As I approach my eighth year at Zendesk, I still recall the first time I visited a customer to watch a team of support agents work. It was convenient to assume that the agents all used our Support agent interface, full screen on a bright, beautiful 27” monitor. But this assumption could not have been further from the truth; many of these agents spent their day navigating a multiple browser tab, split-screen experience, juggling over 20 different applications that their company used—which is quite common for businesses that operate in the cloud.
What I observed on that first customer visit is an experience we’re committed to helping to alleviate. As Zendesk invests in new products and features to help customer service teams deliver above the ever-increasing bar of what makes a great customer experience, we try to add complexity without making the agent experience more complicated. On the product team, we live by the words of one Zendesk’s first employees, Michael Hansen: “Don’t show your a** to the customer.” That is, when companies expand teams and product lines quickly, it’s easy to focus internally on team structure and product silos and to expose customers to the complex backside of the organization—ultimately losing sight of what’s best for the customer. (Also: Michael was a very large man and former military officer, so we tended to do as he said.)
As our product family has grown, both organically and through acquisition, we decided early on that heavily investing in shared services to connect all of our products was necessary to ensure that our product family would become more and more cohesive as it matures. Some of the early fruits of these investments include: Answer Bot, AI-powered self-service that combines the power of our Support and Guide products; Embeddables, embedded customer service powered by Support, Guide, and Chat; and Explore, our future home for customer analytics.
The products are not only great outcomes for our customers but are also examples of what they have come to expect from Zendesk in order to deliver on their own customers’ expectations. I think Michael would approve.
It’s our 10-year anniversary and we’ve got some wisdom to share. Read more of the big lessons we’ve learned over the years.