Sorry. We Messed Up.

We’ve spent the last two and a half years building this company by putting our customers first and meeting their needs. When we decided to make a change to the Zendesk pricing structure for our existing customers, we tried to be as thoughtful, transparent, and straightforward as possible. We failed. We let you down. And we apologize.

We have received a lot of feedback from our very passionate customers since these changes were first announced. We have spent the last 48 hours answering questions on our support forum, on the phone, and in person. We have also been reaching out to our customers to truly understand the heart of why you are upset.

As a result, we will be grandfathering pricing to all of our existing customers — without a time limit. For the same price you’ve always paid, you will receive the same functionality that you had in the past, in addition to the new community support and knowledge base features we announced on Tuesday. No further action is needed. Period.

And for those customers who took action this week to convert to an extended billing cycle, please contact us if you would like to revert back to the billing cycle that you held as of Monday.

When we made the pricing changes, our intent was truly to give you more features and functionality at a good price. This is particularly true for the new Starter plan, which we thought would be a great alternative to the smallest of our Regular plan customers and an opportunity to move to a lower price offering. We also believed our customers would look at the new community support and knowledge base features, which are the most requested features ever, and see it as a whole new product offering.

We missed the mark. Instead of our intended result, many of you read my Tuesday e-mail and thought, “You want to send me a big bill for something that I didn’t order and haven’t agreed to?  WTF?”  Today, I hope to express that we hear you, we understand, and we will always listen to our customers. We will also continue to invest in product innovation over the years to come, and we will remain committed to offering both the best product and the best value for all of the additional functionality we roll out in the future.

Even though I wish I hadn’t made so many of you angry, I am glad that we got to hear you. It’s an important reminder. And let me reiterate: we will always listen to you. You are the reason we exist.

I will be heading off to New York for our customer meet up today (Thursday 5/20) at 6-8:30 pm EDT at SoHo Park Cafe. I’ll be there with a few others from Zendesk, and we would love to discuss all of this with you. It would be great to see you there.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

Mikkel

@mikkelsvane

P.S. Please give us at least a day to update all of our support documents (FAQs, blog posts, etc.) and your feature sets to be in sync with this.


  • Samuel S.

    Thank you!

  • Byron Patrick

    THANKS Mikkel!

  • Chuck Stump

    Well said. Thank you for listening and acting.

  • Taras Savchuk

    Good

  • Thorleif Wiik

    Thanks a lot !

  • James

    There we go… that's the zendesk we tell people about. And yes, the new features are awesome and I wouldn't have minded paying 10-15% more… just not 53%!

    Thanks guys! I was worried the VC people had a gun to your head and we'd have to leave…

  • Joshua Nozzi

    This is much, much better. I'm glad you were willing to consider changing your plans.

    Will there ever be a Zendesk meet-up in Baltimore, MD or Washington, DC? If so, I'd like to drop by and say hello.

  • Scott Piggott

    Thanks for coming to a sensible resolution to this problem. I've used and loved Zendesk since the early days, but this betrayal will be in the back of my mind for a long time. I'll think long and hard about using another SaaS solution in the future. It was a bit of an eye opening experience. Sorry, what's done is done.

    Good luck at the customer meet up tonight, could be brutal. Actually, it should be brutal.

  • jim jones

    too late now

  • adam

    Really to little to late, zendesk has already wasted hours of time for me putting a business plan together for a change of helpdesk system, getting quotes, playing with new systems and I am about to lose a weekend trying to configure a system for a meeting on monday.

    I really can't trust a company that can do something like this and then c**p on a customer via twitter.

    Who knows, the IT manager may keep zendesk after the meeting but the damage is done already for me, I use to say the system was "good and fair" to others looking for something. I wont be saying that now

  • Dylan

    Nice! Thanks for listening to us.

  • Lane Campbell

    I'm glad that you realized the obvious massive price hikes brought obvious bad feelings toward ZenDesk. Did it take a visit from the Fail Whale to make this more obvious? If so I need his number so he can visit until signatures are added for agents.

