How Zendesk moves the needle in customer service

How Zendesk moves the needle in customer service

The news

On January 8, 2024, Zendesk announced the acquisition of Klaus, “the industry leading AI-powered quality management platform”.

With AI driving a rapid increase in customer service interactions it is necessary for customer service teams to become more efficient while maintaining their quality of service. This is accomplished by a combination of digital and human agents across an increasing number of channels. Ensuring good quality requires a QA solution that is capable of scoring 100 percent of customer interactions, which is what Klaus’s AI is capable of. In doing this, it “pinpoints conversations with positive or negative sentiment, identifies outliers, churn risk, escalations, and necessary follow-ups. According to Zendesk, most QA software does handle only one to two percent of all customer interactions.

With workforce enablement management capabilities, Klaus enables the identification of knowledge gaps and coaching opportunities with the goal of improving agent performance and productivity. The result is higher customer satisfaction.

According to Martin Kōiva, CEO and founder of Klaus, “Zendesk and Klaus share a vision of Ai-led, personalized CX with businesses fully anticipating and acting on their customers’ needs. QA software plays a critical role in this, ensuring consistency, assessing both human and digital agent performance and providing actionable insights for strategic planning. As part of Zendesk, we will continue to build and deliver thes crucial capabilities, but now at an even greater scale”.

The bigger picture

Customer service personnel works in a high-pressure environment with lots of turnover; even worse, as frontline workers, they are often the first ones to deal with customers who are already less than amused – equipped with tools that are not helpful, either. At the same time, partly due to the high attrition rates, agents often lack the training and experience to deal with difficult situations and do not have the contacts to find relevant information fast.

What they need is being able to concentrate on the “hard cases”, easy access to the relevant information, ideally without the need to use multiple browser tabs, good training and coaching, and empowerment.

In addition, the increasing need for automation, that is caused by a shortage of available personnel as well as increasing customer demands for availability, leads to an increased proliferation of chatbots. At the same time, customers do not trust into AI, as the last state of the connected customer (registration required) report by Salesforce found out.

My analysis and point of view

After the acquisition of Tymeshift last year and the provision of “ready-to-run” AI supported bots, Zendesk is continuing on its path to provide a very rounded customer service platform.

The emphasis on coaching customer service agents is great – and important – to see. Agents are already some of the most monitored and measured workers around, so they will be glad to see some help instead of just feeling surveilled. Especially, as there is so much attrition going on. Businesses that understand that a better trained and enabled team increases agent motivation and therefore in all likelihood the individual and team performance. This has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and with that on business outcomes. Zendesk now can support this better than before.

This is also something that was found in the recent Customer Experience Horizons report by Genesys. 70 percent of respondents will invest into AI-based coaching and training recommendations for their personnel with still almost 60 percent looking into implementing AI-based performance monitoring and evaluation solutions.

Being in times of AI, the ability to also analyze and especially improve the performance of digital agents becomes more and more important. With Klaus, Zendesk is now better able to identify customer service bots’ “knowledge deficiencies”. In my eyes, the next important step from here is to (semi-)automatically reduce these deficiencies, supported by generative AI. This, based on actionable analytics. Why is this important? Because the performance of both, human and digital agents, highly depends on a well-performing knowledge base.  I am interested in seeing how this topic evolves. Embedding Klaus in the fold, certainly should help taking the first steps by helping to find out what the relevant customer and organizational data is, and to initiate steps in improving the state of this data.

But again, looking at the needs of customer service agents, businesses that pursue helping their agents are now in an even better position when using Zendesk.