Disclaimer: When readers buy products and services discussed on our site, we often earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

screenshot of zendesk website

Zendesk Review: Does it Live Up to the Hype?

Zendesk has made a name for itself when it comes to improving customer engagement and experience, and the after-sales process. Check out our review.

I was excited when I started my online shoe shop 5 years ago, but nothing prepared me for the number of queries I would receive on email. I would wake up to hundreds of queries on delivery, shoe size, or someone wanting to resell my product.

I was overwhelmed in my efforts to respond to each!

Hiring multiple customer representatives was not feasible as I was just starting out and yet to break even. I knew for sure that if my online shoe shop was to grow I needed to interact with customers at a personal level – listen to their concerns and eliminate any bottlenecks to them getting my product.

It is during this time that a friend introduced me to Zendesk.

You have probably encountered the name in numerous email marketing campaigns and are probably wondering – what is it, and how will it help me scale up in customer relations?

Zendesk Company Overview

Firstly, Zendesk is what will bridge the gap between your customers and your business. It offers a self-service system that enhances customer engagement through ticketing. Zendesk is cloud based meaning you can deploy it anywhere and access customer information wherever you are.

The application is ideal for companies of all sizes. It has moved to leverage AI bots faster service delivery. 

Morten Primdahl, Mikkel Svane and Alexander Aghassipour founded the company in 2007. The company is listed at the New York Stock Exchange and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. With Zendesk you no longer need to worry about having a help desk, you can scale up as your company grows.

The application comes in a variety of customer relations modules that you can add to suit your business needs. You can integrate Zendesk with a variety of other applications like FreshBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Hootsuite, Agile CRM, Joomla! among others.

Key Features

Pricing 

If you are not sure on the product you can try out their free 30-day trial. The product offers affordable pricing when compared to its competitors like the Vivantio Pro ($48), Happy fox ($29), and the Freshdesk which comes free.

When the company was launched it has a slight advantage over its competitors by exclusively using machine learning in their products. Today, AI chat bots have become common place in the world of predictive analysis. 

So, what does a Zendesk subscription entail?

Firstly, Zendesk does an amazing job of raising tickets from a variety of channels like live chats, emails, social media accounts, web, and telephone calls. It also has a self-service portal for faster customer service. You can handle numerous tickets at the same time hence boosting service delivery.

When it comes to pricing, you need to note that Zendesk has broken down their products. Their competitors have a single product which you can upgrade. Zendesk have their Guide product that houses their self-service portal and knowledge base, then they have packaged their chat, talk and message being sold differently.

While product differentiation is welcomed it does bring confusion to new customers who are not familiar with the company.

Zendesk Support 

  • Essential: Here you pay $9/agent or $5/agent per month. This will give you access to their basic help center, access to email & social channels and web widget or mobile SDK.
  • Team: Goes for $25/agent per month. Access to all essential features plus performance dashboards, business rules, and allows integration with multiple apps.
  • Professional: Goes for $59/agent per month. You get all team features plus multi-lingual support, custom reports and CSAT surveys.
  • Enterprise: Goes for $125/agent per month. Access to all professional features plus multi-brand support, custom agent roles, multiple ticket forms, satisfaction prediction, and launch of success program.
  • Elite: Goes for $199/agent per month. Access to all enterprises features plus 99.9% uptime SLA, unlimited light agents, advanced encryption &security, 1 hour legal service level objective, and data center location.

Zendesk Chat 

live chat system

  • Lite: This is the free version that lets you have one current chat and access to your 30 day chat history.
  • Team: Goes for $19/agent per month. You get unlimited chats, 2 triggers & departments, widgets, and integration with public apps.
  • Professional: Goes for $35/agent per month. You have all the features of the team plus unlimited triggers, and departments, chat reports and conversion tracking.
  • Enterprise: Goes for $70/agent. You get all features of the professional plus real time monitor, widget unbranding, roles & permissions, web SDK, skills-based routing, and 24/7 live support.

Interface

When it comes to the Zendesk user-interface, you will notice that it is similar to other helpdesks in the market. You have menus to the left. It takes you sometime to get used to the icons but there labels that appear to guide you.

The interface can be confused for being too basic but once you start working you will have all that you need clearly displayed without the need to open another window.

The labels are not that many which makes the interface appear clutter free. Agents can view their pending tickets from the view screen and the best part is you can customize it to suit your tastes. This ensures that no agent misses out on a ticket. When you want access to more options you simply press the ‘+’ button.

With this you can create a new ticket. Data like requester, descriptions are needed to complete the ticket. The ticket can then be assigned to a specific member of your team. This is through the assignee box – alternatively you can let the system assign this automatically. 

The main view is where your agents can view all their tickets and status. It is imperative that agents take the time to fill all information for a new ticket. Zendesk allows users to assign notes to existing open tickets. This is done via the main view page. Clicking submit for a ticket means it has being solved and as the task manager, you can view previously worked on tickets from the recently solved tickets view. 

