Zendesk Data Migration Checklist

Zendesk migration can be done successfully. Over the years of experience, we've discovered the perfect combination to make the process as smooth and painless as possible.

There are a few to go: the first one is a detailed checklist covering everything from A to Z. The second is a reliable third-party service that takes the heavyweight of data transfer upon its shoulders. The best thing about Help Desk Migration is a user-friendly interface, so no need for data migration expertise.

If you're here, you may have already set up your mind to migrate to Zendesk, and most likely, you did some research. However, before diving into all the data migration-related details, we find it essential to inform you about the list of entities that can not be migrated to the new platform. They are:

  • Inline images (you can only import inline images from Freshdesk)
  • Links between knowledge base articles (here’s an explanation why)

A standard automated migration doesn’t support these options, but we offer an opportunity for customized migration. Contact our team to discuss the details of setting and launching your personalized transfer.

Note: When importing your Knowledge base into Zendesk, its dates will change from the original ones to the dates of data migration itself.


Quick fact: about 60% of efforts during the data migration process goes to preparation and planning. You have to spend a decent amount of time during this phase, but the results will pay off. That’s why this checklist covers nearly every detail to make sure you're fully prepared for the migration.


There are two ways you can approach your migration:

  1. You can migrate all data at once (Big Bang Migration)
  2. migrate sets of data (Trickle Migration)

From our experience, Big Bang Migration is easier to handle. It allows your team to keep working in the source system until you have all the data in Zendesk and are ready to make the switch.

Ultimately, all that will be left to do is a delta migration to transfer the new tickets created during the migration.
Even though Trickle Migration sounds easier, it comes with a lot of hassle and can interfere with the help desk-connected workload.


Be quite diligent in keeping your agents up to date about the big transfer date. Ensure you created a transparent workflow and give enough knowledge and time to start closing tickets for migration. If said in advance, your support agents will also try to get used to Zendesk, so the transition will not affect the working process.

Plus, it would be a good idea to distribute specific responsibilities among several responsible employees. For example, right after the migration, each agent can check all the tickets specifically assigned to them. So you check the accuracy and speed up the examination.

Ensure you inform both your CEO and customer support reps (everyone impacted by the transfer directly). No need to report every step along the way, but keeping them up-to-date about the process would be helpful. Moreover, some recommendations from their point might be quite efficient during the preparation stage.

A tip from Help Desk Migration: Remind your employees about the migration a day before to prevent any accidental work on tickets in your old helpdesk. Send an email with a reminder or create a calendar event.


If you move all records as they are, you will end up with piles of unused historical data in Zendesk. Consider going through most entities and deciding what you want to keep and what can be deleted. It will save you much-needed space for new incoming tickets and reduces the migration time.

HDM Service charges per migrated record. This is how spam cleaning can reduce your final check (and who doesn't want that?) The result to strive for is the data you feel 100% comfortable moving to Zendesk.

A tip from Help Desk Migration: Ask your agents, who deal with these records every day to separate the essential ones. They certainly know what can be left out, especially when it comes to duplicates, invalid emails, or unassigned ticket conversations.

Don't have time or human resources to look through your data? Our migration tool can perform simple filtering and omit certain data. Drop us a line before setting up your migration and tell us the criteria you want your data to filter.


Before setting up the migration, prepare Zendesk to be ready to accept the data. Pay attention to these steps:

1. Create custom fields with a matching 'type'. It enhances the mapping and allocation of the records after the migration. Zendesk is flexible in custom fields and allows customers to create custom fields for tickets, users, and organizations.

There are two ways you can create custom ticket fields. First is right in your Zendesk. To create custom fields, go to Admin →Manage→Choose User/Organization/Ticket fields→ Click Add field.

How to create custom fields in Zendesk

Or you create custom fields in Migration Wizard when you’re setting up the migration.

"Add the same field on Zendesk" button

Select the source field you want to map and click “Add the same field in Zendesk.’ Wait for a few seconds while the Wizard creates the field. Once the field is created, you will be able to map its values.

Your custom fields should:

  • have a default setting
  • be mapped as 'Unrequired

Otherwise, the field will remain empty.

