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Zendesk offers exceptional customer support with Slack

A single customer support experience can easily mean the difference between a lifelong fan and a persistent critic. To attract more fans and fewer critics, over 150,000 companies rely on Zendesk's powerful suite of customer support and engagement products to deliver world-class support.

When you work in customer support, your own customers expect even more from you. “There are definitely huge expectations for us, not just for great customer support in general, but really a step or two beyond that,” said Jon Brummel, senior manager of Premier Support at Zendesk.

To meet those expectations, Zendesk's approach to collaboration, both internally and externally, needed to evolve. Ideally, teams should act in sync across the organization. However, different departments used different communication tools and thus created information silos.

"We had Yammer for internal affairs, Flowdock for development and technology, Google Chat for internal sales and partnerships - it was just unbearable," says Brummel. "At some point the COO decided that this should finally be over." From then on, they worked Teams using the same tool: Slack. "When we all got there, it was just a godsend," Brummel sums up. Today, Zendesk teams rely on Slack to solve problems effectively, reduce resolution times and raise the bar for to continuously raise customer support.

"Slack has given us the ability to really deliver the experience we want to deliver: customer satisfaction increases and overall resolution time decreases."

Jon BrummelSenior Manager, Premier Support, Zendesk

Proactive support and faster problem resolution times with automated workflows

Zendesk's Premier Support team provides the company's highest level of support. It proactively monitors each Premier customer's configuration to identify problems and resolve them quickly. Brummel leads Premier Support with teams in Madison, Wisconsin, London, Dublin, Manila, Singapore, Melbourne and Copenhagen. “It's not just one or two time zones, it's operating around the clock,” he says. "With Slack, I can stay in touch with my global teams and avoid potential time bombs that would otherwise wait 15 hours in an email to blow up."

The team works in # advocacy-premier together, a Slack channel where the group shares messages and files, and also manages channels for each Premier-level customer. "So much of our ability to take on a topic together and to look after our customers in times of crisis depends on Slack," says Brummel. This is particularly evident in the company's problem-solving process. Everyone at Zendesk can register an incident in an internal portal by entering important details and selecting a severity level - from 0 (a simple, non-urgent request) to 4 (a serious situation that directly affects customers).

The submission triggers an automated workflow that creates a ticket with a summary of the problem and a forum post to keep customers updated. A custom Slack channel is also created that uses integrations that pull information from other tools and services to automatically add the appropriate engineering and incident teams. A Google Doc is filled out with a summary of the incident and pinned in the channel so that internal parties have the necessary context to find a solution. In urgent situations, the team uses the Zoom integration to initiate a call directly from Slack.

Support app helps manage service issues

This process took place in real time on a Friday afternoon. A customer submitted a support request, an internal ticket was created, and the Brummel team took action. “Thanks to the Slack contribution, our team pounced like an eagle on its prey within a few minutes,” says Brummel. Premier Support worked with Zendesk's engineering and operations teams to resolve the issue and keep the customer informed. Before Slack, this problem could well have persisted well into the weekend or even Monday. "This collaboration, in which everything comes together really quickly thanks to swarm thinking, is only possible through Slack and our integration with Zoom," says Brummel. "If we look at the response and problem-solving times before using these tools and compare them with those after they were introduced, a drastic reduction can be observed."

As part of the problem-solving process, team members use Slack reacjis - emojis that show actions or reactions - to quickly signal the status of a problem or question (e.g. 👀 makes it clear that someone is dealing with the topic; and a ✅ is used as soon as the respective person is done with it). “Knowing the state of a particular thread or element is critical. We can see at a glance what exactly is happening, ”says Brummel.

With 90% of his team spread all over the world, Brummel also relies on Slack to build cohesion and trust - be it through micro-inquiries or daily meetings with the Geekbot integration. These synchronizations help his subordinate employees to structure their day without wasting time in meetings for status updates. From submission to resolution, Slack enables Brummel and his team to act on issues, take action at lightning speed, and ensure customers are always up to date.

"Slack is the dashboard that tells me what needs attention and how I can ensure my team has exactly the support they need to move things forward for both the customer and the company."

Jon BrummelSenior Manager, Premier Support, Zendesk

Efficient management of partnerships with channels

As a technology alliance manager at Zendesk, Mike Yakovlev focuses on building partnerships that can help sales reps turn conversations into opportunities. However, juggling 50 or more partnerships at the same time via email proved extremely difficult. "It might as well have been a carrier pigeon," says Yakovlev. Today, when organizing co-marketing activities, communicating via sponsorship or discussing a joint solution for a potential customer, Yakovlev relies on channels in which project teams can easily share messages, tools and files.

The Zendesk channel # acme-zendesk
Acme is on this channel

Yakovlev understands that simple and efficient communication can mean the difference between a deal and a missed opportunity. “The sales force is about speed and getting the answers to their questions as quickly as possible,” he says. With channels, partners can be involved in exploratory discussions with prospects within five minutes of the original request. “Having all the information about a particular partner available at once is extremely important. We have a direct line to our colleagues in the companies we work with most often, ”he says. Most of Zendesk's partners are already active on Slack, which makes things even smoother.

Internally, Zendesk's sales force can access the channel # tech-alliances for quick answers about the company's partnerships. “Some questions come in very quick succession and have to be answered extremely promptly. You need answers immediately - and that wouldn't be possible without Slack, ”says Yakovlev. While the channel takes time to process incoming requests, he finds it much more efficient than other methods. "You would invest significantly more time and would not have the same level of transparency by far if these inquiries were received by e-mail," he says. When he replies to a request, this is documented for everyone to see so that he does not have to answer the same question over and over again.

Slack also helps Zendesk build bridges between partners and customers. For example, if Kelly Ryan, a strategic account manager at Zendesk, knows that a customer is looking for a learning management solution, she can quickly reach out to Lessonly, a partner and provider of learning management systems, through a channel and connect the two. "I build credibility by recommending the best partner to our customers and by offering the partner a business opportunity," says Ryan.

“I live in Slack - all day, every day. It is my central source of knowledge for all communication, internal and external. "

Mike Yakovlev Manager of Technology Alliances, Zendesk

Acceleration of sales cycles through company-wide knowledge exchange

Anyone familiar with the modern sales process knows that closing a deal is a truly enterprise-wide endeavor. With Slack, the sales team can call on support, product, finance, and legal experts for help. The ability to post a question or support request on a department's channel and get a quick response ultimately speeds up sales cycles, says Ryan. She estimates that this will save her two to three hours a day. In the course of a 260-day working year, that's around 650 hours or 81 working days. In relation to the entire 875-strong sales and customer success department at Zendesk, that is almost 570,000 hours that can be reinvested in building and deepening customer relationships.

Ryan, who works in the home office, also uses Slack to stay connected and share knowledge. “Slack is the primary way I communicate, get responses for customers, escalate support requests, interact with my team members and managers, and share sales presentations,” she says. By using information from the channel # ask-competition sales reps can proactively optimize their approach. When someone gets a great deal, he / she posts it in #winwire and gives team members the opportunity to congratulate each other and to exchange ideas about successful strategies. In #askaboutdeals the Revenue Operations team answers financial questions, and in #coolcustomers employees share interesting application areas and highlight successful deployments.

Today, virtually everyone in the company uses Slack to stay connected, whether it's an urgent problem, working with partners, or leveraging the company's collective knowledge. Slack helps Zendesk improve customer support for both its paying customers and the millions of people around the world who have had great service with one of its products.

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