Zendesk is not an unfamiliar product in the SaaS space. They were one of the OGs who significantly changed how customer support is done in the digital world. It’s fair to say they pioneered the space of Helpdesk and ticketing systems which now is a multi-billion dollar industry with many competing alternatives and niche solutions for specific industries, use cases, and market sizes.
Is it the best tool for your use case? Let’s unpack that today.
Though Zendesk started out as a ticketing software, over the years, it has transformed into a reasonably large and complex platform catering to multiple use cases across the spectrum of a business.
While Zendesk boasts a good market share and thousands of customers, the niche players that have come into existence in the last decade are becoming increasingly popular and trump Zendesk on multiple parameters.
For fairly huge enterprises with very large customer service teams, Zendesk might still be the best choice. However, the majority are put-off by the lack of vertical focus and flexibility.
Let’s help you make an informed business decision.
Zendesk has multiple modules which they sell individually or as a package through the traditional SaaS model. They predominantly have two product lines - Zendesk for Sales and Zendesk for Customer Service.
We will dive deep into understanding Zendesk Features available for customer services.
The customer service product line is broken into multiple modules, including a helpdesk ticketing system, live chat, phone support, knowledge base, reporting and analytics, and community forums. Each module has varying degrees of product maturity and is being packaged and sold into different pricing tiers.
What started out as a centralized email support system has grown in its scope to become an omnichannel support system. The Zendesk ticketing system centralizes all the incoming queries from customers across multiple channels and organizes them into a simple inbox for support agents to act on.
The Support ticket system also allows you to manage the routing to your customer service agents based on multiple conditions. The popular use cases could include routing based on channels, based on region/language, based on product lines, or the nature of queries.
The helpdesk system aims to decrease the time to resolve a query by helping the agents with shortcuts (macros) and templates. It also provides a fairly robust automation engine ( although complex to learn and implement ) to create workflows that will increase the efficiency of your support team.
Omni-channel support. Organize all the requests from email, forms, and social channels into one central helpdesk.
What’s not so good:
Lack of sufficient context about the end customer, particularly for industries like E-commerce. Grouping multiple conversations from a single customer is not handled too well, leading to multiple agents working on the same query from a single customer.
Zendesk messaging is a separate add-on that can be connected to the agent helpdesk to manage live conversations. Initially, it was just a live chat module which can be placed on websites and applications for instant messaging. It is now a larger tool that centralizes live conversations across website live chat, Facebook messenger, and WhatsApp.
The messaging module also comprises a chatbot, answer bot as they call it. This allows businesses to create automated flows to deal with customer queries and save time for the support agents.
Reporting for live chat; Gives supervisors a good understanding of turn around time, average time taken per query and other key metrics as live chat is a vital channel for most businesses.
What’s not so good:
The chatbots can sometime appear to be quite tacky. The complexity of set up and the fact that it is a separately billable module might not sit well with businesses looking for solutions that are budget friendly and easy to implement. Learn More on Limitations and Drawbacks of Chatbots
Zendesk helpcenter is the knowledge base product of the Zendesk suite. It allows companies to create a repository of all frequently asked questions and answers, support documentation and troubleshooting scenarios.
The knowledge base also comes with a back end module which lets you upload new articles/ update existing ones and ensure your knowledge base is upto date. The helpcenter module has both internal and external use cases. The internal use case is mostly applicable for HR and people management teams to create their internal company knowledge repository.
Metrics on frequently consumed articles which gives businesses a good understanding of their customer needs.
What’s not so good:
The FAQs are not contextual. Products like Richpanel package offer only the relevant FAQs for a customer in the self-serve portal instead of making them search through a huge list of QandAs.
Zendesk talk is the phone support/ call center management module of Zendesk. It is one of their late additions to the customer service suite. It helps businesses quickly set up a virtual call center by setting up VOip dialers, text messaging and voice mall management.
Similar to the ticket management system, Zendesk talk also comes with native routing capabilities to manage call volumes. A basic IVR functionality is also part of the module to offer minimal self service for customers on phone.
Ease of set up. Particularly if you are already in the Zendesk ecosystem, it makes sense to also use the talk for the ease of set up.
What’s not so good:
Zendesk talk doesn’t go too deep into the call center management capabilities. When you compare them with standalone call center platforms such as Aircall, Ringcentral or JustCall - the lack of depth is apparent. And the interesting part is, the Zendesk core platform integrates with all of the standalone calling software.
Related Read: Guide to Set up Call Center for Ecommerce Business
No software is complete without an analytics module. Certainly not for systems like Zendesk which forms the core of a business stack. Zendesk offers deep analytics and reporting capabilities to measure and iterate your support team performance.
And no prizes for guessing, it’s a separate add-on module billed additionally.
The Zendesk explore module let’s businesses understand:
While the breadth of analytics that Zendesk offer is too good, the complexity of set up and ease of use goes for a toss. It’s so complex that there exists several agencies who are hired just to set up and manage Zendesk reporting.
Understanding insights shouldn’t cost you so much. Should it?
If you are an E-commerce business, by now you would have gathered it’s best to avoid Zendesk for your CX use case for the following reasons:
Poor E-commerce integrations: Poor integration set up with popular E-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento.
Not SMB friendly: E-commerce support teams are usually small teams with few agents who deal with a lot of repeat queries. Zendesk is an overkill for such use-cases.
Non-Scalable pricing: The per-agent pricing and the pricing tiers are certainly not conducive for growing E-commerce stores. The pricing model also prohibits any collaboration in your CX team.
Ease of use ( or the lack of ): You can’t get up and running quite easily. As an E-commerce business you can’t afford to waste time in setting up your CX platform as the volumes you deal with everyday is just so massive.
As an E-commerce business, you are better off using off-the-shelf Ecommerce helpdesk or Ecommerce customer service software like Richpanel. We have 100s of ex-zendesk customers who have migrated to Richpanel for one or all of the above reasons. For more here's why Atlas Bars Chose Richpanel over Zendesk
Here is how Richpanel compares against Zendesk for E-commerce businesses. You could get up and running with Richpanel in matter of few hours.
If you are looking for unbiased advice on all popular zendesk alternatives, we have got that covered as well for you!
We hope you walk away as a much more informed decision maker when it comes to deciding if Zendesk is a right choice for your business and your use case. And if you are a E-commerce business, let us save you some time and effort - you’d certainly thank us letter :) Get started here today! or Book Live Demo