Even More Twitter Love

July 13, 2010

Back in early 2009 when we announced that Twitter was using Zendesk as its support platform I wrote the following in a blog post:

We believe that the entire support industry will gain from Twitter’s choice of Zendesk. We will use their experiences to make ‘tweets’ a fully legit support channel in our continued efforts to enable true online support for the networked generation.

Today we deliver on that promise. Now Zendesk customers can treat tweets like any other support channel. Pipe in tweets, feed DMs directly into your queue, and deal with them as regular tickets benefiting from the powerful workflow capabilities of Zendesk.

Being able to connect the twittersphere with your current customer service workflow is something we believe will change a lot of companies’ perception of Twitter. A chaotic cloud of shouts and conversations can become the foundation of a new business process; one ensuring participation and clear and timely communications.

One of the biggest design considerations we had when we built the integration was how to get tweets into Zendesk. The twittersphere is a big, crazy place, and monitoring it for relevant tweets is a complicated effort. On top of that, all of us use our Twitter clients for more than just monitoring: we tweet, follow, retweet, create lists, save searches, and so on. So if we wanted to build a Twitter client that our customers would actually use, we needed it to be able to do all of that stuff too, on every platform and device out there. That wasn’t something we wanted to do.

Instead, we went down the path of enabling the clients and tools that our customers were already using. That turned out to be a lot of different tools: twitter.com, the long list of iPhone, Blackberry and Android apps, various web services and desktop apps for all the platforms, TweetDeck, Seesmic, Hootsuite, Tweetie (and the likes). All of them.

There was one common denominator for all of these apps that we could use to pipe tweets into Zendesk: the “favorite” feature. If your Twitter account is registered in your Zendesk, everything you “favorite” will be turned into a ticket (or a twicket as our beta customers quickly have named it). That’s all there is to it. You see a tweet, you favorite it, and boom, it’s a ticket in your Zendesk. Updates to that ticket are tweeted back or optionally moved to a different channel like email.

I’ve personally been a die-hard user of our new feature. I’m someone who uses several different Twitter apps at my desk, on the go, on VirginAmerica, in my bed, on my laptop, my phone, and my iPad. I monitor various Twitter streams, and it’s been a joy just to be able to click on a tweet that I believe our organization should respond to or deal with, and then I know somebody will handle it according to the business processes we have defined. It’s total zen, bringing tranquility and control to my life. And I pity every CEO, business owner, executive, and line manager out there who doesn’t have that capability. It’s awesome.

So by leveraging the favorite functionality already available in all Twitter tools and clients, and decoupling the act of identifying relevant tweets and dealing with them, we think we have created the optimal agile workflow. A pretty neat extra feature is Zendesk records all interactions on a favorited tweet. So you can also stay in your Twitter client, and any replies you make to a favorited tweet will be recorded on the ticket.

It’s also worth mentioning that both the mobile Zendesk interface, and the new Android app (1.0.1) and iPhone app (1.0.2 pending App store approval) supports the new Twitter workflow.

We wish our customers all the best in further embracing Twitter for customer support, service and true social engagement.