As for Contact and Organization custom fields. You cannot map them on the Migration Wizard. However, you can talk to our team and get a custom mapping of these types of fields. 

2. Setup saved replies (macros). Just as you did with your data, assess which macros you may need in Zendesk. Maybe something is not relevant anymore. However, shared macros (created for everyone on the team to use) are better to keep.

To create macros in Zendesk, go to Admin → Macros →Add Macro.

How to create macros in Zendesk

3. Agent profiles. You don’t need to set them up as Migration Wizard will do this during the migration.
The Wizard will use the slots available in your account, so you don’t have to worry about being charged for extra agents. If you have some retired agents in the source system, the Wizard will reassign them to a default agent (usually the user initiating the migration).


Zendesk is one of the most popular help desks out there, and it’s a choice of many businesses for data import. Still, you have to pay attention to its peculiarities and limitations:

  1. When migrating to Zendesk, your suspended Contacts will change their status to unsuspended. The reason for this is that suspended Contacts cannot be the requesters of tickets in Zendesk.
  2. You cannot migrate tickets without contacts, organizations, agents since everything is interconnected. These fields should be filled in.
  3. After 28 days, tickets that were marked as 'Solved' will automatically get updated to 'Closed'. And after 120 days of being 'Closed', tickets are automatically archived. It happens because of certain automation settings. You can reduce the number of days until they become 'Closed', but you can't expect tickets to stay 'Solved' until you manually close them.
  4. By default, Zendesk does not show all ticket statuses in the main menu. To view all tickets, type * in the search bar and press the Enter key. This is the only way you can locate archived tickets.
  5. The tickets will have relevant tags assigned automatically by Zendesk based on the custom field options.
  6. Only default language migrates by default.
  7. The agent roles you see on Zendesk, depending on your subscription plan. For example, there is an administrator role that defines everything in your account. Or, a light agent role that can leave private comments to tickets, but cannot be a closed ticket owner, etc. If you are an Enterprise plan user, make sure all of your agents receive the Staff role to solve the tickets.
  8. Each subscription plan has a limited amount of agents. If you want to preserve the same number of agents you had on your source help desk, consider upgrading. If you don’t migrate certain agents to Zendesk, contact our team to reassign their tickets.
  9. Tickets without the agent will get assigned to a default agent in Zendesk. There are two options to fix it: a) make sure all your tickets have an assignee, and b) reach out to us and configure a default agent.
  10. You cannot store Knowledge Base Articles in categories, only in folders. If you had no folders on the source help desk, the articles would migrate to a default folder created automatically by the migration tool. While it seems a bummer at first, the consequences of spending a lot of time locating appropriate articles might be even harder to bear. Also, make sure that Zendesk Guide is activated.
  11. If you want to migrate articles to a certain brand, connect its link to Zendesk first.
  12. By default, Zendesk is configured to block unsafe HTML tags and attributes, to ensure that your customers can safely browse your knowledge base. For example, videos migrated as a part of Knowledge Base articles are referred to as unsafe content. To display them, go to Settings> Guide Settings, find Security, and check the Display unsafe content option.
  13. There are several types of tickets, which migrate differently. Merged tickets migrate as separate ones, together with private messages. Follow-ups migrate as one ticket. In the custom migration, you can transfer follow-ups that contain ID into a custom field or private note.
  14. The tickets CC field is not transferred but all the other people's replies are reflected on the ticket.
  15. The order of tickets during migration depends on your source help desk API/ It controls the process and determines whether new or old tickets will be migrated first. Our service migrates the users and then tickets, to maintain the user-ticket relation.


We can customize your migration to meet your needs precisely. You can also choose from out-of-the-box custom options like:

  • ticket tagging
  • migrating inline images
  • skipping attachments

Automated Zendesk custom options

When migrating to Zendesk, you can add tags to identify the migrated data. You can also migrate inline images as attachments. Note that this option can take longer to migrate data. And, finally, To speed up data migration, you can skip attachments.

If you need more specific custom work done, don’t hesitate to contact our team.



Why should you do this? Notifications can lead to data changes and unwanted notifications. That’s why it is better to turn them off.

