In this blog post, we will highlight different solutions that will help you share Jira projects, collaborate on backlog, and effectively interact with your external users (clients, contractors, partners, or colleagues from other departments).

Issue overview

For example, your company is looking for new opportunities to collaborate with your customers on your current projects in Jira.

As a project manager, you have a lot of projects with different customers. Some of your clients are rival companies. This means that you do not want them to know about each other so that they could access only their projects. At the same time, you also cooperate with your colleagues from other departments that are non-Jira users.

Of course, you want to keep all the required information in a single well-prioritized backlog. Because by always working in priority order in the same Jira instance, your team can maximize the value of the product or service being developed.

You want to get timely feedback from your colleagues and customers to optimize everyone’s workload and product delivery.

So the key takeaways are the following:

  • Collaborate on your projects together with external users in your Jira instance.
  • Allow your customers/partners to create new issues, prioritize them, and share ideas with non-Jira users.
  • Get input and feedback from customers, stakeholders, and partners right in Jira.

Now let’s find the best solution to this challenging task.

Options to choose from

Shared instance in Jira

If you want to give your clients access to the work stream, you can create a shared Jira instance. Given how much sensitive information can be kept in your Jira instance, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your system is as secure as possible.

Your Jira administrator will need to think over the structure of your projects, create groups and roles for all the external users, and more.

However, making each customer a new Jira user can be not very scalable for some companies. Except that you’d need to administer your Jira for external users, every user of your shared Jira instance will count towards the Jira license.

Jira support & feedback forums

Another solution is to install the Customer Case app for Jira Cloud that allows you to communicate with external users or within departments via web portal or by email. This app helps you facilitate external collaboration through ticketing, backlog sharing without making each customer a licensed Jira user.

The Customer Case add-on allows you to manage the interaction of external users between themselves and with internal Jira users.

Your customers can discuss the existing ideas and add new ones. They just need to sign in with the help of their Google, Facebook, or Jira accounts. Your team will get notifications about any issues your clients experience with your products or services.

You can create private or public forums for your clients, colleagues, and contractors. Any user can post new ideas to the public forum, vote for the existing ideas, comment and watch them. Users can also sort ideas by status, priority, and popularity.

customer portal in Jira

If you want to receive feedback on the same product from several rival companies, you can create a separate private forum for each company. Your clients can easily work with ideas using Jira or Customer Case portals.

So Customer Case – Jira Support & Feedback allows you to organize the interaction with your external users avoiding issues with Jira administration and licensing.

Jira Service Desk capabilities

With Jira Service Desk, your team can take your customer service to a whole new level.

This solution provides you with bundled customer service templates, built-in email support, and suggested business automation rules.

jira service desk

You can group customers from one company by their domain and create a private portal to get timely feedback from them. So your clients from this company can easily share information with each other. However, Jira Service Desk might not be suitable for gathering customer feedback and collaboration on requests from users of public projects (where users can not be grouped).

Jira Service Desk integrates with Jira Software and Confluence that extends the functionality of your customer service portal. However, some organizations may find its pricing a bit high.

Resume

If you organize the process of collecting feedback with the help of a shared Jira instance, your business will benefit. However, your administrator needs to make sure that everything behind the scenes is running smoothly when it comes to permissions and licensing issues.

Customer Case – Jira Support & Feedback enables gathering valuable information from external and internal users that can interact with each other in many ways. It can be helpful both for your private and public projects.

Jira Service Desk is a useful solution for the companies that interact with the employees of their partners or contractors and can easily share their tasks and ideas with each other.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide which of the suggested options to choose from.

Please, tell us about your way to get feedback from your external users. You may also ask us any questions you have about Jira Service Desk and Customer Case for Jira Cloud. Feel free to comment below.

