Zen(desk) and the art of customer service through Facebook


How about this for Zen: the loudest customer complaints are the ones you don’t hear.

Armed with nothing but a webcam or even just a mobile phone, disgruntled customers are on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. venting their frustration with customer (no) service. A negative voice interaction may end after the hangup, but a social channel interaction has the potential to ripple, go viral, or even attract other similar responses to cause a snowball of headache for a company.

It’s no wonder that a company like Zendesk has gained traction. First, becoming a customer is easy — just sign up on the website and pick a pricing plan. No additional hardware or software required, no on-site consultants are needed.

Second, Zendesk understands social media. There are other offerings that claim to support social media channels, but more often than not it’s simple monitoring and keyword grabbing. Most of them can handle Twitter fairly well, but it’s integrating with Facebook that’s proving to be a challenge. Likes, comments, walls, pages, messages — these Facebook elements can throw off any attempt at a seamless Facebook interaction between a company and a user.

Zendesk may be onto something here… Posts on a company’s Facebook page are sucked into Zendesk as a ticket, and subsequent responses are nicely threaded as part of the ticket. The UI is clean and simple.

Not only is it multichannel but also multi-platform: Android, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. Plus the many hooks into various third party CRM solutions (Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Highrise, NetSuite) and business applications (Atlassian, JIRA, Google Analytics, WordPress, FreshBooks).

And for IT departments that want to develop their own integrations, Zendesk offers an API for those brave souls.

“Wait a minute,” you ask. “What about voice?!” The customer may still want to call.

Old habits may still die hard, and Zendesk — with the help of Twilio — will gladly serve them, too.

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