  • Colin Richard

    Looks like the mutiny was a success! Nice work on quelling it Captain!!

  • Tom

    We all make mistakes, not many though are willing to own up and rectify them. Good for you guys – you deserve the loyal following that you have.

  • Roy

    What a great response to something bad. An example to a lot of CEO's. Making a mistake is easy, fixing it is hard, and you did it in a splendid way. You earned a lot of credits with this, I will recommend zendesk more and more.

  • Andrew Y

    Mikkel / Zendesk,

    Thank you for listening to feedback and acting on it. As a customer, this is what matters. Sure, you pissed a lot of people off by raising rates for a new feature set, but 90% of them, myself included, appreciate you reverting to the old rates for existing customers after hearing our comments. 90% of your customers will appreciate this, and won't hold it against you. The other 10% are likely high maintenance customers that would have left at one point or another anyway.

    Thank you, and please keep listening!

  • Rohit

    What about the trial users, who were promised something else and now after integrating everything, need to shell out more.

    Come on, revert back to the old pricing. We dont want to jack up our prices because of ZenDesk screwed up.

  • Alan

    Thanks for listening. I LOVE zendesk and I have put SO much work into our support desk and forums, and have pushed it so hard within my company that its been used cross the board. I'm glad I don't have to go to my manager with some crazy price increases, and for a moment I was seriously worried about Zendesk's future.

  • Timothy

    First of all – i am neither a zendesk user, employee or investor. But have been following this situation since it all began. Which was 3 days ago….

    It amazes me that people are so quick to jump ship – fair enough, you look for options, but to have people say too little too late? You wouldn't give 3 days to see where this was going, especially considering the enourmouse outrage? Something was bound to happen.

    Obviously a CEO/Mgt of a company would never immediately do a 180 turn until the situation has been analyzed…but 3 days is not exacly slow guys! You would never get a company like Oracle, Sap, or any other big time company (or a SaaS company for that matter) to admit their mistakes. No matter how big or small. Everyone asked for things to go back to normal – and an appology was given as well…You even got pricing locked for eternity as a "sorry – we screwed up"

    A big tip off the hat to Mikkel and the team for doing the right thing – easy to make mistakes, difficult to rectify them – which I think ZD has tried to do in the best way possible. No company is perfect – anywhere – but it seems that this company IS actually listening to its customers and fixing their c**k ups – and that deserves more respect than the people jumping ship after 3 days is showing…

  • Joshua Nozzi

    @Timothy – let's be fair, some businesses don't have time to wait it out if their budget has to be approved and they have to decide quickly before the financial s*** hits the fan.

  • Brian

    I must be missing something. It wasn't an honest mistake or a decimal point in the wrong place. It was an actual attempt to make a run at this. I think that I have seen the hand that you wanted to play and now I need to react. Had there been no uprising what then? Would you have just come to the conclusion that you had made a mistake, from thin air? I really doubt that. The trust is broken you just tried to go after the money, why should we think that if you can't make progress there you wont skimp out in other areas? You have shown your hand.

  • Dirk Einecke

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Amber

    A bandaid after you reamed existing loyal customers.

    For a non-customer, though, why would we even consider ZenDesk when we would be subject to the exorbitant pricing that had your loyal and profitable customers running for the hills?

  • Bastian

    Kudos to ZD for quickly realizing their mistake.

    Caution to ZD never to proceed in this fashion again, that is, don't try to hold your loyal user base hostage. Do what you want with new service, you will find out how that plays out in the competitive market (i.e. if the price is too high, no new users will come).

    Shame on those that keep beating ZD on this. ZDershould have put more thought into it, yes, but come on, now, let's settle down that anger in the face of quick settlement of the issue.

    Trust disturbed? Yes, but not destroyed for us here.

  • Helen Yu

    @Rohit – yes, we will be grandfathering pricing for existing trial users that signed up before Tuesday.

  • AndyB

    Thanks you :-) for listening

  • Disgruntled of Londo

    Great. So I just spent hours and hours evaluating new systems and putting together proposals when I needn't have bothered. Thanks.

