Advent of ML has brought slew of possibilities: Zendesk

Zendesk Suite gives users access to four core products seamlessly integrated to help build the best customer experiences into businesses from the beginning

Aanchal Ghatak
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Zendesk believes in building the best customer experiences. It empowers the organizations to improve customer engagement and better understand their customers. Zendesk is easy to use and implement. Organizations have the flexibility to move quickly, focus on innovation, and scale as their business grows. KT Prasad, Country Sales Director, Zendesk, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:


DQ: What is your pioneering solution in CRM, wrt bots and ML?

KT Prasad: Bots and machine learning are very much integral pieces in our overall platform solution and we continue to leverage such advancements to enhance our product capabilities. One of our earliest offerings saw the launch of our live chat solution to meet a demand in the market for more proactive and immediate customer engagement. In keeping with the fast-rising wave of social media, it allows our customers to be where their customers needed them to be with the help of chatbots and automation.

The advent of machine learning brought forth a slew of possibilities, such as the ability to spot poor customer service interactions before they even happened. Built on machine learning and predictive analytics, Satisfaction Prediction is one such innovation that leveraged historical satisfaction survey results to predict conversations at risk of bad customer satisfaction before they occurred.


Earlier this year, Zendesk announced the expansion of our AI-powered self-service solution called Answer Bot across all web and mobile channels. In doing so, businesses can provide an always-on support and faster responses for consumers. By serving up relevant knowledge base articles automatically, customer inquiries can be solved and deflected before they ever reached an agent, enabling businesses to have more efficient support teams.

Zendesk KT Prasad, Country Sales Director, Zendesk

DQ: Haven't others implemented this as well? How are you different?


KT Prasad: At Zendesk, we have always believed in making the customer experience (CX) journey easy and simple for our customers. Design is core to Zendesk’s DNA. We build products with the human - be it customers, agents and admins - in mind. Our roots are grounded in service and the real issues of customers today, so we look at our business and products with a fundamentally different lens - through the lens of the actual customer and human behind each purchase and interaction.

With our wide range of customer service tools, we take on the complexity in customer service so businesses of any size, at any stage, can move fast and focus on their customers. Leveraging the latest technologies in AI and ML have allowed us to create products that help our customers become more efficient, and ultimately deliver the best experiences to their customers.

DQ: Elaborate on your start-up specific programmes.


KT Prasad: Startups are where our heart is. Zendesk, after all, was started by entrepreneurs too. We understand first hand just how important the experience a customer has with the startup is to their success.

Consumers today use multiple channels to communicate with their colleagues, friends and family on a daily basis. They now expect to be able to connect with brands in the same way - be it on email, phone, or chat. With that in mind, growing startups need access to flexible, easy-to-implement technology that can scale with their business as they grow.

In 2018, we introduced the Zendesk for Startups Program, as a way of giving back to the startup community. Startups that qualify for the program would have the opportunity to use the Zendesk Suite for one year. This gives them access to four core products that are seamlessly integrated to help them build the best customer experiences into their businesses from the beginning:


Support - A simple system that helps to track, prioritise and solve customer tickets

Guide - A smart self-service destination featuring knowledge base articles, community forums, and a customer portal.

Chat - Live chat software that provides a fast and responsive way to connect with customers in the moment

Talk - Call center software that allows for more personal and productive phone support conversations

In addition to this, qualifying startups also receive guidance on setting up their software with a Zendesk product specialist and access to in-person or virtual office hours.

We’ve also built a network of more than 250 partner accelerators, incubators, and technology providers in Silicon Valley and across the globe, including 500 Startups, Y Combinator, Voyager HQ, Dream Assembly, Station F, and Brex, to help startups grow and succeed. Keratin Shampoo India, Ubersilk, Eunimart, Sportido, Legex and Richlook are some of the startups that are currently onboard with us.


DQ: How is the sales force management business doing?

KT Prasad: Earlier this year, we launched Zendesk Sell, our sales force automation software that puts conversations at the center of the sales experience. It eliminates the friction from deal updates and helps to lighten the administrative load so representatives and management are always able to access, analyze, and collaborate on relevant deal data. This launch marked our first step towards integrating sales force automation software into the Zendesk family of products.

In late June this year, we brought together our Support and Sell products and introduced Zendesk Duet, uniting customer service and sales teams. By connecting the sales team with support staff, businesses can make the most of every business opportunity and also ensures a better, more seamless overall experience.


DQ: What are Zendesk's future plans for India?

KT Prasad: We see this as an exciting time to be scaling a cloud-based software business in India. It presents a rich startup culture where people are disrupting traditional businesses and traditional economies, and one can also see some great innovations happening here in the technology space. The level of opportunity interests us, as there are so many potential consumers in India. That gives us a green field where we could invest in while providing us an opportunity to learn about the next generation of SAAS and digital native companies.

In line with this, Zendesk continues to invest in complementary technologies and future ready solutions that support our growth. Some of the recent products we launched globally include a new community product called Gather that provides a single platform for companies to capture, organize, and share feedback for teams across support, product, engineering.

We also recently announced Sunshine Conversations, a new developer-first platform that allows businesses to incorporate social and direct messaging into all customer workflows. With Sunshine Conversations, brands can unify conversations across every digital channel to ensure that key business functions such as sales, service, and marketing have the context needed to align on and conduct follow-up, and we look forward to investing further in these technologies in the coming year