Article | 7 min read

A new era of conversational CRM connects customer conversations across your business

Conversational CRM is a powerful way to create an open, ongoing dialogue between your business and your customers.

By Mike Gozzo, SVP Product Management

Published May 11, 2022
Last updated June 22, 2022

At Zendesk, we’ve long talked about the value and importance of fostering customer relationships. They are the foundation upon which customer loyalty is built, and these customer relationships are anchored in conversations.

Of course, conversational relationships aren’t new, but the way that we think about them has evolved—particularly when it comes to customer relationship management. Most customer relationships are now digital-first, and it’s easy and convenient to exchange a quick message with a customer. As the way we communicate changes, it’s vital we unite the front and back offices so that teams can have an informed conversation with customers and get them to a resolution faster—whether that’s a service request, an appointment scheduled, or anything else the customer needs.

This is a step beyond what a traditional CRM has offered. Legacy CRMs are an acknowledged nucleus for many customer contact points, but these solutions only track interactions at specific moments in time, without providing the full context of what was shared. The only insight you have is that an interaction occurred. As we move forward into the age of conversational CRM, your entire org is empowered to make use of the content and context of customer conversations and to build meaningful processes and automations around them. This turns your service organization into an engine for growth.

Do better business with conversational CRM

The proof is in the data. From our CX Trends 2022 research, we learned that more than 70 percent of customers expect conversational experiences when engaging with a company, but also that businesses are trailing expectations, with less than 40 percent reporting they can allow a customer to reach out and respond whenever and wherever is convenient.

More than 70% of customers expect conversational experiences when engaging with a company.

While conversational CRM is a concept, our products and services make it possible to capture the entire customer experience from when a person first engages with your business (either in person or online) to their latest interaction via any channel that’s available to them, and to build strong conversational relationships.

What are the elements of a great conversational relationship?

  1. Happens anywhere, any time: Your customers want to engage on their terms, their channel, their speed, their way. You have to cater to your customers’ preferences, not the other way around.
  2. Personalized with intelligence: Customers want you to know who they are, where they’ve been, and what they’ve come to you for. This makes the conversation feel more natural, like they’re speaking to family or friends.
  3. Leads to a solution: Ultimately, a conversation should lead to the resolution customers need, whether that’s an answer to a question, purchase, reservation, return, or anything else.

These elements, when working in concert, create great customer experiences, but your business needs a way to give customers the convenience they expect. Zendesk, and our suite of products, are designed around conversations across channels and devices, and empower your teams to manage conversations at scale.

Product enhancements to foster conversational relationships

To enable customers to better engage on their terms and on their preferred channels, our latest product enhancements include:

  • Conversational automation that enables you to build and manage advanced bots in just minutes right out of the box, across web, mobile and social channels. Customers will also be able to connect their bots to their external systems.
  • New conversational mobile experience for agents centered around the conversation and that provides agents on-the-go convenience to track new, old, and ongoing conversations with customers.
  • Analytics to provide smarter sales and service to help businesses turn conversations into revenue with data-driven insights. Custom reporting capabilities allow teams to manage high volumes and analyze historical trends to provide better staffing on the channels customers and prospects use to communicate.
  • Conversational channels in Zendesk Sell, starting with WhatsApp, let sales teams message with customers and capture every interaction automatically in Sell, where it can be managed, tracked, and reported on.
  • Slack integration with Zendesk messaging brings the same kind of conversational experiences built for B2B and B2C companies into the workplace for B2E (business-to-employee). With this integration, you can begin a conversation from within a favorite messaging platform, keeping your team in their workspace while managing conversations within the Zendesk platform, ensuring security and compliance.

Introducing Sunco Labs

We recognize that brands have different needs when it comes to creating conversational experiences, ranging from something simple and out-of-the-box to a bespoke experience built from the ground up.

That’s why we’ve created Sunco Labs—a division of Zendesk focused on innovating conversational experiences. Our lab experts will help your brand to research, design, and bring to life your conversational future.

If you are (or work with) the head of brand or digital at a luxury brand or market-leading company, and would like to work with us, then let’s start our own conversation at suncolabs.zendesk.com. We look forward to being your partner on this journey.

Better support for meaningful employee experiences

Employees are being asked to do more year over year as we embrace new hybrid work environments. As we think about simplifying the customer experience, we also need to close the communication gaps with our employees and provide more personalized, data-driven internal service experiences.

According to Zendesk research, tickets filed by corporate employees jumped by 31 percent last year. That’s nearly double the rates seen by customer-facing support teams at B2B and B2C companies. 68 percent of business leaders also recognized a direct link between employee service and business growth.

Zendesk’s new employee experience offering, which leverages the Zendesk Suite and provides additional capabilities like integrated self-service and use-case management, gives employee support teams:

  • a single source of truth for HR, Finance, Operations, IT, and other support teams who are crucial to connecting employees with internal services;
  • a way to remove repetition, friction, and unnecessary administrative processes, making it easier for employees to have access to critical information, resources, and services; and
  • the insights to understand trends and emerging issues in order to continually improve the employee experience.

Our messaging integration with Slack is a key feature within this offering, and we’re offering early access while it’s under development. Let us know if you are interested in participating. This is a long-term investment for us and we’re looking forward to continuing to bring CX innovation to the workplace.

It’s all powered by Sunshine

Sunshine

Conversational customer relationships and our employee experience offering are powered by the Sunshine Platform, which allows companies to build complex integrations and flows for more connected experiences, and brings together service and sales into one continuous experience for customers, employees, and prospects.

The latest upgrades to our platform include:

  • Omnichannel routing that gives businesses the power to adapt to changing conditions and staff support teams appropriately and make changes based on customer demand in real-time. Teams can ensure conversations get automatically routed to the right agent, on any channel, and closely monitor performance to better staff and react to customer demand.
  • Conversational Data Orchestration that lets businesses create convenient customer conversations at scale by connecting processes, event data, and custom logic.
  • Trust and compliance features—such as phishing, malware, and private ticket groups—to help you operate at a truly global level. The addition of group SLAs will help drive accountability against your promises to customers.

When we think back to how we began 15 years ago, we aimed to create a SaaS offering that was beautifully simple to maintain and use—in stark contrast to the proprietary on-premise systems of yesterday. Today, many SaaS platforms have become the new legacy systems. As they’ve grown, they’ve become slow, bloated, and hard to use.

It’s always been our goal at Zendesk to create easy, modern experiences so that business growth isn’t limited by the systems we use. This is why our platform is agile, open, and flexible. You, our customers, should be able to move fast, seize opportunities, and create the unique customer experiences your customers love you for.

What’s New at Zendesk

See our complete list of new and upcoming features.

What’s New at Zendesk

See our complete list of new and upcoming features.

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