Animoto Visualizes a Vibrant Support Community

July 8, 2010

The Zendesk forums have let us turn support into a community activity. By tapping into the knowledge of our user base, we can provide the right answers sooner — without increasing our headcount.

— Megan Etzel, Customer Relations Coordinator

animoto_logo_lg_whitebkgdAnimoto is a web-based video creation platform that lets anyone quickly and easily create professional-quality videos from their own photos, video clips, music, and text. The company’s founders share a passion for helping people better express themselves through online media by innovating technologies in the field of video production. Founded in August 2006, the company is based in New York City with an office in San Francisco.

Surge in customers drives need for sophisticated support

When Animoto recently added one million users within a year, the company quickly realized that its Google Apps-based customer support process would no longer suffice. The company needed a new solution. And fast.

Animoto’s support email account was a repository for all types of inquiries to the company. The company’s CEO monitored the account for business development opportunities, while the support staff checked it for incoming support tickets. Support staff generally entered issues into an internal ticketing system, but the tickets lacked context because pieces of email conversation were typically not transferred into the system.

Meanwhile, Animoto hoped to let customers solve the most basic support issues by themselves by providing FAQ information on its website. But as the company’s user base grew, so did the demand for new FAQ content—and maintaining this content took development resources away from Animoto’s core product.

Animoto evaluated online customer support solutions ranging from large enterprise solutions to newer, Web 2.0 offerings. In the end, Zendesk’s flexibility won out.

Community support and voting make it easier to provide the right answers

animoto-zendesk-screenshotWith Zendesk, Animoto has given its customers the tools to help themselves. Intuitive navigation and powerful search features help users find more answers without contacting support. Since Animoto went live on Zendesk, traffic on its knowledge base has increased by 300 to 400 percent—and inbound emails and tickets have declined.

Animoto uses Zendesk’s categories feature to group its support forums by major subject areas. As a result, users can now easily navigate to the right area, and then drill down into specific topics to find the information they need.

“Zendesk’s forums have let us turn support into a community activity,” explains Megan Etzel, Customer Relations Coordinator, Animoto. “By tapping into the knowledge of our user base, we can provide the right answers sooner—without increasing our headcount.”

Once they reach the right community forum, users can post questions, or vote to indicate that they have the same question already posted by another user. Questions that receive many votes are more likely to receive immediate attention from other Animoto users, who are free to post their own answers. Animoto moderators can then indicate which of the answers is correct, or provide a more complete answer of their own.  Now that’s a vibrant support community.

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