A Beginner’s Guide to Zendesk

A Beginners Guide to Zendesk

Zendesk is one of the most popular and user-friendly service desk tools on the market. One look at their feature-packed products and simple, accessible workflows makes it pretty clear as to why.

Ready to ramp up your customer service? In this beginner’s guide to Zendesk, we’ll cover:

  • How to get started with your new Zendesk account
  • An overview of the main Zendesk features
  • How to create your first trigger to automate your customer experience

Getting started with Zendesk

So you’ve signed up for Zendesk and are ready to kick things off. When you log into Zendesk for the very first time, you’ll be greeted by this welcome screen:

Zendesk login

This is where you’ll find information about your domain, and the support email or phone numbers customers can use to contact you. These fields are populated using information you input when signing up, so they should look familiar

Notice there is a tab for Advanced Features on this home screen. 

Advanced Features

In this tab, you’ll be presented with all of the support channels Zendesk offers. To interact with your customers, you can use:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Text
  • Chat
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

In the Advanced Features tab, you also have access to customer engagement data, ticketing workflows, apps and integrations, and localization and branding. More on that later on in this post. 

Advanced features tab

Core Zendesk features

Now that you’re at home on the Zendesk home screen, let’s dive into the tool’s main features and sections.

Views

The ‘Views’ section is the second icon on the left-hand side of the Zendesk dashboard (beneath the tiny home icon). It’s in Views that you’ll find your tickets, whether they were created by someone on your team or by a customer.

Zendesk views

You can easily switch the type of view you prefer to sift through tickets, such as “All unsolved” or “Recently solved.” It looks easy enough on a beginner account, but once you have hundreds (if not thousands) of tickets to swim through, those filtering methods will come in handy!

Admin

Need to change or manage your Zendesk account? Pop into the Admin section.

Admin

From the ‘Admin Home’ section you’ll be able to access:

  • Apps
  • Channels
  • Business Rules
  • Settings
  • And so much more!

The reporting tool — Explore

Want to create a better experience for your customers? All customer service teams should strive for continuous improvement. To do so, you need a solid understanding of your customer service data. The data is what tells you what’s going wrong, and what’s resonating with your customers.

Now called Zendesk Explore, the tool’s reporting functionality aggregates all of the overwhelming and confusing data into digestible insights that empower you to make smart decisions on what to do next.

You can use the built-in reporting dashboard that Zendesk provides, or create your own to tap into the most relevant data for your business.

Zendesk Chat

Now things are getting fun! The Zendesk Chat is your main tool to communicate with people who are on your website, right NOW.

You can embed your own personal Zendesk Chat code snippet directly into your website. Here’s what it will look like (I’ve blocked out some of my code here for obvious reasons):

Zendesk chat

When a visitor is active on your site, they will appear in this section of the app. All you need to do to start a conversation is to click on the chosen visitor, and poof!

Active chat

This window will appear, and you can chat to your heart’s content.

Note that you can add notes and relevant information from your interactions with the visitor on the right-hand side. Additionally, as soon as you generate this chat, a new ticket is created so that you remember to follow up on the conversation. If the user gives you their email address, they can receive a copy of the chat log by email as well — which allows the conversation to continue even if they log off or bounce off of your page. 

Additionally, if this visitor already has a customer profile, you’ll be able to see all the tickets related to this person within this window. Knowing a user’s history with your brand allows your agents to be prepared for the interaction, and really cater their approach to the individual. 

The Chat section is not just for chatting either — it’s here that you’ll find your analytics. 

Zendesk chat analytics

In the analytics section, you can see how many chats have been served, how many were missed, and then sort these by: 

  • Response time
  • Chat duration
  • Satisfaction
  • Wait time for served customers
  • Wait time for missed customers
  • Conversions

You also have a handy dashboard to monitor metrics at-a-glance in a visual way, such as how many agents are online, your average response time, and the current customer queue.

Zendesk dashboard

Zendesk Talk

Unlike Chat, Zendesk Talk is where you’ll handle all phone conversations.

You can customize the maximum queue size and maximum queue time before callers get rerouted to voicemail, and even record custom greetings!

Where to start with Zendesk: Triggers

One of the most powerful features for maximizing your team’s efficiency is triggers. Triggers allow you to automate certain actions based on your customers’ behavior. This ensures that messages are sent even when an agent is not available — as long as the conditions of the trigger are met.

Triggers are incredibly useful for making sure no customers slip through the cracks!

To create your first trigger, make sure you’re in the Zendesk chat section. Next, on the left-hand side below settings, choose Triggers, then click the ‘Add Trigger +’ button. You’ll be taken to a new page where you can customize everything about your trigger.

Guide to Zendesk triggers

First, choose whether or not this trigger is enabled. In some cases — for example, during a holiday — you may want certain triggers to run for a limited period of time. You can always come back here and turn each trigger on or off.

Next, you can name your trigger and give it a description. Stick to a clear nomenclature — when you have several of these, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of which is which. You also want your entire team to be on the same page.

Then decide whether or not each visitor sees the message only once, or every time the triggering action occurs.

Now comes the fun part — making the trigger come to life. Choose what type of action should trigger this specific message. This means that you can target your messaging based on several factors.

For instance, let’s say I want to target 

  • everyone who is NOT San Francisco-based
  • people that click on the chatbox on my site
  • users that are still online. 

I can choose to make this trigger happen if all conditions apply, or if any of them apply. In this case, I want all of them to apply.

Zendesk trigger conditions

You can add as few or as many conditions as you like depending on your goals. Then click ‘Create Triggers’ and boom! You’re done.

Want more than a beginner’s guide to Zendesk?

We’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible with Zendesk. After months of using the tool, you may enter more intermediate or expert territory. That’s when you’ll start to discover just how powerful Zendesk can be.

Beyond being one of the most powerful customer service tools out there, Zendesk has a number of integrations that make it easy to work it into your business workflows. You could, for example, combine it with project management tools like Asana or Basecamp using Unito, as a means of collaborating with other teams to more quickly resolve tickets. 

See whether Unito’s Zendesk integration is right for your team. Try it free for two weeks! 

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