How to Improve Your Customer Service and Make Your Product Even Better

October 10, 2017
#How To#Jira
6 min

The main idea of customer service is helping people. Yeah, as simple as it sounds. At the same time, provision of your clients with good customer service before, during, and after using your products is a much more painstaking process. It minimally requires both an operational support system and an intuitive feedback platform.

Constant changes in business and technology landscapes are continuously changing the look of corporate IT support systems. The days when companies were differentiating between IT teams support and customer service support have gone.

There are a lot of helpdesk offerings on the market nowadays. In this article we’ll talk about the solution from Atlassian – Jira Service Desk. This modern and flexible service desk for technical support teams was first launched in 2013.

Jira Service Desk was initially designed as an IT support system, but it is continuously evolving to comply to the changing market needs. Today you can improve this support solution with lots of apps for better and up-to-date customer service.

Once you have launched a robust helpdesk system in your company, you still need to have the other important part of customer service – a convenient feedback platform. Why is it so crucial to get real-use feedback from your customers? Well, feedback is the cheapest, the most powerful, and still the most used management resource for further product improvement and development. It allows you to better communicate your ideas and help you to understand how other people perceive your product or service.

Feedback also has a very strong motivating and energizing effect on your team and people involved into the product development. It can impact both their product vision and perfomance. Feedback can also help with improving satisfaction of your customers, because people like to feel involved in making something better.

Combination of support and feedback

If you’re already using Jira Service Desk as a support system you have an opportunity to get a powerful feedback platform based on it. Of course, we’re talking about Customer Case. As Carolin Clark noticed in her article you can create forums for customers to comment and upvote on issues with the Customer Case add-on. Customers will be excited to have the opportunity to contribute, and service teams can be on top of the most frequent feature requests.

Customer Case combines both support and feedback forums united under a centrally accessible customer portal. Here is an example of one of these forums:

Users get intuitive interface for feedback submission on forums, voting on ideas of other users, and commenting on the offered solutions.

There’s no doubt that Jira Service Desk is a very powerful solution with lots of settings and customizable behavioral patterns. For those who need a simple but powerful tool to provide timely support and collect feedback about your products and services – Customer Case will be the right choice.

If you haven’t moved to Jira Service Desk due to its pricing or complex setup, take a look at Customer Case. This app allows you to efficiently use your license seats, so you can save money on the license for Jira Service Desk. You can install this app on your Jira Core or Jira Software, and let all the users work with support tickets or feature requests without any limitations. They can interact with customers, contractors, and suppliers through the forums or emails, respond to them, and track progress in Jira. At the same time all your customers can get in touch with your Jira team on the forums or by email.

Resume

The market today abounds with good solutions that can help you communicate with your customers and enrich your products with useful and high-demand features. The key is pretty simple: you just need to organize a support system or set up a feedback platform.

We at StiltSoft sincerely believe that the key to successful interplay between your team and your customers is in combining channels of getting timely support and receiving up-to-date feedback.

Do you agree with this point? Or maybe you have your own recipe of successful interaction within your business? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

3 Handy Ways to Communicate via Email in Jira Cloud

September 28, 2017
#How To#Jira
11 min

Nowadays email is one of the most-used channels for communication with customers. It’s quick, handy, and multifunctional. These characteristics define the importance of putting this channel to its proper use.

Agree that the world of technologies is moving more and more to the Cloud these days. The quality of Cloud products is increasing, as well as our requirements to them. While working on customers’ issues and ideas about your product you may like to take advantage of email for interaction with end users. The main idea of this article is to show you a few tools to combine email communication with one of the most popular issue tracking software – Jira Cloud.

If you are running Jira Cloud and need to configure communication by email, standard Jira MailHandler can be insufficient for your needs. The good news is that you have lots of ways to boost your Jira with apps from the Atlassian Marketplace. In this article we’ll name three apps that can help you to accomplish this objective. Here they are:

  1. Email This Issue
  2. Customer Case
  3. Enterprise Email Handler

Let’s take a closer look at each of these apps.