To do so, go to Admin → Business Rules → Triggers → click on a Trigger and choose Deactivate.

How to turn triggers in Zendesk

To make sure that Zendesk doesn't change the imported data during the migration, disable the automations.

Go to Admin→Business Rules→Automations→Hover over the automation you want to deactivate→Click the three dots and then "Deactivate."

Go through each automation and deactivate it.

Deactivating automations on Zendesk


Instead of jumping right into Full Data Migration, we offer a Free Demo Migration. During this process, the Wizard will transfer 20 random tickets to Zendesk. So you can see how your data will look after migrating to a new platform. It is entirely free of charge, and you can repeat it multiple times.

We strongly advise not to skip this step and check the results to avoid any inconsistencies after the Full Migration. Double-check your account has admin privileges in the source platform and Zendesk to run the Demo.



Demo migration is the exact copy of Full Data Migration but on a smaller scale. Check if all tickets migrated accordingly. What didn't transfer during the Demo will not transfer during the Full migration.

What to look at during your checking?

  • All comments got migrated, and if the authors of the comments are the same
  • The tickets are assigned to the correct agents
  • All the custom field values got migrated
  • The customers and companies migrated correctly
  • Attachments migrated along with the labels
  • The categories are appropriately assigned (in Knowledge Base migration)
  • The automation rules did not update any of your demo data

We also have a detailed guide on how to check the results of demo migration to Zendesk on our website.


Do you have tickets with more replies, attachments, or notes than your usual ones and want to see how they migrate over to Zendesk? Request a custom demo, and we’ll transfer the specific ticket IDs that you want. Contact our team to discuss the details.



There may be several reasons for data migration. Some are simply looking for an upgrade, the others just moving separate teams. Despite your reasons, we advise running the Full Data Migration on a day with the smallest workload.

If it is critical, you can work on your source help desk during the transfer. But, the records created or updated after the Full Data Migration was started will not appear in Zendesk automatically. To keep that data, opt for delta migration.

The Migration Wizard runs the process in the cloud. You don’t have to keep the tab open during the process. Check back occasionally if you’d like or wait for a message from our team. We track all migrations, so if something goes wrong - we’ll contact you immediately.

The duration of your Full data migration depends on the number of records you're transferring. That may take up a whole day and even night. Data import to Zendesk moves at a speed of about 2000 tickets per hour. So you can roughly calculate the time it will take to transfer your data.


Any alteration can suspend your migration and take more time to migrate your data. If you spotted duplicate or unnecessary records on the source help desk, it's best to let them go through. When the migration is completed, do a little clean-up on Zendesk.

If you have new tickets coming into your source help desk, you can opt for a delta migration to get them migrated to Zendesk.


The Migration Wizard transfers each record one by one. Depending on the number of entities you have, the process may take up to 24 hours.

Note: Zendesk uses the UTC timezone during the migration, so you're likely to have at least a one-hour migration difference.

The migration begins if two requirements are met:

  1. Your payment is confirmed. It may take some time, that’s why we highly recommend you to make a transaction in advance. You can also choose the time and day and the migration by using our ‘schedule’ feature.
  2. You’ve agreed to the checklist. Click on the corresponding checklist to open a mini-guide of the essential steps you should do prior to transfer. If everything looks good, put a tick in a checkbox.



Even in the case of the smooth Full Data Migration, take your time to check everything. It's essential to set search filters for all tickets to find everything you might need.

To do so, go to Admin > under Manage click 'Views' > click 'Open' to see all tickets related to a specific category. This will open a list of all needed tickets.

How to find tickets in Zendesk

How to find tickets in Zendesk

A tip from Help Desk Migration: Type * in a search bar to see the number of tickets. Pay attention to the number of records and their quality – if they are readable and in place.


Your new workspace is now up and running. Connect the email service provider to your Zendesk instance. Enable all the notifications, and tune all the necessary settings. Then, update internal links for Knowledge Base, forward emails to Zendesk.

If you still have some questions about the migration to Zendesk, you can reach out to any of our experts for a free consultation.

Looking for more data migration details?

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