Zendesk is a top-rated customer service solution with over 180,000 users. But is it the right solution for your company?
In this article, we explore Zendesk’s features and benefits, focusing primarily on CRM, CX, and support. In addition, we’ll provide the drawbacks of the software and viable alternatives so you can make an informed decision if you are considering using Zendesk for customer service.
What is Zendesk?
While Zendesk was initially founded to help businesses improve their customer experiences, the platform has evolved into a comprehensive customer service and engagement solution. The platform is designed to streamline interactions between companies and their customers by offering multichannel communications, a ticketing system, data management, collaboration tools, and other essential customer service tools.
How does Zendesk work?
Zendesk provides a cloud-based, customizable front-end portal connected to a robust ticketing system, live chat, reporting and analytics, and an extensive knowledge base. The software also integrates with applications like Salesforce and Google for a comprehensive customer support solution.
What is Zendesk used for?
Companies choose Zendesk to elevate their customer support processes and improve user engagement.
Zendesk’s helpdesk solution provides agents with a centralized hub for managing and resolving customer inquiries, issues, and support requests. The functionality includes real-time updates, agent collaboration, task automation, built-in SLA management, and mobile app accessibility.
The platform has extended its functionality beyond traditional help desk solutions to offer an impressive suite of CRM features. Businesses can use Zendesk as a CRM tool to maintain customer profiles, track interactions, and build a database of customer engagements. The integrated CRM approach empowers agents to provide a personalized customer experience.
End-to-End Customer Support Solution
As Zendesk continues to expand its user base, the platform has become an end-to-end solution, creating a seamless customer support ecosystem. Beginning with ticketing, Zendesk allows agents to provide comprehensive service throughout the entire customer journey with functionality like self-service knowledge bases, automation, and analytics. Zendesk’s wealth of integrations augment its native functionality with features like cobrowsing, surveys, KPI trackers, and more.
Zendesk’s Key Features
When choosing customer service software, a diversity of valuable features is essential. Below, we outline the most useful, giving details of how to put the Zendesk platform to work.
Real-time customer support allows agents to directly engage with web visitors, answer questions, and provide immediate technical support.
Customers can immediately find answers to commonly asked questions through a repository of articles, FAQs, and customized guides. Zendesk knowledge base features reduce a significant load on support teams, freeing agents to provide hands-on help when necessary.
Zendesk’s ticketing system organizes customer issues by logging, tracking, and prioritizing each support inquiry. The ticketing system also utilizes a customer satisfaction rating system, automatically sent a day after a ticket has been resolved, to ensure adequate care and address areas needing improvement.
Explore provides powerful prebuilt reports that help you visualize crucial information about your customers and support performance. Detailed reports and analytics help track critical metrics and allow businesses to make data-driven decisions, enhancing the customer experience.
Zendesk’s forums facilitate peer-to-peer support, allowing customers to share common problems and insights. The community forms empower user-generated content as a resource, allowing agents to resolve issues independently and better understand their customers.
Sales CRM (Zendesk Sell)
The sales-focused CRM built into the Zendesk ecosystem is known as Zendesk Sell. This critical component of the platform can help follow leads, boost team productivity, improve CX, and close deals using complete pipeline visibility.
Custom CX (Zendesk Sunshine)
Sunshine is the foundation of Zendesk, providing developers with everything necessary to curate custom experiences across all touchpoints. Agents are empowered with customized workspaces to boost productivity, automate processes, and streamline workflows.
AI, chatbots and conversion support
Recent innovations in AI allow agents to automate responses to common inquiries using chatbots. In addition, AI analyzes customer interactions to improve efficiency and enhance conversion rates.
Benefits of using Zendesk
As a highly rated CX software, it's clear that businesses are finding value in the platform. Here are some of the specific benefits Zendesk clients are experiencing.
Consistent customer service through the ticketing system
Zendesk’s ticketing system addresses every customer inquiry by logging, prioritizing, and managing requests. The fully integrated approach is the central hub for all customer questions and gives you a comprehensive picture of each customer, allowing agents to respond with the best care possible.
Excellent internal helpdesk management
Internal support with Zendesk is also streamlined. This ensures employees receive timely assistance for requests to IT and other departments, maximizing productivity and operational efficiency.
Responds to support tickets faster
AI-powered workflows help agents respond to common issues autonomously, freeing up their attention to problems requiring one-on-one assistance.
Personalize your solutions and boost branding
All Zendesk customer solutions are fully customizable. Offering care specific to your customer instills confidence in users, ensures elevated support, and promotes your brand. Some of the agent personalization features include:
- Avatars in agent profiles
- Agent signatures in contact details
- Including brand name in email templates
- Branded help center URL (support.BRAND.com)
Measure success with reporting and analytics
Zendesk Explore helps you analyze, understand, and share business information. You can access powerful, prebuilt reports to analyze critical customer information and support resources.
Supports your customers with self-service
Leveraging self-service solutions like Zendesk Knowledge base features empowers users to find answers without contacting an agent. Not only does this take the workload off your agents, but it promotes customer happiness and satisfaction as they can quickly resolve issues independently.
