Following is the basic guide of HelpDesk setting from scratch for the following use case: our customers are external users, all with the same permissions (creating requests, browsing their own requests, commenting and attaching files). They can signup by themselves. We need a united customer portal containing requests from several projects. Also, we will accept requests by email.

Install the app

At first, the HelpDesk application should be added to your Jira. Read how to find, add and manage the Server apps (Atlassian documentation).

Select a super-user

You will need a technical account that will perform various actions such as new user (customer) creation on signup, transferring requests, files and comments from the portal to your Jira, etc.

This user must have the Jira administrator permissions to operate with users. Let us name it hdbot.

Navigate to HelpDesk Settings → Customer Area → General Settings and set hdbot as the HelpDesk Super User:

Define your customers & agents

As HelpDesk permissions are mostly group-related, we must create a user group for our customers. Let us name it helpdesk_users. Add the hdbot user to this group as well.

We could not stick to groups only as we will need the roles to set the comment security levels later in our projects, so we will create roles:

  • Customers project role.
  • Agents project role.

Those two roles will participate in the HelpDesk-projects.

Read more: Managing groups (Atlassian)Managing project role membership (Atlassian)

Prepare your projects

Create projects or find the existing ones

Define which projects you are going to use to organize the service desk. Those may be one or more core/software projects. If you don't have the support-related projects create them as usually in Jira. Use any available project template – no matter if you have Jira Core, Jira Software or both.

Set issue security levels for target projects

As we want to allow our customers access only the issues they reported, we should set up the issue security scheme for the project.

Navigate to Jira Administration → Issues → Issue Security schemes and create a new scheme. Let us name it Support. We will only add one security level here that allows Reporter and Agents to access an issue:

Set this level as default and make it mandatory via the field configuration scheme for your HelpDesk-projects.

If you already have issues in the projects, and there are no security levels – use the batch operation to set the security level for existing issues.

Read more: Configuring issue-level securityChange a field configuration

Define the project permissions of your customers & agents

Navigate to Project Settings → Users and Roles and add the helpdesk_users group to the Customers role in your HelpDesk-projects and jira-core-users (or jira-software-users or any internal group) to the Agents role.

Navigate to Project Settings → Permissions and define what permissions should have the Customers role within the project:

  • Browse projects
  • Create issues
  • Add comments
  • Create attachments

Also, define permissions for your agents.

You should not use the Any logged user option for the HelpDesk-related projects' permissions scheme as it will grant your customers the relevant permissions as well.

Define comments security levels

Navigate to JIRA Settings > System > General Configuration for "Comment visibility" and make sure it's set to

HelpDesk provides two levels of comments security: visible to customers and internal ones. Navigate to HelpDesk Settings → Comments → Comments Security and specify which role will be treated as internal for your HelpDesk projects:

Now our Agents will be able to add internal comments.

Set up request receiving via email

Navigate to Jira Administration → System → Incoming Email

Add a mail server you will fetch your requests from. Add a HelpDesk mail handler to the list of mail handlers and select the mail server as the target.

In the example below handler will fetch emails from hdtestteamlead server and transform them into tasks in the Apps Support project (or comments).

Read more: Configuring Jira applications to receive email from a POP or IMAP mail server (Atlassian)Mail Handling – Helpdesk Mail Handler

Set up Customer Area

Define general settings

Navigate to HelpDesk Settings → Customer Area → General Settings and specify:

  • the Customer Area name (name of the link from your Jira)
  • Projects accessible via Customer Area. Here we select the "Only Selected" option so we will not need to adjust other projects: their issues won't be displayed in the Customer Area.
  • HelpDesk start page. As we are going to create the united Portal, we will make it the start page.
  • Ability to log into the Customer Area.

    Select helpdesk_users there and yourself to do some testing.

    Grant permission to yourself till you ensure the Customer Area is ready for Customers.

  • Public signup. We are going to allow public signup and enable captcha.
    (warning) Don't forget to specify the Groups for self-signed up users so they will be automatically granted the relevant permissions.

Read more: General Settings of Customer Area

Set up Portal content

Portal is the place where your customers can create requests. Navigate to HelpDesk Settings → Customer Area → Portals. Name the Portal and go to its Requests.

Add requests specifying the target project and issue type.

Set up Portal appearance

Navigate to the portal Appearance section to set up banner, footer, header content and logo. HTML & CSS knowledge are required here and for now, images are only displayed from a link.

The HelpDesk global sections (request racker, profile) inherit settings from the default portal.

(info) upcoming: HelpDesk appearance settings improvements

You can play around the following settings for banner and footer:

 Click here to expand...

Banner

<style>

.banner-img {
  position: relative;
  opacity: 1;
  background-attachment: fixed;
  background-position: center;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-size: cover;
  background-image: url("IMAGE_LINK");
  height: 200px;
}

.caption {
  position: absolute;
  left: 0;
  top: 43%;
  width: 100%;
  text-align: center;
  color: #000;
}

.caption span.border {
  background-color: #000000;
  color: #fff;
  padding: 10px 105px;
  font-size: 25px;
  letter-spacing: 10px;
}

</style>
<div class="banner-img">
  <div class="caption">
    <span class="border">SUPPORT FOR EVERYONE</span>
  </div>
</div>
CODE


Footer

<div>
<p class="portal-descr" style="text-align: center; background-color: black;"><span style="text-align: center; color: rgb(255,255,255);">Powered by HelpDesk for JIRA</span></p>
</div>
CODE

Read more: Look & Feel

Set up different fields for your customers

In case you don't want to display all the issue fields to your customer, you can define different screens for an issue if operated via Portal. Create new screens (it's easier to copy from the existing ones and just delete the fields from these copies) and organize them into a new scheme. Let us define a prefix for such schemes: HD –

Them navigate to HelpDesk Settings → Customer Area → Portals → Screen Schemes and restrictions for issues. Map a project and issue type(s) to a new scheme.

In the example below, we can see that a different screen scheme is applied for the Support Request type of issues. That means that agents and customers can see different fields for the same issue type via Jira and via HelpDesk.

Read more: Manage screen schemesIssue View & Actions in Customer Area

Set up an issue tracker

There is one more section within the Customer Area that must be set up – the Issue Tracker for your customers. It is a place a customer can browse their requests. As an admin, you can organize all requests into tabs with their own set of columns.

This is how it may look for our customer:

Read more: Request Tracking – My Issues Section


Set up Customer Notifications

The usual notifications will not suit your Customers as they contain links to Jira where they cannot log in to. To set the HelpDesk-notification, create a new notification scheme (Jira Administration → Notification Scheme) and – as your Customer only appears in the Reporter field – set the notification rules for the reporter only.

(warning) Don't forget to delete Reporter from the regular project notification scheme to avoid duplicative notifications.

Then, navigate to HelpDesk Settings → Notifications and map your new scheme to your HelpDesk project. These notifications will work in addition to the regular ones but their links will direct your customer not to Jira but to Customer Area issue view.

Read more: Creating a notification schemeHelpDesk Notifications

Do some testing!

Create a test customer, add them into helpdesk_users group (or sign up as a new customer) and try to:

  • Log in to Customer Area
  • Create a request via email
  • Comment on the request via email
  • Create a request via Portal
  • Check the available requests, comment on them, add some files.

Share the link to your Customer Area and helpdesk-related email with your customers.

That is pretty much all of the basic settings! Dive into the documentation to learn the details and set more specific cases.