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CRM vendor Zendesk is making several announcements at the start of its own Relate conference. For example, it is introducing Zendesk AI and Conversational Commerce to improve customer experiences.

Zendesk AI should enable “personalized, efficient and more empathetic customer experiences” for the company’s customers. It says it bases its artificial intelligence tools on both proprietary models and LLMs. This development builds on its recent announcement of a partnership with OpenAI.

Instant value

The SaaS provider is making Zendesk AI available immediately. In doing so, the company hopes to save its customers time and capitalize on the popularity of the existing AI tools it has already offered. Zendesk CEO Tom Eggemeier sees many opportunities for LLMs within the service. “Generative AI has significant benefits for service agents, administrators and businesses looking to provide the best customer experience. Zendesk AI helps them see immediate tangible value with cost savings and thousands of hours per month of increased productivity.”

Specifically, Zendesk touts three new capabilities. First, advanced pre-trained bots can reply to messages and emails based on a database containing all kinds of customer intentions. However, this feature is only available to Zendesk Professional customers or organizations with a higher license. There is also “agent assistance,” which offers insights and suggestions to improve service agents’ productivity. Here, AI content can be used to respond to customers faster. Finally, Zendesk mentions ‘intelligent triage’: “This uses intent detection, language detection and sentiment analysis to create powerful, intelligent workflows that get smarter and smarter, classify incoming customer requests and allow teams to drive workflows based on these insights.”

Zendesk is introducing Advanced Data Protection to meet security requirements, which should be available in the next quarter. This will allow companies with lots of sensitive data and high compliance requirements to deploy Zendesk AI applications without any problems.

Conversational Commerce

Not everything Zendesk is introducing revolves entirely around AI. For example, it is coming out with Conversational Commerce, which should provide new opportunities for employees in terms of personalization and ensure that customers only need to have one conversation with customer service. It promises personalization of service, sales acceleration and unified data at scale.

Examples of applications of Conversational Commerce vary widely. For example, Zendesk talks about addressing a customer with an abandoned shopping cart on the Web site and additional product recommendations and upselling to increase order values.

CTO of Zendesk Adrian McDermott says, “While we’ve seen huge shifts in the way people store in recent years, one thing has remained constant: people prefer to communicate through messaging. Now that the new storefront is digital, businesses can use Conversational Commerce, built on our powerful messaging platform, to create a richer, more dynamic and interactive experience with their customers, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and sales.”

Zendesk points to its own research showing that engaging with customers can lead to much better sales. Its own CX Trends Report shows that 70 percent of customers expect conversational opportunities with a brand. That same percentage of respondents actually buy more from brands that offer it.

Finally, Zendesk says it is strengthening its partnership with WhatsApp and Shopify, interacting with customers on these platforms for a nadir-free experience.

Also read: Zendesk investors favour $10 billion takeover