Using Zendesk with your CRM

What is Zendesk?

Zendesk offers organisations a support desk in the cloud for a low subscription fee. It is used by a large variety of customers who seem to have very little in common, except that they have recognised they need to make an effort for their customers and give them the ability to track their own tickets and be more engaging by for example providing a knowledge base, enhancement request forum or product announcements.

Why do I need it if I already have a CRM?

Almost every CRM system has customer support functionality, often called Cases, which are records which represent a customer request or issue. Combined with workflow, Cases can be a great way to track Cases from the moment they come in until they are solved. But where CRMs often focus on the internal process, Zendesk is a system which focuses on the customer experience.

Zendesk does have workflow, which will work fine for most businesses, but for example compared to Salesforce, falls short where it comes to tracking Service Level Agreement (SLA) where the Service Level is expressed in business hours, as opposed to actual hours.

So why use Zendesk as well as CRM?

Zendesk isn’t a CRM, so you still need CRM. But why would you not stick with the CRM’s support functionality? Answer the following questions:

  • Does your CRM provide a customer portal, where the customer can always see the status of their issues?
  • Do you currently offer a knowledge base?
  • Do you accept enhancement requests from your customers?
  • Do your customers have online discussions about your product or services?

If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s worth considering Zendesk. CRMs often don’t offer this out of the box. Zendesk, apart from your customers being able to see their ticket status online, offers customer forums as standard which can be used for announcements, FAQs, general discussion and gathering valuable product feedback.

How will CRM and Zendesk work together?

If you were to implement Zendesk if you already have a CRM, the integration between the two systems is very important. When a salesperson wants to get a full picture of their account, they’ll need to see the status of any open issues. So how does this work? Zendesk offers API access to tickets which allows for integrations with any system such as CRMs. Zendesk already ships with integrations for Salesforce, Highrise and Tactile CRM.

What are the alternatives?

Apart from developing your own customer portal, there are many other helpdesk software solutions that offer a customer portal:

  • Web Help Desk – offers a free version, otherwise similar but no clear advantage over Zendesk
  • Get Satisfaction – more community oriented, sometimes used in conjunction with Zendesk
  • Kayako – integrated chat ability
  • Mojo Helpdesk – offers client satisfaction ratings, more cost efficient than Zendesk for large number of helpdesk staff

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