Finding Zen in Zendesk: Why Keeping Things Simple Works

Call Centre Technology/ General by Route 101

In this interview, we're joined by James Ayers, Route 101's Zendesk Implementation Consultant. James shares insights on how Zendesk Messaging and Zendesk apps can help your business level up your CX game, and why simplifying your Zendesk configuration is vital for your team's success.

James Ayers - Route 101's Zendesk Implementation Consultant

Tell us about your role as Route 101's Zendesk Implementation Consultant. What are your key areas of focus?

I work as a Zendesk Implementation Consultant at Route 101. My role involves having a solid grasp of the Zendesk product and its various modules, as well as how they integrate. Working with clients from various industries, like retail and residential services, I customise Zendesk to fit their specific needs. Each project is a new learning opportunity as I discover more about our customers' unique processes.

On top of that, I also wear the hat of an Engagement Manager. This means I focus on making sure our projects run smoothly and efficiently. I set up clear guidelines for what tasks need to be done, when they should be finished, and who should be involved. It's important to me that our clients have a crystal-clear view of the entire project, from the statement of work to delivery deadlines.

Can you share a noteworthy success story from a recent Zendesk project you've worked on? Were there any innovative solutions or customisations you've applied?

Lately, I’ve been working on a few projects centred around Zendesk Messaging, helping our customers optimise conversations across multiple channels. I’ve been guiding them on transitioning from live chat to asynchronous chat experiences, and how these can seamlessly sync across different platforms (think messaging to email, for example).

I also just finished a project with a customer who wanted to expand Zendesk's capabilities beyond ticketing. They aimed to add project management capabilities to Zendesk. I explored the use of the SweetHawk app for this particular project, looking at how it could help with creating tailored workflows for generating tickets and tracking project progress within them. Setting up triggers was key to alerting project managers if certain thresholds were at risk of being exceeded. This is a fantastic example of Zendesk's versatility. 

What are you most excited about when it comes to Zendesk?

It's very exciting to see our customers transition from basic email platforms like Outlook or Gmail to Zendesk. Typically, our clients will manage tasks via a long list of emails, often feeling swamped by the flood of incoming enquiries. They may flag the most recent or urgent emails but struggle with prioritising response time. 

I help customers set up Zendesk platforms that not only shows the bigger picture but also help manage workloads more effectively. With Zendesk, our customers gain insights into response time requirements and can track the progress of all their tickets. Tickets can be routed to different queues and team members based on their urgency, resulting in a much more organised and efficient system.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give someone who is just starting their journey with Zendesk?  

First and foremost, my key advice is to keep things simple. When we start working with new customers, we often come across overly complex configurations as people rush to implement fancy features right from the get-go. While these ideas might be worth exploring later on, it's important to prioritise what you want to achieve with Zendesk software and focus on getting the basics right.

For example, begin by mapping out how you'll assign tickets to the right individuals or groups, establish your ticket lifecycle, define response urgency, and plan communication strategies with your audience. Setting these fundamental building blocks is essential before diving into more intricate configurations.

Secondly, ensure you have a plan in place for routinely checking the health of your Zendesk system, including business rules such as triggers, automation, and macros that are right for your business needs. What we frequently observe is that people might start with neatly organised triggers, but when a specific business need arises, they hastily add something into the system that ends up unused for an extended period, creating unnecessary noise. It's crucial to maintain a system that's as streamlined as possible, and aligned to your unique CX goals, rather than having a complex set-up that nobody understands. 

What are your three top tips for Zendesk users?

1. Empower your customers

Many customers prefer to try solving their issues independently before contacting support. Consider incorporating self-service options into your Zendesk platform. This could involve setting up a knowledge base and simple web forms to inform customers about common queries like FAQs, product details, or policies. This not only empowers customers to find solutions on their own but also frees up your agents to handle more complex issues.

2. Keep your system up-to-date

Regularly audit your system and have a monitoring plan in place to track your configurations - what's actively used and what can be removed. Health checks are an excellent tool for this, and our Route 101 Zendesk team can provide independent advice and offer fresh insights to recommend best practices for your team. We bring extensive experience from implementing Zendesk across various sectors and types of businesses. Having someone with such broad expertise can drive meaningful changes and transform your customer support.

3. Listen to your agents

Regularly communicate with your agents and address their pain points. Instead of assuming that a configuration will work for everyone, consider what will genuinely make your agents' lives easier and improve their satisfaction. Investing in agent training is also essential for enhancing their experience and productivity. Zendesk experts can introduce your employees to innovative ways to utilise the platform, increase efficiency, and expand their skill set. 

Explore the training opportunities offered by Route 101 here and if you have any help configuring your Zendesk instance, don't hesitate to reach out to our team today