Integrations for cobrowsing and session replays
Zendesk offers integrations from product analytic tools like Fullview for cobrowsing and session replays. Instead of relying on email and chat to solve complex support tickets, you can initiate a cobrowsing call with the user straight from Zendesk. Cobrowsing calls allow you to take control of a user’s screen and solve the problem collaboratively with multi-cursor screen control. In addition to cobrowsing, Fullview also pulls complete console logs from customer browsers, adding even more context into customer support issues for effortless troubleshooting.
These critical integrations elevate Zendesk by expanding it features to create a comprehensive support tool unrivalled by competitors.
- Klaus – Feature-rich quality assurance software
- Assembled – Workforce management
- Survey Monkey – Customer feedback platform
- Nicereply – Metric tracking
For a deep dive into all the integrations Zendesk has to offer, read our Best Zendesk Integrations blog post.
Community forums and great Zendesk documentation
Zendesk offers extensive documentation readily available for its clients. In addition, agents can access and engage with community forums to solve customer problems and improve the overall user experience.
Drawbacks of using Zendesk
While Zendesk is likely the most popular customer support software available, the platform isn’t without any flaws. Below, we’ll discuss some areas in which we feel Zendesk comes up short.
Starting at the Suite Team tier for $69 per agent per month ($828 yearly), Zendesk can be unaffordable for growing companies. In addition, essential features like multiple ticket forums, SLA, the self-service customer portal, and even business hours aren’t available in the Suite Team price tier. Access to these crucial CX tools will nearly double the cost per agent.
Limited customization options
You may run into customization issues if your organization has a unique offering. For example, your departments may have different workflows operating in various industries, such as manufacturing, retail, and technology. Zendesk’s default customization options may not be adept at accommodating the diversity of workflows.
There have been some complaints regarding Zendesk’s interface on the community forums. Most notably, the redesign in 2022 that moved the reply box in the ticketing system to the bottom of the screen.
Zendesk is a comprehensive platform that continues adding features. While this is an advantage to companies with the resources to handle training, customizations, and hard coding, it can be overly complex for growing organizations.
Things to consider before buying
In 2023, Zendesk was used by 6.6% of the top 1000 websites, with only WordPress securing a higher market share within the group. However, before committing to the customer support solution, you must consider the following questions.
How big is your company?
If you are a small operation with just a few employees, the price of Zendesk may not make sense. However, as any company grows, building a scalable customer service ecosystem is essential, and Zendesk is among the best in the business.
While Zendesk is among enterprises' top customer support and sales management software platforms, it may be overkill if you are still looking to build your customer base.
How complex is your product offering?
The simpler your product, the better customer care you’ll be able to curate using Zendesk. If you offer a complicated product requiring customization requests, special shipping instructions, workflows across various industries, multilingual customers or clients, or heavy reliance on unsupported 3rd party systems, Zendesk may not fit with your offering.
What is your budget?
Considering Zendesk could cost you $149 per agent per month for the Suite Professional tier, budget limitations should play a role in your adoption decision. Zendesk will help your agents improve the customer experience, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of profitability.
Below are some of the most popular alternatives to Zendesk.
Live chat, messaging, and support functionality. Intercom is well known for real-time customer engagement and personalized responses.
Strong in-app messaging and Fin AI is an excellent chatbot. In addition, Intercom comes with more built-in CRM functionality and is advertised as much easier to use than Zendesk.
Less comprehensive than Zendesk and can be more expensive depending on the size of your support team and required features.
Intercom starts at $75 per month if billed annually for agents. However, hidden fees exist, such as $0.99 per Fin AI resolution.
Comprehensive CRM software with extensive sales, marketing, and customer service tools.
All-in-one solution to manage your entire customer journey under a single platform.
Support can be complicated for smaller businesses to set up essential features like the Desk.com ticketing system.
Salesforce starts at $25 per month for ten users. However, the features and storage are limited with the Essential plan. The Unlimited tier costs $330 per user per month for full access.
Suite of customer service and engagement tools, including helpdesk, live chat, custom applications, and AI-powered automation.
Zoho is affordable, comprehensive, and feature-rich, especially for small to medium-sized businesses looking for automated systems.
Limited compared to Zendesk for larger corporations with complex support requirements.
Zoho is highly affordable, starting at $20 per user per month and reaching $65 per user per month.
Multichannel support, self-service, and automation explicitly centered around customer service operations.
User-friendly software with solid ticket management and messaging support used by businesses of all sizes.
Freshdesk lacks the customization and automation capabilities of Zendesk and other more comprehensive platforms.
You can use Freshdesk with limited features for free up to 10 users. The comprehensive tier is $79 per agent per month when billed annually.
Zendesk’s features and benefits attract companies from all over the world to use the platform for customer service solutions. The advantages of Zendesk are clear, especially when paired with integrations like Fullview for additional support functionality.
Sources last checked on date: 20-Oct-23