Email This Issue

Email This Issue is a tool that expands collaboration in Jira Cloud and helps you to keep in touch with all related users inside and outside your company.

By using this app you can do the following:

  • Send emails with issue details to your external and internal users, issue participants, and specific user groups by email.
  • Attach files to issues or comments by email.
  • Send automated notifications to internal or external recipients about issue events or workflow transitions.
  • Compose and send emails manually within Jira.
  • Append system-related data or custom fields to email subject, body, sender’s address, and comments.

The add-on has pretty rich functionality, but how to set it up? Let’s find out. After installation of the add-on you’ll see the Email button for every issue:

This button indicates that now you can send emails right from the issue. Click it and you’ll see the email screen. You can specify recipients, email subject, attachments, message text, and template of the email here:

Another convenient feature of this add-on is its notification system. You can define notification scheme with several options:

You can also create templates for your emails right in Jira:

For production usage you have to configure SMTP Servers for outgoing emails and POP3 or IMAP for incoming. By navigating to the administration section of the add-on, you can further fine tune its settings and adjust to your corporate needs. For the details on this, see the add-on documentation.

Email This Issue is available on the Atlassian Marketplace.

Customer Case

Customer Case is a full-fledged support and feedback system for interaction with internal and external users of your product. Intuitive and quick activation of the email communication is one of the benefits that this app can offer you.

Customer Case utilizes a mailbox to which you forward all the incoming emails from your corporate support email address. You needn’t set up any POP or IMAP servers, all these things are done automatically by Customer Case. In the mailbox settings you can select the forum for posting requests and adjust the From Email and From Name parameters for attributing all the outgoing emails to your company.

The specifics of Customer Case are a system of support and feedback forums incorporated into a single customer portal. Emails delivered to the allocated mailboxes are automatically converted into requests or replies and published on the corresponding forum as support requests or ideas. Here is an example of one of these forums:

This way your customers and new users can leave their feedback and get timely response. And that’s when you need to have a sustainable email communication channel for receiving notifications about new issues and informing your customers of progress on their requests.

Moreover, your Jira users get notifications about all the tickets created on Customer Case forums. They can start progress on an issue or leave a comment on it by email. Customer Case embeds a separate tab for posting replies to customers and preserves the native Jira tab for internal team collaboration on requests.

In addition to email communication, your customers can reach you on the dedicated portal and submit their requests through the web-interface. For logging in to Customer Case, they can use their social accounts on Facebook or Google, or create a personal account on the fly.

Free trial of Customer Case for Jira Cloud is available right now on the Atlassian Marketplace. Learn more about this functional tool on its documentation or demo site.

Enterprise Email Handler

Enterprise Email Handler is one more good app that provides extended email integration with Jira Cloud.

Once you install the app you can set up end-to-end configuration of Enterprise Email Handler:

  • Inbound: Create issues from emails.
  • Outbound: Send email notifications when issues are created, updated or commented.
  • Inbound/Outbound: Process emails, create issues and send emails.

This add-on offers pretty rich capabilities for text or HTML templates customization, including usage of images and CSS. Templates and CSS can be bundled into Themes for further export or import.

The add-on also has free integration with Hipchat, SMS, and Slack communication channels.

Enterprise Email Handler provides you with a full-fledged toolset to fine tune email coollaboration to your needs. You can see the documentation of the add-on or install a trial version from the Atlassian Marketplace.

Which one to choose

There exist a lot of ways to interact with your customers and in-house users by email in Jira Cloud. Some apps like Email This Issue and Enterprise Email Handler provide flexible setup with lots of configurable options. The others like Customer Case provide the ready-to-use solution operating out of the box with the simple and quick setup. But all of them are designed for running a support system with the primary email communication channel within your Jira Cloud.

No matter which tool you choose, the key objective is to have a place where your customers can get timely response and updates on their support tickets and feature requests.

Which tool would you prefer? Share your opinion with us in the comments below.