  • BigCat

    Ok ok – I spent ALOT of hours this week on this, researching alternatives, etc. But I appreciate the effort by Zendesk to appease its client base, and I think we will stay. Yes, the trust has been damaged, and it's a long road back. Yes, I'm going to keep our options open now, but I honestly wasn't thrilled with what I was seeing for alternatives. So why cut off my nose to spite my face and leave *in case* Zendesk *might* decide to do something awful again? I can't see a reason to do that so we'll likely stay, and upgrade to plus, as planned. Thanks, Zendesk. Let's see how it goes from here.

  • Mike Samson

    Nicely done, Mikkel! As a long-time ZD customer, I want you to know that honesty, transparency, and humility will win out every time. Thanks for everything you guys are doing,

    Mike Samson

    co-Founder
    http://www.crowdspring.com

  • Bob

    Zendesk needs a real CEO now. Great that you've build a following but it's time to let the adults run this company now. Mikkel, you need to step down.

  • stuartm

    Thanks for fronting up Mikkel, though this has still left a bad taste in my mouth and I may keep looking to move to an alternative. Are you going to be changing your pricing for new customers though? If not, please tell me if my calculations are correct as follows:

    20 agents costs $580 p/m (20 x $29, regular plan, maximum of 20 agents)

    21 agents costs $1239 p/m. (21 x $59, Plus+ plan)

    So that one extra agent forces you up up the next plan up. Does that sound fair? I don't think I'd be able to recommend Zendesk to anyone based on those sums.

  • Rick Cogley

    Thank you, Mikkel. Much appreciate the sincere words, the apology, and the grandfathering.

    Sincerely,

    Rick Cogley

  • Faisal

    Thank you Mikkel!

    (and dont listen to Bob, dont step down)

  • Steve

    Thanks for listening Mikkel. I think we're going to be ok, Zen and me. This sounds much more like the Zendesk I know and love – and frequently recommend. Let's never fight again.

    -Steve

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  • Juan

    Thanks a lot ! … You know, this type of things is why we picked zendesk in the first place… a company who listen to their users. It's curious, after this episode I'm even more happy with the company

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  • Gabe da Silveira

    I'm flabberghasted at the continued criticism. This is about the best response that can ever come from a company, and ALL companies do things to piss off customers.

    @Amber New customers will consider the value of the offerings. The new prices are not "exhorbitant", it's just that for existing customers they are looking at the relative pricing. This whole episode is a strong lesson in customer psychology. Netflix did the same thing when they raised prices several years ago.

    @Bob Don't be a douche bob! Unless of course you truly want Zendesk to become a company with 7-figure-earning unlisted executives who make customer support policy decisions to maximize profits regardless of customer frustration level, with an army of indifferent outsourced level 1 tech support agents with fake american names to keep them safe from the emotional fallout of their decisions. Because that's the kind of companies that "grownups" run.

  • timothy

    @Gabe: Right on!!

  • Scott

    +1 Rick Cogleys comment

    "Thank you, Mikkel. Much appreciate the sincere words, the apology, and the grandfathering. "

  • Shoba

    For the same price you’ve always paid, you will receive the same functionality that you had in the past, in addition to the new community support and knowledge base features we announced on Tuesday.

    What about new features that are added in future ? Is this a plan to release new features as a separate edition and ask people to upgrade?

  • Kai

    Thanks Mikkel. You made a mistake but owned up to it. A brave thing to do.

  • Che

    "And let me reiterate: we will always listen to you. You are the reason we exist."

    So true,

    Great apology.

  • Bert Frissen

    Great apology, indeed. Compliments! You really do listen to your customers,

  • Adrian Smith

    I was unhappy with the massive price increase but remain concerned that you have backed yourselves into a long term corner – I mean GrandFathering current plans forever? That doesn't make sense either. An option to increase annually by something like RPI would make business sense.

    Still, credit for responding to your customers.

  • phil

    Maybe you did it on purpose to generate publicity? I think it can be a good way to get more publicity by creating a small controversy and then solving it.

    I'm not judging, just saying.

