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We use zendesk and I will admit, I’m a huge fan. We had the opportunity to retool our support system and a subtle suggestion from @ericchernuka led us to check out zendesk and what they were cooking. Of course, if I’m going to rave about something I’m going to tell you why, in depth, because that’s what I do! So, read on if you want to know about my favorite bits of zendesk in detail. As a preview my love for zendesk is in part due to: SaaS, iOS/Android app, triggers, macros and integration!


zendesk is clearly SaaS. You’re thinking yay, big deal… but it is. We’re still operating lean and the ability to ramp up or down on the support side of the business is huge to me. Add in the fact that we went from nothing to a full on support system in weeks is very nice as well. zendesk has a huge strength in that it is designed for support and support only. The workflow is clean and tight and you can move through supporting a client with product issues quickly. If you tie in your support KB you’re even further ahead because you can extend the service you offer and invite your clients into trackable forums. A broad set of metrics can be used to constantly allow you to refine the support experience and content delivery.

Mobile Apps

This is really nice to have. Support is like shit, it just happens. It’s nice to have apps that keep me connected to the helpdesk and even interact with the issues as they come it. The convenience is stellar.

Triggers and Avoiding SLA Dread

We’re subject to some nasty audits. Our SLAs are held with a revere that can only be called biblical. We used to stress about making sure SLAs were met a great deal. Then we automated those damn things and finally got some sleep. To accomplish this, we used the trigger functionality and we can tailor the SLAs for each organization and ensure we’re nagging or getting nagged when the clock starts running out. Some DevOps mottos extend even to support: automate nearly everything.


It is inevitable in the world of support: you will have to repeat yourself. Luckily the zendesk designers recognized this and built the concept of a macro. If you have a repeatable siutation on your hands you can simply build a macro and pa-POW apply that thing to issues that come in. The joy? you can address issues even faster.


You can integrate EVERYTHING into zendesk. Right now our integration buffet goes like this:

  • GoodData
  • Jira
  • SalesForce
  • gmail

I think that’s it but hey, we’re small. We get stellar metrics from gooddata and use it as our support reporting dashboard. zendesk issues are escalated to L3 through JIRA tapping into our engineering process with little impact. Salesforce allows us to push data into the Salesteam without Ops munging in salesforce itself. Lastly, it’s all email controlable for the people that don’t want to leave the comfort of their inbox.

One more thing

If you’re looking at a support tool, seriously consider this option. @mikecousins has even rolled it into his shuttr project and he’s a very discerning customer. I love the efficiency, the reporting and the interface. Support is still a tax but this makes it fun and fast.