The applications can be easily accessed through mobile phone on iOS or Android. However, you do not get as much from mobile unlike the web version. For example, you cannot get access special functions and settings. The biggest pro will be that you can manage your ticketing through the app.

zendesk UI

As small enterprise, it can be a large task employing multiple agents to run your customer care department. With Zendesk, you can use it to scale up with increasing customer care demands. The application targets most small to medium enterprises.

With time you can upgrade your existing plan to more complex packages with features like web SDK, CSAT surveys, or IVR phone trees. Chat bots have being the hallmark of Zendesk success. By leveraging on machine learning, you have the ability to automate various repetitive tasks. This boosts efficiency as you eliminate duplication of resources. 

With Zendesk you can centralize all your customer interactions in one easy to use interface. Customer queries can be responded to from a variety of channels. If you have existing apps, you can integrate with the platform for enhanced performance.

What makes the application exceptional is that you can leverage on all your accumulative customer data for enhanced service delivery. The guide module can be customized so that you can send your FAQs and low query tickets there. This leaves your agents with enough time to personally respond to emerging or complex queries not in your help desk. Integration with various AI chat bots allows you to direct queries to relevant articles. 

Zendesk allows agents to add macros to existing troubling tickets. The reps can adjust the workflow route outside their spaces. 

Enhanced customer support

Zendesk functions more like a CRM than a ticketing tool. With the application, you have multiple customer care functions readily available. You can launch live chats, online messaging or voice support from the application. Instead of hiring multiple agents to handle customer queries, you can use the tool to enhance customer experience. 

Customers want to be served as soon as possible. Zendesk comes with a self-help portal that puts the customer at the center of interaction without necessarily involving. This allows you to deal with important emails that have being highlighted by the system. 

The support system allows agents to work on multiple tickets simultaneously. In addition, SMEs have access to a large customer database that will influence customer retention. 

Today, it is impossible to run a website without leveraging on live chats. This are often the simplest way to solve customer queries unlike emails and phone calls. The Zendesk live chats helps you offer fast and unrivalled customer care.  Zendesk offers this feature for free but it is limited unless you opt to pay more.

Here you will access widget unbranding, unlimited chats, or conversation tracking. Zendesk has expanded its chat tool to where your customers need it the most. In this regards, instead of it being a feature limited to your website, it offers customer support on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. 

Reporting 

zendesk reports

Zendesk raises tickets from live chats, telephones, social media, email and other company in-app sources. This is where it’s strength lies as you can extend this to self-service for prompt customer responses.

It also features an open application programming interface (API). Agents within the system can even add internal notes letting them handle large numbers of tickets. The reporting feature on Zendesk is based on your subscription plan with the basic one being powered by GoodData.

As you can pay for the professional subscription then you can access more comprehensive and powerful reports. 

Zendesk Sunshine

If you are on the Zendesk Enterprise then you need to try Zendesk in-house development platform. This allows to access most of their applications on an open API. In fact, sunshine is built on Amazon web services cloud platform.

What makes sunshine outstanding is that it comes with extra CRM functionalities that let you pull customer profiles and activities from their timelines. With this information you can build a powerful customer database that can let you offer differentiated products. 

Security 

When it comes to security do not expect much from the application. Firstly, you will be required to enter your email address and password. There is a two-factor authentication process common in most apps.

For your agents you can create security settings as single sign up options. Security has being beefed up internally through two-factor authentication for your agents. This prevents unauthorized use of accounts by outsiders.

The application has a way of recording IP addresses and this lets you know when employees login through personal devices. Agents can also create passwords through Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft. If you need more external authentication then there is the Single Sign-On (SSO). 

While all these options are good but this does not mean that you cannot hack the system. 

Zendesk is a very capable help desk for both small, medium sized, and large companies. It lets you give your customers solution in the fastest way. It supports ITIL and is solid ticketing system.

However, it has the drawback of being pricier than competition and it lacks some features for large enterprises like asset management. Having a suite of different products can be confusing for new customers who have to figure out what their organizations really need and the product to subscribe to. 

Conclusion

Zendesk superiority is centered on its ticketing system. This helps your agents manage unlimited customer queries. You can raise tickets from phone calls, emails, or live chats. The pricing is a bit difficult to understand due to the differentiation of products. You have chat and support being packaged as separate products.

This means you have to calculate the total costs for your company needs and compare this to competitors pricing. The leveraging of AI bots means you can use this for predictive analysis to customer care. The application has a two-factor authentication system that is even integrated internally.

This prevents employees from accessing the platform from private devices. Security is reinforced though the single sign-on (SSO). Since multiple agents can handle tickets, the application allows the agent handling it to include notes to it. This comes in handy in eliminating duplication of tasks.