  • Doug

    Thanks Mikkel, as a customer that was more than I expected to happen and really appreciate it.

  • Kevin Kelly

    I'm misting up!

  • Aaron

    We were just about to start trialing Zendesk until we noticed this. Pricing for existing customers has been rectified but it sounds like new customers are going have to pay the new drastically increased rates? Is this correct?

    Also, I don't understand the thinking behind the three new plans. In my opinion there should be no minimum number of agents. For example, what does a small company with a couple of agents do who also need the features that are only on the Plus plan? Are you seriously forcing them to pay for 5 agents when they don't need them?

    Could somebody clarify this please as sadly this is forcing us to look elsewhere.

  • I-Counterpart.

    Pressure from the VC no doubt….to be expected. I wonder what's coming next…They have to recoup, right?

  • Aaron

    @Doug, looks like there are now two types of Zendesk customer:-

    1. Existing customers who have rebelled against the higher rates and no-longer have to pay them.

    2. Potential customers who are expected to pay the higher rates and whose only choice is now to go elsewhere.

    Fine, you have turned around and kept most of your existing customer base happy (or mildly happy) but this is not good for future growth as you are shafting potential customers. Any potential customer who signs up now is going to consider themselves the poorer relation in the customer hierarchy.

    I am only one potential customer so no doubt I don't matter to Zendesk overall, but I have been shown the Zendesk exit door just at the point I intended to sign up. Crazy.

  • Josh Roman

    Thanks. I was initially shocked at the pricing — I thought it showed some tone-deafness and lack of analysis — but I also understand that you guys need to make money for putting out a consistently high-caliber and well-supported product. Good job on the quick turnaround and I hope to see a more nuanced rollout of mutually justifiable pricing soon.

  • Clive

    Nice product, but owch! The pricing!? Given what else is out there, Zen's looking rather overpriced. A potential customer here lost, sadly.

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  • Chuck

    So, as a potential customer to ZenDesk I now know that I would be subsidising all of the existing members.

    Everything about this makes me want to go and never come back, which is what I am going to do right now.

  • Ludovic

    I started the trial. Was very happy with the service. Once I put my credit card info, all my features were removed, I was forced to upgrade and use more than 3 agents, and i couldn't mask my domain with the starter plan. What do i need, 1 agent, submit ticket form, widgets, mapping of domain. Thats it. If I wanted all of these feature = $200+???Why

    I would of been a happy long term paying customers. As of today, I will search for an alternative. Why might you ask? Like guys, its not that hard. Your pricing is a killer. Once you feel negative repetitive comment coming from the community, use it to your advantage and improve your product. Wow, I would have been a customer. Very Sad!

    @ Also, I don’t understand the thinking behind the three new plans. In my opinion there should be no minimum number of agents. For example, what does a small company with a couple of agents do who also need the features that are only on the Plus plan? Are you seriously forcing them to pay for 5 agents when they don’t need them?

    Me: Indeed True!

  • David Goldmann

    Zendesk is a great product but its very overpriced. We continue to use it because we have grandfathered solo package. But I can't recommend zendesk with this pricing.

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  • Yourfacetoday

    I looked into ZD last couple days and was ready to pull the trigger and finally got the bottom of the pricing structure and found it be counter intuitive (or completely heinous!) for a company that is trying to grow. Because of this I held off and looked around and found scathing reports about the way customers were treated via crazy price hikes and feature shut offs. Then I found this thread… I see the CEO came back and locked in all existing customers, very nice tactic to save the company from going down the tubes… but after all this I just feel there is a whole lot of “desk” and not enough “Zen”, failed to convert me… Now I have moved on to a company with a pricing plan that fits my budget with all the same features. I’ll forget the Zen and go a company that understands the marketplace. Pricing structure took me right out of the game.. even if i had the largest budget in the world I would not use ZD solely based on principal.

  • Ken C.

    I just saw this – and wanted to say thanks Mikkel for “doing right” by your customers who helped build the business; it’s one of those “legendary customer service” stories of how to do things right for people, that speaks highly of you. 

    -ken c.